University changes course numbers

Students are confused and frustrated after the University’s announcement that all course numbers have been converted from three digits to four digits.

On Monday, the Office of the Registrar sent out a University Infomail informing students about the change, saying that it was in preparation for the implementation of the new degree audit system, which is expected to begin in the spring.

The new course numbers will now appear on the GWeb system and on Blackboard, according to an Infomail, and students will need to use the numbers to register for classes for the spring semester.

University Registrar Elizabeth Amundson said making the switch this week was a conscious decision to not interfere with the add/drop period for fall classes.

Amundson said DegreeWorks – the degree audit system that will allow students to track their path to graduation without the need for academic advisers – does not actually require four-digit courses. The University and several departments wanted to renumber classes, Amundson said, and after the new system is implemented, such changes will not be possible.

“Departments were running out of numbers for new courses. Some departments wished to renumber in order to thematically group courses within subject area and apply other logic to their course number ranges,” Amundson said in an e-mail.

The decision to renumber courses was made six months ago, Amundson said, and the process of switching began in March. GW hasn’t modified the three-digit course-numbering system since at least the 1940s, she added.

Upon receiving the Infomail, senior Aman Fatima said she believes the University “hasn’t clearly explained why they’re doing this.”

“I think they’re just making things unnecessarily complicated,” she said. “It will definitely make it more complicated for students to talk to each other, discuss what classes they’re taking.”

“I think it’s really annoying for them to do it in the middle of my senior year,” senior Aaron Brotman said. “I don’t see the immediate utility of it.”

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