Evaluating Barnard's L-Course Registration

Barnard students said they view the eBear online sign-up system for limited enrollment courses—known as L-courses—as both practical and marginally unfavorable.

Before fall 2008, students had to wait in labyrinthine lines in Milbank Hall to sign up for L-courses, sometimes staying up all night or sleeping on the floor outside the Registrar’s office, only to be cut by other students joining their friends in line.

The new system has eliminated some of that stress by allowing students to register through Barnard’s online portal, eBear, during an allotted appointment time based on graduation year.

“It’s nice not to have to wait in that huge line in Milbank,” Ali Halperin, BC ’10, said. “I haven’t had any problems with it.”

Alexandria Ross, BC ’11, praised the online system for eliminating the tension and conflicts that typically resulted from the previous system. “It’s effective in that I don’t need to wait in line for 10 hours,” she said.

Elina Myagkaya, BC ’12, said she appreciates the efficiency of online registration. “You don’t have to line up and they have long hours in which you can sign up for L-courses so that could be really convenient,” she said. “It’s not too complicated to understand—it’s just a simple act of clicking a button, copy, paste.”

As straightforward as the process is, there are still some flaws that could present challenges for users. Ross describes the process as a trade-off: While it’s more convenient to sign up for courses online, students may feel as though they’re losing control of the situation.

“I felt like I had more control when I could see the people I was up against,” Ross said. She contends that it is all a matter of chance when adding L-courses online, but comments on a still present sense of competition, saying “some people continue to press ‘enter’ for an hour and eventually get into the course.”

Students are not the only ones who recognize the potential shortfalls of an online system. The Registrar’s office pointed to one of the system’s key flaws: eBear may not recognize all courses that students attempt to register for.

Students have been urged to go to the Registrar’s office to solve the problem in person. The fact that the previous system is still available is a comfort to those with reservations about the change.

Myagkaya says that regardless of a few minor problems, the process a positive testament to the school increasingly taking advantage of the Internet for the accessibility and expediency it provides. “Overall it’s a really good development. If it was paper-based before it’s a really big step in computerizing the system.”

Halperin is also glad that the previous system is a thing of the past.
“I do think I’ll remember it as a Barnard memory, but I’m glad it’s gone.”



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