The Glasgow Guardian has received several reports from students frustrated by issues with MyCampus over the course of the current academic semester. The University’s online administrative system, with which every current student will be intimately familiar, has been blamed by some for randomly un-enrolling them from courses. This has lead to academic turmoil and confusion regarding the origin of the problem.
Rebecca Bicocchi, a Politics student, told the Glasgow Guardian: “My issue with MyCampus occurred before the semester officially started. I had signed up to the allotted amount of courses and reviewed my timetable to ensure there were no clashes or issues. However once the semester began and I opened my timetable, I saw one of my classes was no longer visible and had been dropped from my enrolled ‘moodles’.”
Bicocchi at this point became concerned about being able to re-gain a place on the course in question, as spaces on honours-level Politics courses can be tightly limited, and MyCampus was now displaying that the class she had previously been enrolled on was full. She was able to resolve the issue with a visit to the Politics undergraduate office, but the cause of the problem remains unclear.
Other Politics students expressed concern that this had occurred as, depending on their academic year and dissertation module, course choices are often limited to a handful of options in the department. It should also be noted that the Politics department gives priority to senior honours students, opening enrolment to them a week earlier, in order to give them the best opportunity to select their desired courses for their final year of study. Due to the first come first served basis of enrolment following this week, there is little to be done if a course becomes full.
Chloe Bell, also a Politics student, had similar experiences with enrolment. She stated that, aside from the “usual hiccups”, she had successfully fulfilled her 120 course credit requirement and was happy with her course choices. Bell explained, however, that: “[In] late October I received an email from Margaret Murray [Honours Administrative Secretary, School of Social & Political Sciences] asking me why, at this late stage, had I not enrolled all 120 credits. She listed my subjects below, where one was missing, and at this point I was frantic. I couldn’t understand what had happened and where the problem lay as last time I had checked I was enrolled in all the classes that I wanted to be in.”
Bell was able to rearrange some class times to accommodate the course, but remained disappointed that the situation had ever arisen in the first place and she stated: “It was not her fault but it was not my fault either, it was the dreadful MyCampus.”
“I often hear people complaining about MyCampus and all its problems that had never really bothered me before, but this time I was extremely disappointed with a system that we have to rely on to guarantee us the classes that we want and this time the system failed me.”
The long history of problems with MyCampus since its implementation in 2011 has been extensively documented by the Glasgow Guardian, and although the software’s reputation is less than pristine, it is not clear whether the problems experienced by these students are the result of random software errors.
A University of Glasgow spokesperson said: “The School of Social & Political Sciences did need to un-enrol and then re-enrol a cohort of students in September during the last enrolment period to accommodate the timetable. This adjustment encompassed students on the MEd degree programme enrolled on courses in Politics, Sociology and Social Policy, and had no impact on their chosen programmes of study.”
“For a number of popular Honours-levels courses within the School, we apply a ceiling on the number of students that can enrol on them, which is designed to safeguard the teaching and learning experience of these courses. Whilst we have such a policy in place to deal with every eventuality, the School is not aware of any student who was not able to be accommodated at this level in the current academic year.”
Bell however did speak to the Glasgow Guardian about her correspondence with Margaret Murray and said that the course administrator had been incredibly apologetic that this had happened, but had offered no explanation for the issue either, stating: “The department made it clear that they had no idea why this glitch had occurred and informed me that I wasn’t the only one who had encountered this issue. They did however apologise profusely for the trouble that had been caused, which I appreciated.”
A degree of confusion surrounding the procedures necessary to utilise MyCampus in the best possible manner is self-evident here, but neither student wished to lay the blame at the feet of the School of Social and Political Sciences, which has a total of 1,200 undergraduate students currently enrolled, requiring 9,500 individual course enrolments.
A University of Glasgow spokesperson stressed: “We work closely with University Services and the College of Social Sciences to complete enrolment in the most efficient manner for the benefit of all our students.”
Whilst it is not clear whether students such as Bell and Bicocchi were intentionally un-enrolled or subject to a software error, it is clear that MyCampus remains a cause for concern among students and staff.