For Faculty

Information about Early Shopping and Early Registration, Spring 2021

We have tried to balance the needs of everyone involved by setting a timeline that is as efficient as possible. In order to provide as long a break as possible between semesters, we have compressed the course exploration and registration process as compared to last semester. We have organized this timeline in such a way that instructional support staff, such as TFs, can be assigned to courses promptly and administrative staff should not have to work over the long weekend. Finally, we hope that faculty keep in mind that the Presidential Inauguration takes place on the 20th, and to plan synchronous shopping events accordingly.

We have significantly shortened the timeline prior to the start of classes by allowing controlled enrollment mechanisms, such as lotteries, to run concurrently with the Early Shopping period. As you’ll see below, the deadline for students to enter lotteries and other controlled enrollment mechanisms is the end of the day on the 19th, and Early Shopping runs from the 15th to the 21st. For this reason, we hope that courses that have controlled enrollments will schedule any synchronous shopping events prior to the deadline on the 19th. Students may continue to explore courses even as they hear back on the results re: controlled enrollments.

The Key Dates:

  • Wed, Jan. 13, 2021: Canvas sites published with all information required for shopping period.
  • Fri, Jan. 15, 2021: First day of synchronous shopping events
  • Tue, Jan. 19, 2021: Deadline for students to request to enroll in capped courses by entering lotteries, submitting applications, etc. (11:59pm Eastern).
  • Thu, Jan. 21, 2021: Registration deadline (11:59pm Eastern)
  • Fri, Jan. 22, 2021: TF allocations are adjusted based on registration numbers and course heads are informed.
  • Mon, Jan. 25, 2021: Classes start

More Detailed Timeline

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021

  • FAS Course registration opens
  • Canvas sites should be ready for shopping period
  • Advising holds for all students can be lifted

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

  • First day of synchronous shopping events

Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 - Monday, Jan. 18, 2021

  • Long MLK Weekend: students can use the time to browse asynchronously offered information
  • No synchronous shopping events may be scheduled on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021

  • Synchronous shopping events continue
  • Deadline for students  to enter lotteries or any other mechanisms for capped courses, such as applications or interviews. (11:59pm Eastern)

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

  • Controlled Enrollment processes run, including General Education lotteries. Students are notified of outcomes (see also below)
    • Some courses may wish to conduct their process in stages (lottery, interview, audition, etc.) and offer spots in the course to an initial group of students. Should any of these students decline the offer, the course would offer spots to students on a waitlist. Example:
      • January 20: Conduct controlled Enrollment Processes and notify students initially granted a seat. Students have until the next day to accept the offer.
      • January 21:  Consult waitlists and offer remaining spots to other students. Students register by 11:59 Eastern.
  • Synchronous shopping events continue, taking into account that this is the date of the Presidential Inauguration.

Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021

  • Synchronous Shopping events continue
  • Controlled enrollment mechanisms continue
  • Registration deadline for all courses (11:59pm Eastern)

Friday, Jan. 21, 2021

  • Instructors, together with any appropriate support staff, begin scheduling sections and any other class sessions that had to wait for firm enrollment numbers. 
  • OUE collaborates with departments to adjust instructional support allocations based on registration numbers. 
  • Add/Drop begins
  • Students continue to adjust course schedules, but the ability to add courses may be constrained by the availability of additional instructional support staff.

Monday, Jan. 25, 2021

  • Classes start
  • OUE continues to work with departments to adjust instructional support allocations as registration numbers change during add/drop.

Items to Consider Including on your Canvas Site by January 13, 2021

  • Information about synchronous Early Shopping Events, including:
    • Zoom links
    • Office hours and other drop-in Q&A Sessions
    • Course Preview or sample lecture
      • Review and discussion of the course syllabus  
      • Example activity to demonstrate how students might engage with the course remotely  
      • Articulation of what students will learn in the course  
      • Contextualization of the course – An articulation of how the course might fit with a student’s background and their trajectory through the College.
  • Course syllabus
  • Course description
  • Course materials, including perhaps how students are expected to access them, e.g., purchasing hardcopies, online access, Course meeting schedule (including all required components, such as labs, sections, screenings, etc.)
    • What are the live attendance requirements for your course? How will you manage scheduling to support students in various time zones? What are your expectations for section/lab attendance? 
    • If you’ll only know how many sections you’ll be able to offer once enrollments are set, describe as best you can how these sections will be scheduled.
  • Assignments (type and schedule) 
  • Grading Structure 
  • Course policies (particularly information about extensions and absences) 
  • Registration information (lotteries, applications, sectioning, pre-requisites) 
  • In person vs. remote – articulation of what is different about the remote offering of this course 
  • Study Groups, Office Hours, and other academic support that will be offered as part of the course
  • Optionally: Video content. These could be one or more of the following.
    • Instructor video – a short video of the course instructor talking about the course. In contrast to course trailers, these would not necessarily have high production value, but would simply be a chance for students to hear from the instructor about the course.
    • Lecture video – a video of a previous lecture from the course offering insight into how the course sessions are structured.
    • Course trailer – a specially designed, short video highlighting the course.  

We invite you to consult the resources at Remote Ready for further information and examples.

Lotteries and controlled enrollment courses 

Many undergraduate courses require permission to enroll, whether by random lottery, partially random selection, or a systematic application or interview process. It is our hope that the necessary changes to registration this year will include more transparent and coordinated methods to make this process less confusing for students, advisers, and instructors.

To that end, we ask that all courses with controlled enrollment make use of the common deadline on 01/19/21.

Below is an overview of the available tools and how they might be used in our new circumstances: 

  • Lottery systems can be used to manage large numbers of student requests to enroll (General Education has managed ca. 3600 enrollments in Fall 2020  through a coordinated lottery). 
  • Requisites can be established in my.harvard to grant automatic permission to enroll to students who meet a set of criteria, such as concentration, class year, pre-requisite or co-requisite course enrollment, etc. Some faculty may want to use requisites to manage enrollment, knowing that permission of instructor can override requisites to make an exception. 
  • Enrollment caps can be set in my.harvard to limit enrollment for pedagogical reasons. Since registration will take place before classes begin this year, some courses might not need a selection process, allowing open enrollment while space is available and utilizing a waitlist to manage the order in which available spots will be offered to students. 

Instructor permission is the most common tool, but unfortunately it is also the most cumbersome. Instructor permission can override requisites and enrollment caps, so we recommend using it in concert with other tools to manage enrollment more efficiently.

No matter what system you choose to manage enrollment in your courses, we ask that you please include registration instructions on my.harvard in the Class Notes and Canvas course website to give students equal access to information about the process for requesting permission to enroll in your course.

Important Note: The College does not intend to coordinate how instructors handle controlled enrollment, whether by interview, lotteries, etc. We only hope to be able to coordinate the timing of how students are notified of the results.

Advising Holds

As in previous terms, advising holds need to be released in my.harvard for students to enroll in classes by the deadline. Advising holds therefore need to be lifted by January 21, 2021. Advising holds for all students can be released beginning on January 13. 2021.

We thank everyone for working together to make spring 2021 course registration as smooth as possible.