How does not getting your desired tutorial times impact on the other aspects of an individual’s life?
Every university student has a different student experience, and for many students, including myself, this includes balancing work, sport, extracurricular activities, family, relationships and socialising with university.
It can be hard to create a university timetable around all these commitments, especially with the tutorial enrolment process that UOW has currently put in place for students. It can be especially hard to accomodate for every student’s needs in subjects with large cohorts with enrolment into desired tutorial times being determined by how fast you can refresh a webpage and select a time slot.
Whilst I was unable to find current or past studies into “not getting the uni tutorial enrolments you want”, the polls I conducted on Twitter for this research proposal gave me an insight into how this aspect of the student experience may impact on an individual’s life.
Although 35 students is a small sample size, this poll gave me an insight into the high number of students who were unable to get a space in their preferred or required tutorial times.
This poll also confirmed my belief that not getting the tutorial times you prefer or require impacts on an individual’s life outside of university.
According to Susan Gair, the ability to balance university, work and other commitments has only become more difficult in recent years. University students have identified they struggle to balance study, family, financial hardship and paid work that has in turn impacted their daily lives, study success and mental health (Gair, 2018). Nearly 80% of university students studying full time have paid employment, and according to a study by Dr Michelle Hood, 40% of these students work 16 or more hours a week (Griffith News, 2018). Being unable to enrol in your required tutorial times can only contribute to the stress of maintaining a uni, work and life balance.
This is something I unfortunately experienced at the beginning of this session (pre COVID-19). Regardless of the lists and multiple perfect draft timetables I’d created, like suggested in this Year 13 article, I was unable to find a place in my preferred tutorial times and only managed to get 1/4 of my preferences. This meant I had to travel to uni four days a week, instead of my preferred two days. This had a major impact on my weekly schedule as I had factors such as a 1 hour train and bus commute to and from university, a job to support myself, netball training and coaching a netball team to consider. I’m sure this is also the reality for hundreds of other UOW students too.
Is there a better tutorial enrolment process that can lessen the impacts?
Complaining about tutorial enrolments seems to be a universal topic for all UOW students, and is something anyone studying any degree can agree on. I wanted to research other university’s enrolment processes to see if they were similar or dissimilar to UOW, as I had never heard my friends, who attend universities such as USyd, UTS and UON complain about their tutorial enrolment process.
I took some notes on USyd’s tutorial enrolment process, which I thought was amazing compared to what we deal with at UOW.
This process seemed to reduce the stress and uncertainty of tutorial enrolments felt by UOW students. It also seemed to be more inclusive for students who may be juggling many other priorities in their lives such as family, work, health and sport. Looking into this process also definitely made me curious to research this further in within the project and to find ways that UOW could possibly improve their own tutorial enrolment process.
Is this timely, achievable and relevant?
I believe researching this topic will be timely and achievable as it is a universal experience for UOW students and is definitely something I would be able to get a lot of feedback and varying answers on from students and staff within this degree, as well as outside this degree if necessary. It is also relevant as whilst the current situation the world is in has impacted our ability to attend university physically, it is something that has impacted the majority of students at UOW in recent years and the beginning of this session.
Gair, S. (2018). ‘Balancing work and tertiary study is harder now than in 2012: study’. Available at: https://theconversation.com/balancing-work-and-tertiary-study-is-harder-now-than-in-2012-study-89969
Griffith News. (2018). ‘Students stressed from work/study juggle, says Griffith study’. Available at: https://news.griffith.edu.au/2018/02/14/students-stressed-from-workstudy-juggle-says-griffith-study/
Year 13. (2020). ‘How to make the perfect first year uni timetable’. Available at: https://year13.com.au/articles/perfect-uni-timetable
University of Sydney Tutorial Enrolment Process. Available at: https://www.sydney.edu.au/students/timetables.html