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HASS-D Lottery Migrates to WebSIS

By Douglas E. Heimburger
Associate News Editor

The lottery for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Distribution courses is moving off Athena and onto the world wide web this semester.

The new system will integrate the lottery system into the registrar's electronic pre-registration system, said Bette K. Davis, coordinator of the HASS Office.

The changes, which are designed to ease confusion during the first week of classes, allow students to determine before registration day which HASS-D class they received, said Mary R. Callahan, associate registrar for facilities and scheduling.

Students must enter the lottery before noon on January 20, earlier than the traditional registration day deadline, using the web-based student information services system at http://student.mit.edu.

After students register, the HASS-D lottery will then be run. Only after that lottery is completed will the algorithms used to allocate students to particular recitations and class times be run, Callahan said. The timing changes will help students "avoid scheduling conflicts, as the recitations in other classes should not con flict" with a student's HASSD selection.

Lottery will run earlier this year

This will mark a break from past semesters, where the HASS-D lottery would close at noon on registration day, with results available at midnight.

Students who did not receive their first choice HASS-D class would then have to use an add/drop form and potentially realign other classes, Callahan said. "We've heard a lot from students running around on the first day of classes" that the system should be changed, she added. "The goal is that students will get one schedule that works," Davis said.

While the interface to the lottery has changed, the lottery algorithm itself has not, Callahan said. Representatives of the HASS office will still conduct the lottery and provide the results back to the registrar's office.

Students will be able to find out which HASS-D they received within three to five days by revisiting the WebSIS site, Callahan said. At that point, the full class schedules will also be available, and students will be able to get a feel for their class schedule prior to registration day.

A list of open HASS-D classes will also be available on WebSIS, said Joanne Y. Stevenson, associate director of student information systems. Students who wish to add one of these classes to their schedule should not use the registration form, but should instead get an add/drop card signed by the instructor of the class in order to control HASS-D class sizes, which are limited to 25.

Faculty WebSIS planned

The Registrar's Office is also planning to construct a site for faculty to get information about their classes and potentially submit grade information, Callahan said.

This term, faculty will be able to receive class lists using the world wide web and print them or import them into a spreadsheet for grading purposes, Callahan said. In future terms, student pictures may be integrated into the system. Currently, faculty receive printed class lists and picture sheets for each class.

Online registration is "still in the planning stage." The office is currently focusing on how to best display student information for advising purposes, Callahan said.

"We could do it almost tomorrow but the feeling is that what's on the screen for an adviser is important" to the process, she added.

Jennifer Lane contributed to the reporting of this story.