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An eBay item in the making
Class schedule’s last print edition signals success of online version

09 September 2004


The UC Berkeley schedule of classes may become a collector’s item — the old-fashioned paper version, that is.

Fall 2004 marks the last semester that course information will be distributed in printed form, ending a tradition dating back to 1875. Instead, students will rely henceforth on the online class schedule (schedule.berkeley.edu).

A photo of a sculpture of two contemplative-looking bears sitting back-to-back decorates the cover of this semester’s schedule. Over the years, covers (in both black-and-white and color) have featured Oski, campus statuary, students wearing bell-bottom pants, bear statues from all over the campus, and many shots of Sproul Plaza and the Campanile.

Despite such eye-catching artwork on its cover, the material inside the schedule was frequently out-of-date by the time it came off the presses. Class locations, instructors, and other details tended to change so greatly between the time the schedule was shipped to the printer and the end of the registration that corrections averaged 17,000, says UC Berkeley Registrar Susie Castillo-Robson.

Since the advent of an online schedule in 1991, nightly updates have provided students with new information as it becomes available. They also have access to information resources — such as current enrollment, links to the campus’s general catalog, and faculty website addresses — in a way that was never possible.

A representative sampling of 1,100 students, polled about their attitudes toward paper schedules as opposed to the web-based alternative by the Office of the Registrar and the Office of Student Research, showed overwhelming support for the change. One student said the university was wasting paper for a printed schedule when it boasts such impressive computer resources.

By going online-only with the schedule of classes, Berkeley follows the path set by such peer institutions as UCLA, UC San Diego, and the University of Michigan.