|/Illustrated by Cho Moon-kyung|
“If I fail the class registration this time, I am sure I will have a hard time getting a diploma.” “School recommended us to study various categories of disciplines, but they did not even distribute the number of lectures well!” These concerns are commonly heard among university students. However, Dongguk University lacks sufficient number of compulsory courses for graduation in specified times and the time for classes has been allocated improperly. Angry students argued that school is not supplementing existing courses and not managing the curriculum well. In view of that, The Dongguk Post will describe the class-related problems that students face, why these problems have arisen, and where they could be headed.
Compulsory courses that donggukians have to take for graduation
In Dongguk University, students must meet several pre-requisites to graduate. According to the guidelines for the completion of the common liberal arts courses’ curriculums, 34 credits must be taken which is combined by eight courses of common culture studies. Eight courses include masterpieces seminars, English lectures, software lectures, Buddhist lectures, and others. These conditions apply to all colleges except the College of Engineering. Major courses also require more than a certain number of credits to each college. The students of the College of Law and the College of Business Administration must take eight major courses that are required for their majors.In case of other colleges, such as the College of Social Science and the College of Engineering, major courses are designated for each department. The importance of the type of lectures students take is highlighted through these two conditions.
Inefficient allocation of lectures causes problems to Donggukians taking lectures
Some lecture-related problems had occured. First, there are problems related to major courses.The number of major courses has become scarce and time of the cousres has been allocated inefficiently. Cho Nam-hyun (Junior, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering) said, “There is a class named Engineering Applications of Linear Algebra (EALA), which was held last semester. It teaches the principles required to take classes for the College of Engineering students. However, there were four classes open last semester and two of them overlapped with the class named Introduction to Industrial and Systems Engineering (IISE), which is a compulsory class for me.” He added, “The reason those classes overlap is that all three IISE classes were open at 1:30 P.M.to 4:30 P.M. on Friday, leaving only two options for the EALA. This made it difficult for students to make a timetable.”
Similarly, there are also problems with the establishment of common liberal arts courses. The common liberal arts courses are placed inefficiently and stacked up with major courses. Hyun Ki-sung (Junior, Department of Media Communication) said “Compulsory lectures for major in the College of Social Science are designated from 9A.M. to 6P.M. Unfortunately, six of the nine for Self-expression Writing classes, were opened at 9 A.M., which students usually avoid and leaves only three choices. However, one of the three classes is for the students of the Department of Sports and Culture. Besides, one of the two classes overlaps with my major.” She added, “Finally there is only one course left to take. Currently, more than twice as many students have applied for this lecture which is limited to 40 students.” Students are having difficulty taking common liberal arts courses because the number of classes has not been offered during these high-demand times, which are after 6 P.M. that does not overlap with the time for majors. Common liberal arts courses are not held in high-demand time zones and students cannot take them.
Interdepartmental major’s curriculum and management disappoints students
Moreover, poor management of interdepartmental major may be one of the problems of student’s low satisfaction. There are 26 interdepartmental major in Dongguk University such as TESOL(Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Software Convergence Technology. Interdepartmental major is a common curriculum that is developed jointly by multiple departments or majors. Dongguk University has developed interdepartmental major in order to establish the basis of qualitatively enhanced curriculum. Unlike major and common liberal arts courses, interdepartmental major does not have high competition rate. Rather, some classes, for example, Cultural Research Methodology, have shut down because of a low number of students.
Despite the school’s original intention, Donggukians pose a question regarding the interdepartmental major’s management. In the Dongguk University’s “Bamboo Forest” students have constantly complained about the interdepartmental major's lack of information and inefficiency of the curriculum in website. In case of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), there was no detailed explanation about lectures on Udrims the site which enables Donggukians to have access of the administration services. In addition, the Office of Academic Affairs was not fully aware of the interdepartmental major and had trouble answering the student’s question. Choi In cheul (Sophomore, Business Administration) said. “I think I was a little disappointed when the Convergence Software curriculum was easier than I thought. I could have finished the entire material in a month if I study it by myself. “I understand interdepartmental major is trying to teach student about the basics of academics because lots of students from other major can take the course. But I do not think I am learning much," he continued, "I hope the Office of Academic Affairs could reinforce more practical classes and constantly monitor interdepartmental major.”
The response of the school regarding Donggukians' class-related problems
In regards of matters such as essential majors allocated in the same time as liberal arts courses, the Office of Academic Affairs had a different perspective. “Personally, I did not receive much complaints from certain department or faculty team about the time allocation.” One of the members of the Office of Academic Affairs also explained that the inevitableness of the time allocation of the essential major and liberal arts courses is because that is how the operating system works. He said, “I think in order to fix this problem, complaints from students should be discussed in the office of certain department first, so that they could be passed on to us.”
For the answers of the problems related to common liberal arts courses, “The liberal arts classes are mostly distributed as the time zone of major courses in favor of freshman and sophomore students because those classes are opened for them.” Kim Hyung-bae, one of the members of the Dharma College Office of Academic Affairs continued, “The school is trying not to distribute classes opened after 6P.M because Dongguk University is not a night university and if the students start taking night class it might cause harm to students who are taking noon classes.” He explained that some noon classes have been cancelled due to the lack of student numbers and the school’s original essence would be diminished if more night classes are being opened.
School acknowledges poor management of interdepartmental major
One of the members of the Office of Academic Affairs acknowledged that the management of interdepartmental major does not have a qualitative management like the existing majors, and is aware of the various feedbacks of students regarding curriculum of the institute of the Software Convergence Technology Education. He said, “I believe there is a solution for that matter since the new president plans to establish a department dedicated to the multicultural education which would provide various services.” He also added, “It is natural to have a deviation between students who already have a high knowledge of software and those who do not. The institute of the Software Convergence Technology Education is in the process of solving the problems through feedbacks.”
SNU demonstrates the example for proper management of interdepartmental major
Concerning the management of interdepartmental major, Seoul National University is the representative example of managing systematic curriculum and operation status of the interdepartmental major. In the interdepartmental major website, students can find the essential curriculum about exploration courses, which gives students basic knowledge before choosing the advanced elective courses and other subjects, including which semester those classes are available. Moreover, interdepartmental Evaluation Committee is held every three years to check the operation status of the interdepartmental major by reflecting the student’s satisfaction. One member of the SNU's Office of Academic Affairs stated, “The committee conducts a satisfaction survey among students after each semester which is a helpful information that indicates which part to reinforce. We try to keep the students engaged in courses by hosting seminars and internship opportunities,”
The school lacks the understanding of the current situation
There are too many exasperated public opinion through the websites of the Donggukians. The school should communicate with students and solve these problems actively. The redundant allocation time of essential major and liberal arts course and poorly managed interdepartmental majors are obstacles to have a satisfactory campus life. It will take time to solve this complicated system, but the class-related problems that are uncomfortable for everyone will have to be fixed.
Cho Moon-kyung, Lee Seon-yeong firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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