This week is the first week of classes, so the rest of my oohort and I have been busy preparing and going to meetings and such. We've applied for our student books, put money on our meal cards and are as prepared as we can apparently be....
Last week on Wednesday we went to a meeting were we learned how to access the online class registration system. It was all in Mandarin, so I did not understand most of what was said, however the teacher also demoed the site on the screen so I was able to take notes according to what link lead where and what different buttons did, so it was still useful. Later in the afternoon we met with our DDP coordinator and went to a dinner with some of the teachers. It was quite fun.
On Thursday, we went to our first class, although we were not officially registered yet. It was C programming, taught in English as it turned out, and we were supposed to decide what times we wanted to take the class. However, as we did not know the rest of our schedule it has been post-phoned until this Thurday. In the class we learned some of the Mandarin words used in computer science and the evolution of Computer Programming and a brief history, next class we are learning the Philosophy and goal of different programs. The class was for DDP students only as they arranged it especially for us.
On Friday, we tried to sign up for our language classes, and met up with the earlier cohort who were going to help us sign up for the classes. For the language classes, they post the possible schedules on a board and then people line up to speak with the teacher that will put us into the schedule we choose, however, as our group is quite large, they weren't able to enter us into classes. The coordinator said that we would be forced in tomorrow, when classes actually start, but it seems more like we should have signed up earlier to avoid the trouble. We will be missing the first day of classes as a result. The earlier cohorts were also entered late, however they only had three students to fit in to a class, while we have seven. There are about twenty to a class. We may be put into different groups, or they may make a new schedule since it has to fit with our C programming class, the options for which are all split between Thursday and Friday mornings. In the end, we were not able to do anything and are waiting for tomorrow when we will meet with her.
On Saturday, we met with our cohort again for lunch. Afterwards, we went to the dorm rooms to try to sign up for some classes electonically. The language classes were available online, however, they don't actually enter you into the course, only to show the teacher who is interested. We were supposed to take six courses this term, however, we were only able to enter four due to conflict. We were unable to sign up for the C programming course we knew we were in as well. Another of the classes wer were supposed to sign up for does not actually have a time table available, and the current claim on the system conflicts with the fake language classes on it. We signed up for four of the classes, and will once again have to wait until tomorrow to actually get into anything. Luckily, apparently they tend to force us into the classes we need since we are DDP and have to keep to a stricter schedule than language students in order to graduate, so they tend to be a little more leniant. However, it is rather annoying not knowing what classes we will end up being in.
Next year, we will be signing up for classes ourselves using the online system, since it is only the language courses that we have to sign up in person for apparently, and so we were told a few things to be prepared for. One of which is that, although you may able to sign up online for the course, you may not actually be in it. A lot of the time, the option is just to guage interest before an actual class and schedule is set up. Also, it will not tell you if a class is full, only if it exists. And, it is not first come first serve, but a random draw. So one may sign up for the classes they need, but then they need to wait until classes start to see if they actually get in, and if they are unlucky, they have to try to sign up again or wait a year for the class to be available again. The classes are term based, so if you don't get in that term you have to wait a year for it to be available again rather than next term, although that does not apply to all classes. For international students though, they are more likely to let you in, or you can talk to the teacher and be forced in, so hopefully it will work out.