Do you remember in 2001: A Space Odyssey, when the computer called Hal tries to undermine the Jupiter mission by killing all those aboard the spaceship and singing “Daisy Bell” so slowly it hurts to listen? Well, Marlboro’s new online pre-enrollment process is nothing like that. But sure enough, the future has touched down on campus: Students can pre-enroll for all their favorite classes as easily as they can download photos of the Italian prime minister getting hit in the face with a cathedral statuette or look for the cutest cat videos on YouTube.
“It’s like jumping from the Stone Age right into the Space Age,” said Julie Richardson, Marlboro’s interim registrar, who can no longer be found wearing animal-skin garments. She and Tobias Gelston, academic tech coordinator, demonstrated the easy new pre-enrollment module during lunch all last week—I’m not kidding, the hardest thing about it was not dripping pizza juice onto their laptops. As Julie showed me, students can nimbly scroll down the tantalizing list of courses offered and select those that interest them, from Special Relativity to Sex, Violence and Religion: The Art of Caravaggio.
As if by some miracle, all of the classes you choose can be displayed in a handy-dandy weekly schedule and amended until they are just right, and you can sleep until noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for example. You can keep revising your “proposal” until it goes to your advisor in January. Needless to say, but being the obvious type I say it anyway, this digital breakthrough will save reams of paper and endless shuffling across campus for signatures on crinkled slips. Of course the students are still finding lots of other reasons to shuffle across campus this final week of the semester, what with papers and finals and oral exams and fond farewells until next month. But at least all of their pre-enrolling is at their fingertips and going as smoothly as docking on a space station to the tune of Strauss’s Blue Danube. If the students start singing “Daisy Bell,” I will worry.