ASH registration questions/issues


Questions/Comments about the NY Class Program

ASH registration questions/issues

Postby tanouye » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:51 pm

Hi,

Some people have asked in various other forums (tumblr and email) about Advanced Study applications and slots, so I thought I'd try to share some tips and/or info.

First, there's obviously a high demand for these courses. So, like Bruce Springsteen tickets, a lot of people are trying to get them at the same time and there are more fans than available seats. Yes, I just compared our classes to a Bruce Springsteen concert! Because they are both three hours long and often very sweaty.

Anyway, if you find out you are 43rd on the waiting list, that's not a sign that people are gaming the system to get ahead of you, or something is broken, it just means that at least 59 people were online at the same time trying to get into this course. And everyone is sending an email right away, within the first minute of the class going online. Some emails got through faster than yours.

IS THERE A BETTER WAY?

I don't know? If you can think of one, please let me know. Remember that it has to be fair and manageable for us. When I was enrolling in classes back in 2001, you had to do it in-person, which meant lines around the block and people camping out overnight in order to get the classes they wanted. Also, for a while, people could enroll their friends, so you might be number four in line and have waited all night, but the three people in front of you each registered six of their friends, and all the slots were filled up by the time you got to the front of the line. It was rough. Also, if you had a day job, you either had to take the day off of work or pay someone to enroll for you or risk not getting into any classes. So I think this system works better than that.

But I'm open to ideas if they are practical. Remember that the goal is to make the system fair for everyone.

TIPS

For ASH classes, the enrollment process is usually the same - applicants are asked to send an email to the registrar with a specific subject line. In order to save time, you might pre-load an email with the recipient and body filled out in advance so you only need to input the correct subject line. Also, I'd recommend doing it from somewhere with a fast internet connection if possible. Your office or home? Probably not from your phone, which will probably take longer. I try to put classes online at different times of the day from week to week so that no one is ever shut out (like if you work certain hours at a place with no ability to check the internet)

I'm not sure what the best way to find the application info is -- it varies. There's the available classes page... http://newyork.ucbtrainingcenter.com/courses/open
... but it caches every few minutes, so depending on the cache cycle, a new class may appear online for a minute or two before it shows up there. Alternately, you can check the "Classes Going Online..." thread for that day, which I will update with a link soon after I put a course online. But sometimes that can take longer than it takes for the course to appear on the Available Classes page -- it depends on how fast my internet is and if I'm swamped with other things. If it was me, I would toggle between the Available Classes page and the Classes Going Online thread, refreshing to see where the class appears first.

OTHER INFO
In some circumstances, recipients of our Diversity Scholarship and interns may pre-enroll in a course before it goes online. So if you're really eager to get into classes and you're eligible for either of those programs, you might pursue them.

ARE PEOPLE GAMING THE SYSTEM SOMEHOW?
I don't think so. The last time we had evidence of it was in April, and we took steps to prevent it:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=27927
Erik Tanouye
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(also Improv/Sketch teacher and performer)
UCB Training Center
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New York, New York 10018
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Re: ASH registration questions/issues

Postby Hal » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:08 am

What if there were staggered application times? Like maybe registration for an ASH opens at noon for people who haven't taken one recently, and at 1:00 for people who have.

Doesn't have to be those exact criteria-- but I'm just thinking, if there's any overall category of people that seems to get freezed out a lot, maybe give them first dibs. (The people who have to register late would be effectively frozen out of popular classes, but if late registration is based on changeable criteria, i.e. "recently", they'll have their turn again. In this example, classes would still have a mix of new and veteran students.)
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Re: ASH registration questions/issues

Postby KBC » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:19 am

Any chance ASH classes could enroll online, as opposed to email? Perhaps with a special code ASH students receive to ensure only advanced-approved students may apply?
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Re: ASH registration questions/issues

Postby eblarden » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:31 am

If we're going down this road at all, I think you could combine the two suggested methods above. The code will be unique per student and could be linked to a date of last class taken. If X number of slots are open for students who haven't taken a class in Y months, the check can be performed automatically, and those X slots can be filled. Then, the remaining Z slots can be filled by any students, or students who have taken a class in the past Y months, depending on how you want to structure it. Either way, I think a pretty simple program could be written to do all of it. Right? Just some thoughts.
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Re: ASH registration questions/issues

Postby notrubharass » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:15 pm

I don't have too many issues with the current system. I failed to sign up for the last ASH in time because it went online early - so maybe there should be more consistency on exactly when classes go online?

I would love it is Advanced Study students could get an email Sunday night/Tuesday night that listed what classes were going online tomorrow and when. A reminder of some sort - maybe even just a email/text that says to check this board, it's been updated. Maybe not everyone wants that - there could be a list-serve?
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Re: ASH registration questions/issues

Postby tanouye » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:23 pm

Hal wrote:What if there were staggered application times? Like maybe registration for an ASH opens at noon for people who haven't taken one recently, and at 1:00 for people who have.

Doesn't have to be those exact criteria-- but I'm just thinking, if there's any overall category of people that seems to get freezed out a lot, maybe give them first dibs. (The people who have to register late would be effectively frozen out of popular classes, but if late registration is based on changeable criteria, i.e. "recently", they'll have their turn again. In this example, classes would still have a mix of new and veteran students.)


I'm not sure about this - it penalizes people who have taken classes recently. And because I don't know the schedules far enough in advance, it would force people to choose between "Do I take this course with Teacher X now, which I know is available? Or should I wait, and hope that a course with Teacher Y becomes available, even though it might not?" Because in a system like this, once you're in the class with Teacher X, you'd be at a disadvantage for a possible future class with Teacher Y.

Plus we'd also have to figure out what "taken a class recently" means, and the registrar would then have to do that much more research before enrolling a course.

I guess I'm not sure that there's a group of people who are constantly getting shut out of courses at this point. Is that happening? Or is it just one popular course in particular?
Erik Tanouye
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(also Improv/Sketch teacher and performer)
UCB Training Center
520 Eighth Ave, 9th Floor
New York, New York 10018
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Re: ASH registration questions/issues

Postby tanouye » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:28 pm

KBC wrote:Any chance ASH classes could enroll online, as opposed to email? Perhaps with a special code ASH students receive to ensure only advanced-approved students may apply?


I don't think this would change anything - filling out the online enrollment form leads to the same issues, as anyone who has tried to enroll in an Improv 401 course could attest to. A lot of people are online at the same time and the people with faster fingers, or who are maybe using auto-complete better, get those slots.
Erik Tanouye
School Manager
(also Improv/Sketch teacher and performer)
UCB Training Center
520 Eighth Ave, 9th Floor
New York, New York 10018
tanouye

Posts: 2386
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:52 pm

Re: ASH registration questions/issues

Postby tanouye » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:32 pm

eblarden wrote:If we're going down this road at all, I think you could combine the two suggested methods above. The code will be unique per student and could be linked to a date of last class taken. If X number of slots are open for students who haven't taken a class in Y months, the check can be performed automatically, and those X slots can be filled. Then, the remaining Z slots can be filled by any students, or students who have taken a class in the past Y months, depending on how you want to structure it. Either way, I think a pretty simple program could be written to do all of it. Right? Just some thoughts.


Unfortunately, I don't think we could build a system to do this at this time. Although if you are an experienced programmer looking for work, please let me know (SERIOUSLY!) email me at erik at ucbcomedy dot com

And, also, this system would limit how many Advanced Study courses someone takes, which I'm not sure we're ready to do yet.
Erik Tanouye
School Manager
(also Improv/Sketch teacher and performer)
UCB Training Center
520 Eighth Ave, 9th Floor
New York, New York 10018
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Re: ASH registration questions/issues

Postby tanouye » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:36 pm

notrubharass wrote:I don't have too many issues with the current system. I failed to sign up for the last ASH in time because it went online early - so maybe there should be more consistency on exactly when classes go online?

I would love it is Advanced Study students could get an email Sunday night/Tuesday night that listed what classes were going online tomorrow and when. A reminder of some sort - maybe even just a email/text that says to check this board, it's been updated. Maybe not everyone wants that - there could be a list-serve?


I try to put classes online at different times in order to give everyone a chance to enroll. If I put them all online at 10:00 am, for instance, it would lock out anyone who had a 9-5 day job where they weren't allowed internet access (maybe they're not at a computer, or they have a firewall set up). So I put them online at different times. If this one was too early for you due to your job, probably another Advanced Study course will go online that you can sign up for. If it was too early because you weren't awake, then that's a different problem.

I don't know that we need a list-serve at this time. Maybe I'm wrong? I don't think that asking people to check a website twice a week is too much of a hassle, although if there's a factor I'm not taking into consideration, please let me know. I guess if people have reasons they can't check the message board Sunday and Tuesday nights, let me know here.
Erik Tanouye
School Manager
(also Improv/Sketch teacher and performer)
UCB Training Center
520 Eighth Ave, 9th Floor
New York, New York 10018
tanouye

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Re: ASH registration questions/issues

Postby tanouye » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:47 pm

Sorry if I seem to be shooting down everyone's ideas after I asked for them. It's mostly a question of logistics at this point, mixed with the philosophical question of "Should we give preference to people who haven't taken a course recently?" I don't think I want to make that a rule just yet.

If you feel like you've been shut out of repeated ASH courses that you applied for right as they went online, please send me an email: erik at ucbcomedy dot com and let me know which courses you applied for.

If I hear from enough people, I'll check with the registrar and see if there seems to be a pattern of enrollment that is screwing over certain applicants.

Although the system will always benefit people with a lot of time and money to devote to studying improv. That can be frustrating to people with less money and time, but that is the way of the world. In my times as a student, I went through periods when I had a lot of time, but no money for classes, and other times when I had more money, but my job didn't offer much flexibility for courses. On the bright side, we do have internships and scholarships that can help offset this socio-economic imbalance.
Erik Tanouye
School Manager
(also Improv/Sketch teacher and performer)
UCB Training Center
520 Eighth Ave, 9th Floor
New York, New York 10018
tanouye

Posts: 2386
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:52 pm

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