New Course Registration System Implemented at the UvA

By Ellie Hsu | Campus | December 13, 2021

Cover Illustration: Flat lay of a woman studying. Avel Chuklanov / Unsplash

Campus reporter Ellie Hsu discusses the new course registration system at the University of Amsterdam, GLASS, and what this new system means for students.


From November 25 to November 30, 2021, several majors at the University of Amsterdam implemented a new course registration system called GLASS. These include the Bachelor’s programmes in Law, Tax Law, Psychology and the Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in Communication Science. Within this time frame, students were asked to register themselves in the new system, which is programmed to inform them of their placements in the courses of their choice by December 3. 

The old system for Law and Communication Science pertains to the “first come, first serve” principle. Students had to check the available time slots for courses and plan their own schedules. The official statement from the College of Communication stated that a big advantage of adopting GLASS is the elimination of the “first come, first serve” principle. The system now registers all students to their tutorial groups by equal chance and without overlaps. On top of this, GLASS also allows students to choose up to two time slots where they prefer not to attend classes. 

Students can indicate two time slots on GLASS where they prefer not to follow classes. GLASS

However, students have had mixed reactions to this new system. Ever since GLASS was introduced in early November, diverging opinions have been expressed about its implementation. In this article, several anonymous students expressed the thoughts they have towards GLASS. 

“I’m happy about this new system,” said student A, a third-year Communication Science student. “I don’t have to wake up at 8 A.M. to wait in the queue anymore.”

Student B, a second-year Communication Science student, believes there are both benefits and shortcomings of the new system, “I like it [GLASS] in terms of usability. It’s much more clear how to register for courses, it’s much more clear for which courses you’re registered and when they are. But in terms of registering for things that suit your schedule, for example, it’s really bad.” 

“A lot of students, especially in the second year, are starting to work part-time, and sometimes we cannot manage our schedules,” added student B. 

Student B believes the option to choose two time slots that they prefer not to attend class wouldn’t help those who have to work part-time five days a week. On the other hand, student C, another in Communication Science second-year, thinks this system works just fine: “I can definitely arrange my other work around it, since my studies at university should still be my priority.”

Many students found GLASS to be confusing, not only as they feel it is being introduced too late, but also because the administrative body seems to be unable to answer some of the students’ questions. According to student B, students believe that the course coordinators and the study advisors are also confused about how the system works. 

“…when I asked for more information…they said: ‘We are not even sure how the system works,’” explained student B. “The person [study advisor] who I spoke to seemed really, really confused.”

Both student B and student C like the GLASS system, but believe there are improvements that can be made. For instance, they both recommended implementing GLASS in all majors so this way, students wouldn’t have to register for courses that are under different faculties in different systems. 

There are advantages and disadvantages for every system, and the changes the university makes are geared to improve student life most of the time. This is not to say that students should accept whichever system the university implemented, but that they should take their time to evaluate the changes being made before sending a complaint. The university takes into account many hurdles when making such decisions, such as the effects new implementations may have on students, but also staff. Nevertheless, only time will tell whether GLASS truly presents a better alternative to the current system.

Ellie Hsu is a student at the University of Amsterdam. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of The Amsterdammer. 

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