December 06, 2010
What resources are out there for course advising?
Selecting what classes to take next semester is tricky. It has to do with how you want to shape your career path through your time at SI and what classes might help fulfill that goal. On a more practical level, it also means arranging your classes in a way that you can finish requirements for the MSI degree in four semesters (and also for your specialization(s) or making a better statement as a tailored student). I have been exploring resources for course advising for the past month and gladly just finalized my course schedule for winter 2011. In the following I am going to talk about general information for MSI students as well as some specified sources for HCI.
If you are already on a certain track in terms of specializations or interested in new specialization, the tap sheets offer a range of classes under the specialization. The ones with * count for more than one specialization. Then find the course descriptions and get a basic idea. Sometimes there will be links to the past syllabus.
The faculty advising is only open for two weeks. Make sure you grab your professors as soon as you can! This is also what I found most useful. Not only come to faculty for whom you have explicit questions, but also to those you just find interesting and want to chat with. There is no rule that says you can’t use these 20 minutes and just chat with them~~ Sometimes the loose chatting leads to really good inspiration. However, before your appointment, even if you just want to “chat,” prepare for explaining what you want to learn from them.
Sometimes there are faculty group advising for specific specializations, in which several professors will be invited for giving suggestions and answering questions. I didn’t go this time, but I saw the meeting summary from previous years, which is really helpful.
3. Peer advising
This is usually held among specialization groups (LIS, HCI, ARM…). You will receive email announcements from those groups. It will be casual, sometimes over lunchtime, but it is nice to gather in the community and learn the “unofficial” comments of courses.
4. Online records and discussions
There seems no centralized forum for course advising, but you can either send an email to si.all.open or look at the discussion threads that someone else started. I found the SOCHI web page on “Academic” really helpful, although a little outdated and no one seems posting for this year…
Last but quite important: after you decide what classes to take, as soon as your registration appointment opens, get in there and register! I was amazed how quickly classes got full for both of my registrations (for fall 2010 and winter 2011). You will regret if you don’t go there immediately and lose the class you want to take most!
Posted by shichen at December 6, 2010 09:54 PM
Do you know how quickly PhD programs fill up? I'm trying to get admissions information sorted out for Fall of 2011, but I don't know how long I have until I'm out of luck.
I think I hear back about financial aid this Summer-- is that too late?
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