Enrolling the aid of a telephone

September 8, 1995

In "Dial-a-course by touch phone cuts paperwork" (THES, August 25), it is reported that for the first time in Australia, and possibly the world, students seeking a university place in Victoria will be applying to the state Tertiary Admissions Centre by punching in numbers on a telephone.

Dial-a-course enrolment has been commonplace in the larger United States universities for many years. Wisconsin, for example, introduced a system by which students can enrol for courses by touch-tone phone from anywhere in the world in 1987. Students punch in their matriculation number and a code for the course of their choice and as soon as the course is full they are informed of this by a recorded voice. Such systems usually also check prerequisites, advise students of timetable clashes and suggest when they need to modify their choice of courses accordingly. Not only has this cut paperwork, but unfair and even dangerous contests for places on popular courses that used to take place. Students camping out all night to gain admission are now a thing of the past.

SUMMER S. KENESSON

Overseas postgraduate Department of fine art University of Edinburgh

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