IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW


Class List By Curriculum Course Section

Marjorie Olmstead was nice enough to share with us how she uses the Class List By Curriculum Course Section report.

Class List By Curriculum Course Section

I have used the class list in two ways recently to help with understanding the undergraduate experience in our major (physics).

First, I looked at the students who took at least one quarter of calculus-based physics in academic year 2010-2011 and compared this list to current enrollment and graduation data (also available through the biportal to determine where these students ended up at the university. Of over 2000 students, about 100 ended up as physics majors, while the rest are distributed among 120 different majors. This informs instructors of the class about the varied needs and goals of our students.

As a second use of this data, I used class list demographic data to determine the demographic composition (gender and race/ethnicity) of our undergraduate majors classes, both in a snapshot of our current classes, and in a cohort study (looking at freshman classes 4 years ago, sophomore classes 3 years ago, etc.). The results highlighted that our majors courses have both a lower fraction of women and higher fraction of ethnic minorities from traditionally under-represented groups than the freshman course (serving those 2000 students), which the departmental diversity and climate committee is now working to understand and address.

Another quicker use of the lists on the personal rather than departmental level was to compare the enrollment of my current 400-level class with that of the recommended 300-level prerequisite in the past two years to get a sense of how many of my students have that background as I prepare my lectures.

-Marjorie Olmstead
Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs
Department of Physics


Thank you Marjorie. I am certain that other departments are doing similar analysis. If so please tell us about it at If you aren’t then maybe its time to give it a try.

Class List By Curriculum Course Section can be found on the BI Portal.