Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Why PCC is no longer providing free, printed credit class schedules

Staring spring term 2013, PCC will stop providing free, printed credit class schedules.

If you'd rather purchase a copy instead of using the free, online class schedule, they'll be available in the Bookstores for $2.

Other schools, including Mt. Hood Community College, Lane Community College, Central Oregon Community College, and Portland State University, no longer print their schedules at all, and an informal nationwide survey in 2011 found that 70% have gone exclusively to an online schedule!

Here's why we're taking this step:

It's a more sustainable practice.

The PCC Board has updated the college mission, adding sustainability to our Institutional Goals, so we are challenged to justify producing so much printed material, (the winter 2013 issue used 7,656 pounds of paper,) that has such a brief life when there's a viable alternative online. And the PCC Sustainability Council, with representatives from all areas of the college, is urging us all to adopt greener practices whenever possible.

It's no longer needed by the vast majority of students.

The increasing sophistication of both our students and our technology has rendered the printed schedule a convenience in most situations, rather than the necessity it once was. In 2012, with fall registration starting in the spring, the great majority of registrations took place before the printed schedule appeared in August. For those that need help with computers, we provide peer mentors at each campus.

The online schedules are proven alternatives (one version inside the MyPCC log-in and one anyone can access).

While the printed schedule is out-of-date by the time it arrives on campus, the online version is updated each night. In fact, the MyPCC version shows in real time how many seats are open in each class! For those that like the layout of the printed page, we'll also be posting a free, downloadable PDF of the version that's sold in the Bookstores.

With the economic clouds darkening over Salem, we need to be more efficient than ever with our money.

We're currently spending about $20,000 per year to print and distribute the credit schedule. Some of the anticipated savings may also be used to develop special PCC apps for the iPhone and Android platforms, or a mobile web site, allowing students to view the schedule, campus maps, transportation information, and more, from their phones.

The printed schedule does not have a significant impact on enrollment.

When we stopped mailing them to each of the 420,000 homes in the PCC District each term and distributed them only on campuses and public libraries, nothing happened to enrollment. In fact, during the past three years of enrollment growth, we actually decreased the on-campus distribution from 68,000 to 25,000.

It's consistent with other PCC practices.

We use parking fees to discourage students and staff from using less "green" transportation options and we discourage smoking by limiting it on college property. A small charge in the bookstore will discourage using the less-sustainable printed schedule. This is also consistent with fees for conveniences like book lockers, having college-supplied towels in the locker rooms, and offering a discount for bringing your own coffee cup to our cafeterias.