How Workday Student can distribute workloads and expand capacity

Many of the student functions and process changes rolling out in Workday arose from the opportunity to remedy limitations in Iowa State's decades-old legacy systems. Staff experiences and their ideas for solutions are behind a few improvements highlighted here: Longer course numbers and improved processes for editing course section details, for example, the course limit, necessary equipment or room assignment.

Expanding course numbers

When the third Workday rollout goes live March 4, students and employees will see four-digit course numbers for fall registration. A "0" will be added to the end of most undergraduate and graduate course numbers. Two exceptions are:

  • Courses for students in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine professional program. The digit "7" precedes the course number to distinguish the series from graduate courses. Veterinary medicine faculty worked with the registrar team to determine which courses became part of the 7000 series.
  • Developmental courses that don't provide credit toward any degree program. The "0" appears as the first digit.


Four-digit courses


Intended student audience


Don't offer credits toward a degree


Primarily freshmen and sophomores


Primarily juniors and seniors


Primarily graduate students, but open to qualified undergraduates


Graduate students (includes Vet Med graduate courses)


Vet Med professional students (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)


Four-digit course numbers:

  • Provide more course numbers for each department as new courses are developed
  • Offer greater flexibility for course number sequences and clustering
  • Expand number availability in multiple departments for cross-listed and dual-listed courses
  • Provide consistency with course numbering standards at Iowa's regent universities and several peer institutions

Assistant registrar Heidi Christensen said the practice of retiring a course number when a course is discontinued creates a number shortage over time.

"In some departments, we've struggled to come up with [course] numbers the department prefers to use. The 1000 series will provide greater flexibility for future use," she said. "The expansion also gives departments the capacity to group course numbers by type -- for example, workshop, creative component or research credits -- for consistency across the university."

For courses completed while they were still listed as a three-digit number (for example, Math 195 this spring), they will appear that way in students' records in Workday. 

Distributing a big task: Edits to course sections

The task of updating course sections in Workday will belong to department representatives with access privileges, eliminating a manual back-and-forth process between departments and registrar staff prior to each registration window that consumed time. In the legacy system, departments didn't have access to course section records to change details such as location, meeting patterns or section seating capacity, so that load fell to the registrar team.

Now, course section edits submitted by department partners in Workday will be routed to both the registrar and room scheduling teams for approval.

The streamlined process also eliminates the former Course Offering Change Form, a Kuali business process in AccessPlus. However, part of that form's function is preserved in a new form. The room scheduling team worked with the Workday implementation team to create a single-purpose tool in Workday, the Course Location Change Request Form. The intent is to expedite the course section editing process (a Workday business process) by separating room assignment requests from it.

New form for requesting a classroom change

While course section locations will be listed in Workday during registration, it's "highly likely" locations among Iowa State's general university 209-room inventory will change by the time classes start in August, said Katie Baumgarn, who leads the room scheduling team. This is an every-semester reality, she said.

Room assignments in department-controlled instructional spaces are more certain, pending departmental decisions to make changes (which they then share with the room scheduling team).

Once registration concludes in April, the room scheduling team goes to work on hundreds of space and room attribute requests from department partners and the team in student accessibility services. As they work through those, course sections may move to other rooms. About a month before the semester starts, departments are notified of changes to their classroom assignments.

Baumgarn encourages department partners to use the Course Location Change Request Form in Workday several ways as a communication tool:

  • Share their preferences for course locations.
  • Receive an answer on a room request, prior to submitting the change in the course section edit process. Avoid declined room requests later -- and save time -- by completing this step first.
  • Investigate 'what-if' scenarios to see what's possible on room assignments.

Baumgarn acknowledged it may be tempting to go into Workday's course section editing task to make all changes at once, including location. Unless it's a room managed by that department, she encouraged department representatives to not change a location without checking first with her team.

"The final decision on location rests with room scheduling, based on what's available," she said. "If you try to schedule a really large class at 9:30 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, there may not be a room for you."

As with course section editing, access to the location request form will be limited to department partners or others with access privileges. Questions may be directed to