I'm relatively new to BYU-Idaho and just completed my first semester, so perhaps this question has been posed and answered in the past. If so, please send me to that discussion and I'll jump in there!
I was curious as to how different sections of the same course are filled. I noticed that the other two instructors for my course have full classes, and mine is slowly filling (Winter 2017). I'm fairly certain this same order for section filling was done for this past semester as well (Fall 2016). Are all things considered equal for determining who's class gets filled first?
If everything is equal then it seems like it would make more sense to have students sign up for the course, then depending on the number of total students determine how many sections/teachers you need and divide the students up randomly. I don't have any data to back this up, but it seems like those students who sign-up early (and therefore fill up the first section) are more committed to sticking with the class. Those who sign-up last minute (and fill the last section) are maybe more likely to drop the course, or not be as invested. This seemed true for my course this last semester as the first section had the most students, the second section a little fewer, then the last section (mine in this instance) had the least (around 10 students fewer). If all of the sections had a closer number of total students then the teachers would have a more equal work load - again assuming we're getting paid the same amount for teaching the same course. The other teachers for my course had to do a lot more grading, but I had more time to make some resources to share - which worked out fine for me, but I don't know that it's really "fair" (to throw out a phrase from my 5 year old).
In summary it seems like it would make more sense to make a good estimate for how many sections you'll need (and how many teachers), but then to not fill them until very close to the beginning of the semester so that all the sections have approximately the same number of randomly assigned students (not in order of how they signed up).
Then again, maybe there's a reason for why it is the way it is... which I'd be curious to understand.
Thanks for listening!
Sister Katie Groneman