At my fair university, we are in the brief window of time between "drop day" (the date by which students need to drop a course if they don't want it to be listed on their transcript with a W, for "withdraw," next to it) and the "late add" deadline (after which, for all intents and purposes, you can't add a class). This means that I have only a few more days to savor being popular -- or at least, popular with the students still desperately trying to lock in their schedules for the semester and hoping to secure the units and/or general education credit my courses could provide.
Sadly, this popularity mostly manifests itself in messages in my inbox asking that I please give the sender an add code for my class ASAP. Worse, in the small fraction of cases where I have been able to to comply with these requests, I don't always hear back from the student to whom I've given an add code ... and he or she doesn't always use the add code to add my class.
I find that this presents me with a practical problem that is also an ethical problem. Students will frequently email, saying, "In the listing online, it shows that your class still has open seats." From the point of view of official enrollment, the online listing is correct, but in this portion of the term it is also the case that I have usually given out one add code for each theoretically empty seat. If all the add codes I've given out are used, there really aren't any open seats.
But a handful of the people to whom I've given out add codes end up not using them, and not letting me know that they're not going to use them.
I have colleagues who deal with the open-seats problem by giving out excess add codes (i.e., more than could all be used before the class is full). The computerized registration system is set up to close registration once the enrollment cap (which for us is usually the seating capacity of the room) is reached, so there's no chance of having more students than seats and violating fire codes. But, essentially this makes adding the course a matter of being fastest on the draw to use your add code -- which makes things hard for students who need first to get various holds on their registration lifted, a process that requires standing in lines and getting signatures on forms. Also, it may leave a student feeling like she has found a space in a class she needed only to be disappointed that she doesn't really have that space because the other add code recipients got there first.
My goal is to fill all the open seats in my courses with students who need them. I don't want to do this by setting up a bloody battle to use one's add code first. On the other hand, I don't want people who have gotten add codes from me to waste an open seat that someone else could use by not using their add codes.
Is there a good way to make this happen?