By Jurre Honkoop
In this blogpost I will look at sequencing and positive/negative feedback mechanisms in LUC course selection. As we see in LUC course selection, course administrators have agenda setting power over which courses they allocate to whom. Game theoretic analysis however, would arguably be hard since (hopefully) course administrators do not let their personal favorites take precedence over others. Furthermore the order in which proposals are considered matters. Although the courses are not allocated on a first-come first-serve basis, if administrators starts allocating from the top of his screen of he might be biased to first-comers. Paths of allocation are thus not selections, but they unfold.
A course allocation in one block might prohibit you from taking an entire track in the future. This is for example true if 200 courses are only taught once a year and you do not get this course in year 3. You are thus bound by one allocation in the next ones, resulting in a positive feedback loop. Courses in tracks in which you have already followed a course are more appealing since for this track you fulfilled prerequisites for other courses.
As stated before, I hope that administrators do not let their personal preferences influence his decision making, however even if they did, they would not have full power to do so. Rules of precedence are set. People that “won” in first rounds of course allocation are on schedule for finishing their major successfully and do not “need” specific courses. However, people that did not plan or were unlucky do need such courses. In this case the latter group gets precedence. People that won in the first rounds are thus caught in a negative feedback loop, as the rules try to spread out evenly the “luck factor” over students.