Wednesday, October 21, 2015


The Illinibucks concept can turn into a very vast conversation of theories about how they may be used. But I believe most of their use would be in terms of class registration and perhaps prioritizing appointments, such as advising, or, for a more far-fetched idea, time tickets.

Essentially, Illinibucks can be a sort of "premium currency" that students may use in a variety of ways to help them get ahead in many of the university services that may allow its use.

Setting the value of the Illinibucks would be done by the university, at a level that would not be so high that the students would hesitate to spend them in the hopes of being able to salvage the most utility out of such a valuable resource, nor so low that students fail to give any proper value to it and waste the currency on meager things. The resources that may allow Illinibucks must be well-thought out in order to properly evaluate its usage.

I'm getting to the point fairly quickly because an introduction on the possible uses of Illinibucks seem limited to the most obvious ones. If the University gave Illinibucks out like they did for Cafe Credits for dorm students, it may have certain benefits, but then people would stockpile them in the hopes of getting something highly desired at the end of the semester, such as for registering for classes. Now, in that case, I believe the problem would be everyone dumping the currency into classes, defeating the purpose of it, because if everyone has the same amount (like Cafe Credits, if we are to consider the fact that there is a set maximum and the university will follow that suit), no one can get the preferential treatment and get ahead in line. In that case, the system breaks down. The same goes for advising appointments if students have a preferred advisor, or if they really need an override and can convince the office to allow them to take a class. For this particular option, the rush to go all-in may not be an issue, since the supply of advisors is relatively large, with the peculiar exception of the CS department.

Now let's consider a case where Illinibucks are distributed at the beginning of the semester. This model would immediately break down considering that the timing of this distribution would coincide with last-minute registrations and restricted registrations. Regardless of the variety proposed by the university, the students would definitely concentrate on getting into classes. Its a question of survivability here, since not being able to take enough classes equals to not being registered as a full time student, and that is a nightmare.

The above two considerations were taken with the thought that the amount of Illinibucks being given to students would be equal. It would be interesting to see how behaviors change if the currency were given out differently according to certain criteria.

Consider if it was distributed based on the year you're on.
On one case, freshmen get the least, and the number slowly increases as semesters pass. I mention this because for a majority of freshmen (and I may be generalizing this), there is a broader set of requirements to be fulfilled in order to take classes. GenEds, prerequisites and electives are available. The demand for most of those classes are very high, but as there are usually more alternatives for freshmen, it may make sense to increase the amount of Illinibucks you have as you progress towards graduation. Students will have a lower number of classes that they need to take as time goes on, and the more specific the list becomes, the more important getting into those classes will.
On the flip side, if freshmen get the most, they gain an invaluable asset in registering for classes they are most attracted to, and will likely spend the most amount of Illinibucks behind, while seniors, on the other extreme, would opt to more carefully spend the smaller number of available Illinibucks to pick out their own most preferred classes.

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