How To Take a PD Class When The Class is Full

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From time to time, actually, quite often, we get an email or a call from a teacher who really wants (or needs) to take a class that is full. These teachers are often wondering if there is a way to squeeze in another registration for that particular class.

My immediate thought is, I am glad they asked, but my next thought is usually… I wonder how many people had the same issue, but did not reach out to our office? In other words, how many teachers missed out on taking a class because it was full and it may not have occurred to them to ask? Today’s post is going to address this topic and give some practical solutions.

Why we have class capacities.

Doesn’t it seem like, in an online environment, there should be unlimited space for teachers who want to take a class?

Most face-to-face classes have a room capacity size that serves as an automatic cut-off for the number of individuals who can fit in one space. That makes sense. (Plus, the fire marshals tell us it is a matter of safety, and that also makes sense.)

In the online environment, we don’t have a seating capacity limit. On the surface, it would seem that there would be no limit to the number of enrollments. As most of you know, instructors, after their personal and professional obligations are met (eating, sleeping, teaching, etc.), only have a limited amount of time. An instructor must determine how much time it takes for them to grade assignments/tests, moderate discussion boards, and all the rest of the stuff that comes with teaching a class. Once they have that information, they use it to determine how many individuals they are able to accept into their class within the time they have left in their day. The instructor then sets their class capacity. This number can vary greatly, depending on the type of class and the content.

As with many things in life, there is some grey area in the class capacity numbers for online classes. There are times when an instructor is willing to accept one or two students over their class capacity because it may only add a few more minutes of work for them. The benefit to those potential students is often greater than the potential burden to the instructor.

There are some classes that cannot or will not allow extra students over the capacity for varying reasons.

Having said that, here are a few strategies for getting into that professional development class listed as “full”.


Ask If You Can Get In To the Class.

This seems like such a simple solution, yet it can be very effective but not too many do it. Our office does not know when you need your credits. We do not know when your specific license needs renewing. Likewise, we also do not know what happens in your classes, what situations you are dealing with, or what topics you want to learn about.

The point I am trying to make here is that we all know professional development classes are here to assist you in your teaching. That’s why you take them. Our K-12 professional development instructors also want their class to be helpful to you and that can only happen if we can get you into their class.

When you ask to get into a professional development class, our office will do everything we can to get you enrolled.

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Ask About Offering The Class For Your School or District

If there is a topic that is extremely important to your school or district’s teachers, go ahead and ask if we can offer that class specifically to your teachers. There are many reasons you may want to offer a class specific to your school or district’s teachers. We have an upcoming post about it and will link to that post when it is live.

If a class is filled to capacity, whether face-to-face or online, we are often able to work with instructors to offer a class to your teachers. Some of our instructors are willing to travel to your school/district or are willing to adapt and offer the class online for your teachers.

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Ask About Future Offerings of The Class

As I mentioned above, there are occasions when an instructor cannot let you into their class. If this happens in your situation and you don’t need the credit at that specific time frame, ask us about future offerings. In the summer, some of our instructors will offer the class at both the beginning and end of the summer semester. There are some instructors who offer their classes every semester, and still there are some instructors who will offer their class on demand. This means that if an instructor knows there are several students interested in taking a class, they will open their class in a specific semester to accommodate those student’s needs.

Who Do I Contact?

If any of the solutions listed above apply to you, we encourage you to contact our office at 701-231-7015 or by email at

Sometimes we will have an answer immediately and sometimes it takes a day or two to contact the instructor, but you can be assured that someone in our office will work on your question as soon as we receive it.

We understand your professional development needs have a direct impact on maintaining your license, increasing your pay, and assisting with difficult areas of teaching. The NDSU Distance and Continuing Education program wants to see you succeed as a teacher. We also want you to know that we will do everything we can to assist in your professional development, including working to get you in to those full classes.

Do you or your school district have a need for a specific professional development topic? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author

Connie Jadrny

Connie Jadrny, is the marketing and public relations coordinator for NDSU Distance and Continuing Education, a program of the Office of Teaching and Learning.

In more than 16 years at NDSU, Jadrny has learned a lot about the professional development needs of K-12 teachers.

In this series of posts, she intends to pass along bits of wisdom from the professional development industry.

Let’s learn together!

KeywordsK-12 Professional Development, PD Tips, OTL Blog   Doc ID130759
OwnerLinda C.GroupIT Knowledge Base
Created2023-08-31 09:45:42Updated2023-08-31 12:18:00
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