In a long-anticipated action, UR will roll out its first session of online registration beginning Nov. 10. For the first time ever, River Campus undergraduates and all Eastman students will be able to drop and add classes over the World Wide Web.

University Registrar Nancy Speck and her staff, along with staff from Information Technology Services, have been hard at work to get the system ready for its launch.

“I’m hoping this is the first step toward new technological developments that will be beneficial to students, faculty and staff,” she said.

Students can sign on to the new system through Access or by following a link from the registrar’s Web site. The software serves as an interface between current student records systems and the Web and can process all submissions instantly. “It’s a real time transaction. Once you click ‘submit,’ that’s for real,” Speck said. “It manages all transactions in a very speedy way.”

After signing in, students will be taken to a disclaimer page and must agree before moving on. The disclaimer has information on advisers, holds and the submission of demographic information. Students must agree to take responsibility for all registration decisions and for making sure that they will complete graduation requirements.

Speck doesn’t believe there will be problems, but wants to make sure that students understand their responsibilities.

“In my experience, students don’t set out to misregister,” she said. “My assumption is that students will work toward their graduation requirements.”

Following the disclaimer, students will be informed if there are any holds that bar them from registering.

“All holds are up front,” Speck said. “If you take care of the holds, you can come in and register.”

If there are no holds on the student’s account, they will be taken to the address verification screen to update any incorrect information. A current phone number and emergency contact information are required.

The user is then taken to the main screen with options for viewing personal information and holds and for

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registering, dropping and viewing courses.

To register, students first select the college for which they are registering from a drop-down menu. From there, they can choose a subject area and then an actual course. Once the course is selected, a box with all available sections and any associated recitations, labs or lab lectures will appear. A section can be selected by clicking the “Add Now” button next to the listing.

Courses that require a professor’s permission can only be added once the student obtains the course PIN number from the instructor. Professors can also directly register approved students. Once a course is closed, it will appear highlighted in yellow and will be unavailable online.

Selected courses will appear at the bottom of the screen in a user’s “Shopping Cart.” Information such as the course registration number, subject area, course number, credit hours, date, time and location of the class will also be listed.

When users are satisfied with their class selections, they can submit their shopping cart for approval. Schedules are approved if they do not contain conflicting classes and if they have fewer than 23 credits.

Students may then view their current schedule and have the option of either printing the page or e-mailing it to themselves. There is also an option on the main page of viewing a schedule in weekly format so users can see the way their time is blocked each week.

“This will be more interactive and more useful for everyone,” Speck said.””We need to demonstrate that.”

Second semester registration will be held this year on Nov. 10, beginning at 8 a.m. with seniors. Juniors will be able to access the system beginning at 8 a.m. on the 11th, sophomores on the 12th and freshmen will be split into two groups that can register on the 13th, half at 8 a.m. and half at noon. Registration will be open for everyone through Nov. 26.

Two staff members from the registrar’s office, along with ITS workers, will be available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day of registration.

The online registration system has been in the works for the last few years. Funding was approved last fall, the software arrived in January and development began in April. Secretary in the Registrar’s Office Emily Laduque has been working to test the system from the beginning. “The entire Registrar’s Office, as well as ITS, has been testing everything for any possible problem,” she said.

Speck is confident that the testing will ensure that registration will go smoothly. “I don’t envision any problems with the system,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to test every possible contingency, including a simulation of 2,000 people logging on to the system at once.”

ITS Information Analyst and Class of 2003 graduate Daryl DuLong has also been involved in extensive testing. “We’ve tested this thing dry,” he said. He also said that results from preliminary student tests are positive.””The feedback was that it was fast, easy and convenient. Some people finished in five minutes,” he said.

DuLong remembers standing in long registration lines and believes the new system will be a definite improvement. “There’s no paper, which makes it so easy,” he said. “You can get instant feedback on whether you’ve done the right thing.”

Some students are not sure that all the results will be positive. “Obviously, it’s a benefit not to have to wait in line to register,” sophomore Joshua Branower said.””On the other hand, it’s nice to have an actual person on the other end if you’re not sure what to take.”

Most agree that UR is behind the curve when it comes to registration. “It seems like it will save a lot of hassle,” freshman Elizabeth Morrisey said. “When I got here, I was surprised that UR didn’t have online registration before.”

Senior Sean Croston agrees that UR’s implementation of an online system is overdue.'”Other schools have had this for a while, so I think it’s about time,” he said.

Speck believes that online registration will be a success.””When students interact with any type of administrative system, we want it to be as easy and user-friendly as possible,” she said. “It is our hope that students will still get all the service they need without having to stand in line for hours.”

Taylor can be reached at ktaylor@campustimes.org.



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