Goodbye to registration lines?

Chris Chan

At the beginning of every term, a familiar ritual torments many Lawrence students. That ritual is the practice of standing (or in some cases, sitting or even lying down in order to catch some much-needed rest) in a long line in order to register for classes. On a particularly busy day, the line can reach from the front door of Brokaw to the steps of Ormsby. Many have suggested the proccess of online registration as a way to alleviate or eliminate this inconvienence.

Ms. Anne Norman, the Lawrence Registrar, and Mr. Stephen Hirby, Director of Administrative Information Management, answered questions about Lawrence instituting a system of online registration.

The Lawrence computer network is currently in the process of converting to the Banner system, a computer program that will greatly improve the efficiency of the Lawrence network.

“Our previous systems were based on technology that was nearly fifteen years old,” commented Hirby, “and some systems had not been upgraded to add functionality for a long time.”

The old system has rapidly become obsolete, and the sanctity of Lawrence data increasingly depends on a new system, much like that which Banner provides.

Banner will usher in Lawrence’s new system of online registration, although it will take some time. Norman explained that “student on-line registration is supplied as part of the Banner package that we purchased.”

After a few procedural revisions are made, Norman added, “we’ll assess how their process supports our registration rules and procedures, and what it will take to implement the service.”

Online registration would be a great asset to the Lawrence community, but in order for Lawrentians to receive the benefit of the process, the flawlessness of the new system has to be assured.

Hirby elaborated on this point by saying, “Since the components of Banner that support online registration are currently in a state of flux, we think now is not the time to try to tackle this project. We are monitoring the changes in Banner closely, however, and intend to take advantage of them as soon as we can. But we are not yet in a position to suggest a timeline.”

Norman concurred, saying, “It’s [Lawrence’s] intention to provide this service, but at this time we don’t have enough information on the product to determine when that might be.”

Lawrence will eventually adopt a program for online registration, but as Hirby pointed out, “In terms of whether on-line registration may replace our current system, I think we wouldn’t try to answer that question until we knew more about how online registration actually worked for us.”

Hirby then added that, should online registration be adopted, the current process would continue to be used as well, with the possibility of total conversion being left for a later date.