Online registration successful

Doris Kim

For the first time in Lawrence history, students have been able to schedule their classes on the Internet. The long-awaited system is finally available this term for classes in the 2005-2006 school year. With little problems in the transition, students, faculty, and the Registrar’s office have responded very positively to the change in the class registration process.
The idea of implementing web registration at Lawrence first came from students. Many students believed that the paperwork used in the Registrar’s Office was unnecessarily time-consuming and outdated, considering that many colleges have successfully taken advantage of the Internet for a faster and easier registration process. At Lawrence, it was not unusual to see a long line of students waiting outside Brokaw in the early mornings of registration week just to turn in their forms.
With over 1,000 students who need to register for classes, and only a handful of staff workers in the Registrar’s Office, the process was not very efficient. Waitlists were especially inconvenient. When choosing classes, it was difficult to know exactly how many spots were open in limited-enrollment classes. Students who anxiously waited in line, only to be put on a bottom of a long wait list, would then have to wait in another line to sign up for a substitute class. And this was only after taking the time to track down elusive professors for signatures. Given these frustrations, the Registrar’s Office agreed that online registration would be a more efficient way to accommodate students.
Anne Norman, the school registrar, has collaborated with student, staff, and faculty committees to plan the new system. Due to concerns about the reliability of the registration technology and worries of a system overload, students were divided over a schedule of “time tickets.” Because there are not many students online at a given time, the network has tended to be stable.
The Registrar’s Office is highly confident of the new system, but there is always a possibility of complications when relying on the Internet. As of press time, the network has been down once. The problem was reportedly solved in 15 minutes.
“Just like with anything else, there are potential complications in relying on technology,” said Norman. “If there was a virus on a student’s computer, it could shut the network down and hold up the entire campus.”
Reducing the registration process to a few mouse-clicks seems deceptively easy compared to the old method. Though web registration poses a much more complicated job for the registrar’s staff, professors and students alike spent dramatically less time on registration.
Norman added, “Some students were afraid. But only until they discovered how easy it was. We have a good, solid system that is more immediate and visible for the students to sign up for classes or get rid of classes they no longer want. It gives students more control.