SIS receives mixed reviews after debut

Design team will respond to issues, revise course-search feature by end of next week

Since course registration advising sessions began this week, both students and professors have continued to react positively and negatively to the new Student Information System and its features.

History department Chair Duane Osheim said while he finds SIS to be a better overall course registration system than ISIS, it also can be more complex to use.

“It’s a system that I don’t think works very well for students trying to find what courses are available,” he said. Osheim added that University members in almost every department “have to know each one of the abbreviations before you could find out what courses are being offered,” which could pose problems for both students and advisers.

In response to complaints about SIS’ course-searching feature, Carole Horwitz, communications manager for the Student System Project, said the University is redesigning the function to allow students and faculty to search for classes by department. She said she hopes the new course-search function will go into effect next week.

While some areas of student and professor concern are being addressed, the new system’s other complexities are being explored by users.

“I think a lot of people are not going to know what to do,” third-year College student Alyssa Brown said, adding that she would not have understood the new course registration process if she had not attended an SIS information session. She said she believes if a student explored the site for the first time during his or her registration block, it could take an hour or so to fully understand the system, which could hurt a student’s chances of getting into his preferred classes.

Second-year College student Philip Perkinson, who also attended a help session, noted that using SIS is “a little rough at first but [it’s] actually better because you can search more specifically for things.” Perkinson added that the SIS Web site describes requirements well and said the catalogue is much cleaner than the previous system.

Also among SIS’ potentially beneficial new features is the enrollment request process, Horwitz said.

Registration and Records Team Lead Robert LeHeup noted that between 600 and 700 students already have begun identifying classes they want to take next fall semester through the new feature, which allows students to identify which courses they would like to take before actual registration opens.

Though various students and advisers have noted some difficulties in adapting to the new interface, Jessica Feldman, English professor and director of undergraduate studies, said she expects users to quickly start picking up how best to make use of the extra or modified features.

“On the whole people are reacting positively to it,” she said. “My guess is that within a couple of weeks we’ll all be much more at ease with it.”

Looking ahead to early April’s course enrollment period and the potential for further student and professor concerns during that time, the University is looking to proactively address issues. Already, Horwitz said, the new system does not allow students to register Tuesday or Thursday during the class registration period because the Student System Project team “thought it a lot safer to schedule it so that there’s time to react to any issues that may arise,” Horwitz said. She also said, however, that she does not anticipate any significant problems.

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