U. evaluates WebReg’s cycle increases, network issues


Students have had their eyes trained on their computer screens longer than usual during the first few registration days for next semester — yet another impact felt on campus after Hurricane Sandy.

The storm pushed the registration period back one week because of missed class time, which required the registrar to make changes to the schedule and resulted in increased waiting times, said Ken Iuso, University registrar.

Iuso said his office decreased the number of registration days so that the period would not continue on past Thanksgiving.

As a result, more students were able to register in one night than they have during past registration periods.

Fei Luo, associate director of Student Services at the Office of Enterprise Systems and Services, said her office used data from past years to compare traffic counts to the spring 2013 registration cycle.

“We can see that the number has come up close to 50 percent compared to the previous cycle, so we know that this cycle’s problems are a little bit worse in terms of the user experience,” Luo said.

Iuso said student registration is monitored in real time.

Ellen Law, director of Information Technology for OESS, said her office identified and corrected a network configuration problem that caused some students registering Sunday night to wait from 30 minutes to an hour.

Law said the typical trying time for the Course Schedule Planner and WebReg is close to 15 minutes at the opening of a registration period.

“Once 15 minutes goes by, it’s pretty quick,” she said.

Law said the peak periods of registration are the most critical time frames.

Course Schedule Planner sees an increase in traffic of about 300 percent during registration periods, she said. WebReg sees an increase of nearly 1,000 percent.

Iuso said on Sunday night, students on the site added an average of 289 courses per minute during the first hour of registration.

Students on Monday night registered at a rate of 355 courses a minute, Iuso said.

Students registered on Wednesday night for nearly 7,000 courses within the first 10 minutes of registration, he said.

Law compared the student registration system to buying tickets from Ticketmaster.

“When a concert ticket goes on sale, everyone is going in at 8 o’clock when the site goes up,” she said.

But registering for classes is more complicated, Iuso said.

Law said as long as users are able to reserve a spot on the Ticketmaster website, they would be able to make a purchase. WebReg needs to confirm a student’s NetID, their current credit amount, whether the courses are still open and if a student meets the course prerequisites.

Law said she often relies on the students on the University Senate for recommendations on how to make the site more user-friendly.

Luo said the help desk formally logs student requests and assigns a staff member to a particular problem, allowing students to track the progress of their complaint.

Alison Beckett, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior, said she began attempting to register at 10 p.m. on Sunday and did not finish the process until 45 minutes later.

“I couldn’t even log in until 10:15,” Beckett said.

She said she had never spent so much time registering before Sunday night.

“Usually it takes a few minutes to get into the system ... but this time was definitely a lot worse,” she said.

Joseph Looney, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior with 116 credits, said he waited about 45 minutes to register Sunday night.

He said the longer wait was new for him as well.

“Registering with Course Schedule Planner is usually a breeze,” Looney said.

Jennifer Conover, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore who registered Wednesday night, said she did not have trouble loading Course Schedule Planner and registering for classes.


By Simon Galperin

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