New registration system problematic for some

Every student remembers the dread of registering for classes for the first time. Registration involves a chaotic confluence of factors and more than a few compromises: making sure there are no conflicts, satisfying enough core and major requirements, striking a balance between interesting and challenging, and, of course, praying that the one class you want to get into isn’t full when it’s your turn.

Juggling these factors can be the source of a lot of anxiety; students cling to every bit of familiarity possible. So when the University rolled out its new registration program, PeopleSoft, this semester, reception varied wildly from students and professors alike.

Professor John Wesley of the English department explained that one of the most difficult parts of working with PeopleSoft was the unintuitive navigation and accessibility of the program.

“I’m getting the hang of it,” Wesley said. “It’s not the horror show I had expected based on reports, but it can be frustrating, even with respect to features I consider an improvement on Cascade.”

The University offered training for all faculty, and students were able to work with staff in the library during registration to make sure the process went smoothly. But for some people the confusing and circuitous navigation of the program was too difficult to memorize.

One of the more irritating problems that exists with the new software is that it is not currently operating at its maximum functionality. Some options that PeopleSoft offers such as the Degree Progress Report and Degree Requirements have not yet been adopted by the University.

Those pieces of information integral to the registration process must still be accessed via Cascade, which is only a minor inconvenience, but nevertheless demonstrates a disconnect between the users and the program that can make the already stressful process more complicated.

“The vast majority of my advisees reported frustration with the program,” Wesley said. “The only positive remarks I’ve heard had to do with the shopping cart function.”

In fact, the shopping cart function seems to be a remarkable improvement that PeopleSoft brings to the table. It streamlines the actual moment of registration, assuring that students don’t have to scramble for their classes, prioritizing one over the other lest their most desirable class fill up in the minute it took for them to sign up for another one.

“I loved it,” junior Corinn Hillstrom said. “It took me one minute to sign in and register for all of my classes. It was so much easier than finding each class individually in Cascade.”

This was the experience of many upperclassmen with high priority registration, where there was no danger of classes in their shopping cart filling up before their registration period.

However, students with lower priority suffered from significant issues when one of the classes in their shopping cart was full. The waitlist function, which presented itself intuitively in Cascade, is more challenging in PeopleSoft.

The primary difficulty with the waitlist lies in the fact that classes do not appear on the list of available classes once they are full unless the program is specifically directed to display them. Ultimately, this is nothing but a misguided attempt to be helpful.

PeopleSoft is not just a registration program, though. The University has also switched finances to PeopleSoft, and this function has generated more tension.

“While PeopleSoft makes adding hours a little more intuitive,” one student explained, “it frustratingly does not show a lot of my financial information.”

The software has not yet been fully integrated, and so many people beset with the difficult task of managing funds for clubs or organizations have had a hard time adjusting to the new software.

Many people who work on campus have reported similar programs, between difficulty clocking in and PeopleSoft falsely flagging students when they are near their maximum number of hours for the semester.

Overall, most people seem to appreciate the necessity and value of PeopleSoft, but the initial reception to the program has been rocky. Due to a lack of integrated functionality and the campus population’s normal hesitation toward change, we can expect that later generations of students will come to love PeopleSoft in the same way the previous ones loved Cascade.