Students returning from relaxing and tranquil winter terms expecting to register with ease and grace were in for a surprise on Tuesday.
Several students complained that they waited for 30 minutes to an hour and a half waiting to register for classes. It was even more annoying that classes were to begin the next day and many students had no idea what classes they could get.
The register program, technically known as OCVAXC, seemed to go into remission during the early and late afternoon. For many students, especially upperclassmen, this caused a frenzy.
"When you have like, 8 million other things to do, it s really frustrating to have to wait for your computer to start up," said junior Ernest Kovacs.
Other students complained that even if they were fortunate enough to get logged on, within just a few minutes, they were kicked out of the system.
Computer consultants, swamped with questions and complaints, handled every situation the same way. "OCVAXC does not have the capacity to handle so much activity at once," said Christopher Younkman, consultant senior.
"All of sudden there is an extraordinarily high level of users trying to access information at the same time. " said consultant first-year Gabe Carleton-Barnes
"It's all a matter of patience," said consultant senior Seth Grossman, "Whoever is responsible for scheduling registration should have known that all of this could not be handled in one day."
John Bucher, Director of Computing, and Katie Styer, analyst programmer, were both empathetic towards students in the registration predicament.
"OCVAXC is indeed a slower machine. It was purchased with the idea that the system would grow with the usage. However, as technology becomes more and more advanced it has become impossible to keep up. There was no way to gauge how much this program would be used," said Bucher.
Styer attributed the problem to the fact that registration on a workday makes it extremely difficult in terms of usage.
"Not only were the students trying all log in at the same time, but there were administrators from Financial Aid, the Registrar and Admissions in competition with the system."
Bucher adds that the college is working on replacing OCVAXC with OPUS. This will be a major administrative software system migration. This new system is set to be in place in 1999.
The new system will enable internet based registration via the world wide web.
Styer also commented that this registration period was supposed to be dedicated to students who wanted to utilize Add/Drop. Usage was expected to only be for minor changes to schedules set back in November.
"Instead, many students used this time to prepare their initial registration. This caused extra frenzy and made the time unproductive," said Styer.
Styer said, "OCVAXC works perfectly fine during the rest of the year. It's only during registration time that problems arise. It's a really good program."
"We would like to make the computing center more productive for students," said Bucher. "As far as availability of computers, if we added, say 20 computers, students would surely be happy during times like registration and finals."
"However, during the other weeks these computers would basically go unused. We would like to devise ways to get more productive use out of the computers that we do have," said Bucher.
Styer also added that as a helpful hint, students with CAN numbers "are already in the classes. There is no immediate need for them to log on. They can use the register program for the next two weeks."
Copyright © 1998, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 13, February 6, 1998
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