Advice Online, the Michigan Student Assembly website that posted course evaluations for classes and aided students in planning their class schedules, has been inaccessible to students for one academic year now.
Advice Online was dismantled last year due to several technical problems, MSA representatives said.
“We hope the site will be running again for students to register for summer and fall classes in 2005, but we aren’t sure when it will be finished,” said LSA sophomore Justin Paul, chair of MSA’s Communications Committee.
Paul said the site is unavailable because of several technical problems.
“The first main problem we had with Advice Online was that the site couldn’t hold any more information,” Paul said.
“The second problem was that it couldn’t take a large number of people accessing the information at one time. These issues haven’t been resolved yet.”
Paul said he is unable to comment at this time about when Advice Online will be back up and running but hopes that it will be soon.
Since it was put online in 1997, the website has tabulated results from previous course evaluations and median grades from each class. When it was functioning, many students used Advice Online to determine which courses and professors to take and which to avoid.
“Advice Online is a tremendous resource for students and advisors,” said Phil Gorman, associate director of LSA Academic Advising. “We hope MSA can work out their technical difficulties as quickly as possible.”
“The site is definitely beneficial for students when they are going to register,” Paul said. “It provides important information to students in deciding what classes to take.”
Paul added that the website’s year-long absence has been a problem for many students.
“Students feel like they don’t have as good a perspective on the teacher, workload, expected grade or the overall view of the course,” Paul said. “It’s hard to gauge what these things will be. Students have been eager for the website to be up and running.”
Paul said MSA’s webmaster, Judy Yu, is working on a reconstruction of the site. Yu was not available for comment.
Many students said that Advice Online, or a similar site, would be a helpful tool in the registration process.
“I wish that it was still around and I had known about it,” said LSA sophomore Andrew Kirchner.
“There aren’t many other good sites for rating professors. I know Michigan State has a good student-run site that everyone knows about which rates professors.”
In the absence of Advice Online, some students said they rely on their peers for advice on classes and professors.
“I pretty much just talked to upperclassmen I knew. The advisors didn’t offer too much advice, and I didn’t really know of any other resources,” Engineering freshman Lisa Schauman said.