Monday’s Wolverine Access shutdown
served to remind students how crucial the service is to campus. It
also brought to light some serious problems that face the website.
Fortunately, technicians were able to repair the site and have it
back up within 48 hours.
This latest problem represents only one of the problems
Wolverine Access users face. The website is often offline, and many
students find the interface unfriendly. In response to comments and
suggestions, the University is unveiling a revamped Wolverine
Access this February. However, even though this new Wolverine
Access will be noticeably different, the changes may not be enough,
and students should speak out to further improve the website.
Many functions will remain unchanged; a majority of them will be
essentially cosmetic. The problems with Wolverine Access are not in
its appearance, and there are more effective changes that need to
More unfortunate is that one of the proposed changes might
actually be counterproductive. Currently, the website is set up so
that students can backpack a class and then register for it on the
same page. The new design will create two separate pages for
backpack and registration, which will make the process more
complicated and more of a hassle for students.
One improvement that would truly help students would be to link
Wolverine Access to college course guides. When creating a
schedule, a student must alternate between two windows: one for
Wolverine Access, and one for a course guide that has crucial
course information. Integrating the guides, backpack and
registration pages would be convenient for students. It would also
be beneficial to link Wolverine Access and Michigan Student
Assembly course evaluations. In the end, these changes would enable
students to search for classes, research content, receive feedback
and register on the same page.
Students also find the site’s hours inconvenient. During
times of heavy usage, such as during the beginning of the semester,
hours should be extended to account for increased usage. If the
University needs to offset the costs of increasing peak-time
availability, it can reduce hours during the middle of the
semester. These smarter hours will be helpful for students, while
allowing the University to continue minimizing costs.
As a final service to students, Wolverine Access administrators
could make more use of the “front page.” This page,
which appears right after log-in, is basically blank. This page
could be used to provide timely reminders for important dates, such
as the various drop and add deadlines. Placing these important
reminders would not take much effort and would be valuable for
The upcoming changes, however, are off the mark. Many of them
fail to address important grievances, and others seem
counterproductive. If the University seriously wants to improve
Wolverine Access for students, it should consider implementing
substantive changes that yield serious benefits.