Continuing problems with the Wolverine Access online registration system caused hundreds of seniors to line up outside the Registrar’s Office Nov. 27 to register for winter semester classes in person for the first time since 1994.

Paul Wong
Administrative assistant Peggy Staple-Guevara helps former senior Amy Sills register for classes as graduated seniors David DiCamillo and Leigh Callander look on. (YENA RYU/Daily)

“It’s stupid that we are forced to skip classes to register for classes,” graduated LSA senior Lisa Powell said.

Students complained in 2000-2001 school year that Wolverine Access was slower than the old telephone registration system, which was disconnected two years ago, but in the first days of the 2002 winter class registration, the online system has prevented thousands of students from registering. The system has been slower than usual and has shut down on them often.

“I tried for four hours; I only got three classes registered,” said graduated senior Lori Hoffmann. “I guess I was lucky.”

When the problems with the system that surfaced Nov. 26 persisted the following day, the Registrar’s Office began allowing students to register in person at the LSA Building and the Media Union on North Campus. There, students were signed in and given a number, and many waited hours for their numbers to be called.

Out of 6,248 students who were allowed to register by the first night night, only 2,945 had their schedules processed, said Associate University Registrar Kortney Briske. Even with in-person registration, fewer students were able to register Nov. 27 than Nov. 26, when 1,832 students out of 3,000 scheduled appointments were able to access the system through Wolverine Access.

The error was finally detected and fixed, and Wolverine Access reopened just for scheduling. The backpack option was later added. In order to catch up and to maintain fairness, the Registrar’s Office postponed all student registration dates by two weekdays.

Briske said the technical difficulties that arose came as a surprise.

“We spent thousands of dollars testing the system, but sometimes it is difficult to replicate the loads of registration that occur,” he said.

However, many students who were forced to wait a long time at the Registrar’s Office said the website and the University were disorganized and unprepared for registration.

“Being a world-renowned university, they should know the type of technology it takes to register thousands of students for classes,” Business senior Sara Kwiecien said.

Prior to Fall 2000, students used a touch-tone system called CRISP to register for classes. Graduated senior Monifa Gray said Wolverine Access, which was recently revamped to include a “backpack” pre-registration option, is disorganized and repeatedly freezes. She said that with CRISP if students got disconnected, they could always call back and pick up where they left off.

“The disadvantages of Wolverine Access outweigh its advantages,” Gray said.

The backpack feature allows students to search for classes on the system before their registration dates and to set up their schedules. After problems began Nov. 26, the backpack was restricted to only those whose registration time had passed. Briske said the problems did not have to do with the backpack, but rather an error in the database.

At around 1 p.m. Nov. 27, staff members from the Registrar’s Office began sitting down with students and registering them by computer directly into the registration system. Yet, the system’s speed continued to deteriorate throughout the afternoon until it was eventually taking as long as 20 minutes to register a single class. At around 4 p.m., the Registrar’s Office shut down Wolverine Access to fix the problem and asked all students who were still waiting to fill out cards with their requested classes.

Prior to 1994, when touch-tone CRISP was introduced, the Registrar’s Office set up space in Angell Hall to accommodate hundreds of students coming in every day to pick classes – a stark contrast to the scene of disorganization at the Registrar’s Office yesterday, when students filled every corner of the main lobby in the LSA Building.

“We used to be equipped 10 years ago to handle this, but we are not anymore,” Briske said. Briske added that despite the crowds and loud complaints of some students, “for the most part, students were supportive, and understood that this dilemma was harder on us than it was on them.”

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