Continuing problems with the Wolverine Access online registration system caused hundreds of seniors to line up outside the Registrar”s Office yesterday to register for winter semester classes in person for the first time since 1994.
“It”s stupid that we are forced to skip classes to register for classes,” said LSA senior Lisa Powell.
Students complained last year that Wolverine Access was slower than the old telephone registration system, which was disconnected last year, but in the first days of winter class registration this week, 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 Art and Design senior Lori Hoffmann. “I guess I was lucky.”
When the problems with the system that surfaced Monday persisted yesterday, 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 last 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 yesterday than Monday, 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 last night. If all goes well today, the backpack is expected to become available again tomorrow.
In order to catch up and to maintain fairness, the Registrar”s Office has postponed all student registration dates by two weekdays, meaning that appointments originally scheduled for tomorrow will be rescheduled for Monday.
Briske said the technical difficulties that arose this week 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,” said Business senior Sara Kwiecien.
Prior to last fall, students used a touch-tone system called CRISP to register for classes. LSA 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 Monday, 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. yesterday, 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 said 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.”