At the end of the registration period, the words Wolverine
Access have many students on campus cringing. “I hate it so
much,” Music junior Julia Bochnowski said. “It took me
an hour and a half to register. I am really just frustrated, and I
don’t understand why they would harm people’s ability
to register.”

The Michigan Daily voted the website, updated this semester
because of the University’s contract with the software
company, PeopleSoft, the worst of the University’s websites,
a fact that was daunting to Michigan Administration Information
Services spokeswoman Linda Hancock Green. However, Green
understands the students’ difficulty adjusting to the new
system because she has seen similar situations in the past.

“When we rolled out Wolverine Access in June of 2000,
students were not very happy with it then either,” she said.
The same was true when the University implemented the phone-based
CRISP system in 1975. “I’m really sorry the students
are unhappy with the change, but I’m also fairly confident
that they’ll get used to it.”

Currently, MAIS is collecting feedback about the system in an
attempt to make the website work well, Green said. Academic
advising is also communicating with MAIS about its concerns for
students and staff.

Performance issues are the biggest concern, said Philip Gorman,
associate director of LSA Academic Advising Center. For example, he
mentioned that a student was unable to sign on to backpack classes
because of inconsistent ability to connect to the website.
Additionally, “Some students don’t like the new
interface as much,” Gorman added. “But part of that is
getting used to a new look.”

“The layout is pretty ugly,” LSA junior Melissa
Solarz said. She has had few problems with the system itself but
wishes it were more aesthetically pleasing.

“I like the interface,” LSA junior Lenny Bronshteyn
commented. “But it isn’t as easy to find the things
you’re looking for,” he said, in reference to the new
main menu that presents a list of links for viewing various
information.

This differs from the side navigation bar, a feature students
liked about the old system, said Green. The new menu is part of the
PeopleSoft format, she explained.

Several students have complained about difficulty searching for
classes. LSA freshman Jeff Hicks commented, “It sucks. You
can’t even find any of the classes. Now it says there are too
many results.”

The PeopleSoft software only allows 200 search results per
query. “We recognize that students are unhappy with it, and
we are analyzing our ability to redesign that search
functionality,” Green stated.

“What you see now is all sections of all the
courses,” Gorman said. “That isn’t pedagogically
very sound, and it is not the way advisors and students think about
classes. It is not a good interface for an academic
community.”

While few students expressed excitement about the changes, not
everyone on campus is unhappy with the website. “I think
it’s just as easy as the other one,” remarked
Engineering freshman Eric Royston who used the old system for one
term.

“I don’t know what the big controversy is,”
LSA junior Greg Kreiling said. “I don’t think
it’s hard to figure out.”

Though she can see significant changes, LSA junior Velma
Hutchins believes the upgrade is “not really a problem
(because) the labeling is really self-explanatory.”

According to the Registrar’s Office, nearly the same
number of people signed on and registered for classes this term as
in the past. However, these data do not include failed attempts,
Gorman explained. “It doesn’t record how many times a
student tries to get on but can’t get on, or pushes a button
and waits for five minutes.” He stresses the importance of
student feedback in conveying the frustrations that statistics
cannot express.

Unfortunately for aggravated students like Hicks who wish the
University could go back to the old system, the new version of this
website is here to stay. “We had no choice,” Gorman
said. “We had to upgrade.”

MAIS is interested in student opinions about the website and is
constantly working on the database of information behind Wolverine
Access. However, while the University is tweaking the system,
“Fundamentally, (the new Wolverine Access) is not going to
change that much,” Green noted.

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