This Monday, the registrar’s office shut down class registration for students with 92 or more credits following a technical issue. According to an email from the registrar, Banner, the new college’s new registration software, had technical requirements that made the servers crash.
Since no students with senior standing were able to register, the office chose to temporarily cease registration at 7:04 a.m., only four minutes after the servers went up. The registrar alloted themselves one day, until Tuesday, to resolve the technical problem and reboot the system.
This week’s occurrence is a bleak addition to the college’s already poor track record with registration. Biannual registration issues have become an on-campus trope, where students expect shortcomings and inefficiencies in the process year after year. The last two times Emerson students have geared up to register, last November and March respectively, the process became the subject of The Beacon’s weekly editorial cartoon.
It’s almost expected that twice a year, students will be unable to enter the registration database because of a system crash. If not, students’ registration pins fail to work as they should, or Duo Push slows to a glacial pace. Even last year, a handful of students had trouble logging into eCommon when registering, while a number of their peers were able to register for classes successfully at the same time.
We understand that registering 4,000 students for classes is a behemoth undertaking. The registrar has to account for the needs of students hurrying to secure a spot in their classes of choice. The college’s website can only process the commands of so many users rushing to type in their CRNs before another student takes up the slot they want. But there are thousands of higher education institutions in the country that encounter fewer registration issues than the ones we have become all too familiar with.
Why then are Emerson students subject to repeated issues with the registration process?
If this week was the first time the college fell short in terms of registration, we would be forgiving. But it’s incredibly problematic that the system fails students on one of the most important days in the semester year after year.
Additionally, Emerson needs to be able to handle registering our current students without taking on the added volume of several hundred new students from absorbing Marlboro College.
We know the college’s IT department worked to perfect this year’s system. The college even recently changed the software used for class registration to more adequately deal with the college’s technical needs. Regardless, the system still crashed this week, leaving hundreds of students baffled and angry.
Registration also starts around the most stressful time of the semester—sometime between midterms and finals when the holiday season is fast approaching. It’s an exciting and anxious time when students are looking into the future of their college careers. Repeated registration issues bring students undue stress on top of all that. It’s unfair for them to have to wake up at 7 a.m. only to find out they cannot get into the system.
Plus, most students need to get into specific classes to graduate on time. We start scouting for classes weeks before we log onto the server, talking to advisors, faculty, and students who have taken the classes we hope to weasel our way into. When the college’s straightforward registration process goes awry, it undermines students’ preparation and future plans.
Registration should be simple. It’s a process students are required to go through every semester, and so it is imperative that the college eliminate these glitches. We hope the fall 2020 registration process will be free of issues that add unnecessary stress to students’ lives. As the college updates its system, students should hold confidence, not apprehension, in the registration process.