1/11/2013 Chris Karlesky

Project BOOST Eases Course Registration for F&M Students

A new system for course registration at Franklin & Marshall College will soon ease the process for F&M students -- and make long lines outside the registrar's office a thing of the past.

During the spring semester, students will make their course selections for next fall using a streamlined system that will provide real-time access to course availability and eliminate paperwork related to course changes. Students and faculty members will access the new system through Inside F&M, a Web portal that launched Dec. 14 to upgrade the way F&M delivers information about initiatives, news and operations to the campus community.

The new course-registration system and Inside F&M are part of Project BOOST, F&M's Enterprise Resource Planning Project that launched in January 2012 to upgrade software systems managing student and academic information, human resources, finances and admission.

College Registrar and Associate Director of Institutional Research Chris Alexander said the faculty-student advising process would remain the same in the new system, with the added benefit of real-time access to course information online.

"The core of our registration process at F&M has always been the academic planning between students and professors," said Alexander, a leader of the Project BOOST implementation team. "That one-on-one planning is a key to who we are, and how students move through the curriculum at F&M."

Students will still receive codes from their academic advisers to register online, Alexander said. The system will check prerequisites to ensure students are eligible to take the classes they choose.

Under the former system for course registration, a complex algorithm organized academic schedules and included a two-week period before schedules were released to students. Alexander said the new system gives students immediate feedback on whether they are enrolled in their first choices for courses. In the event students do not receive their first choices, the system allows them to choose alternates right away -- and avoid standing in long lines to make changes to their schedules.

"Students will have the ability to do more on their own," Alexander said. "There are fewer pieces of paper for the registrar's office, and a more efficient flow to the entire process."

The Project BOOST implementation team will offer mock course-registration sessions later this month to gather suggestions for improvement from students and faculty members before the system goes live in March.

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