2/08/2013 Chris Karlesky

Students Test New System for Course Registration, Provide Feedback

Franklin & Marshall students have taken the College's new course-registration system out for a test drive, providing key feedback to administrators who are preparing for the system's launch in April.

Thirty students participated in "mock" course registrations Jan. 28 and 29 in F&M's Harris Center for Business Government & Public Policy, testing a streamlined system that provides real-time access to course availability. The new system is 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, a leader of the Project BOOST implementation team, said the students provided helpful input during the mock registrations.

"I'm very pleased with how engaged the students were, and how seriously they took it," said Alexander, who invited randomly selected groups of students to participate in the mock registration. "We provided different scenarios to the students and received detailed feedback on everything we wanted to test. We're using the students' input to help improve the process."

Under the former system for course registration, a complex algorithm organized academic schedules and did not release them to students for two weeks. 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 immediately choose alternates -- and avoid standing in long lines to make changes to their schedules.

F&M student Keiran Miller '15, who participated in the mock registration, said he enjoyed the instant feedback the new system provides.

"I had to wait in line to register for a course during my first year at F&M," Miller said. "This system will make registration so much easier."

Students and faculty members will access the new course-registration 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.

"After we signed into Inside F&M, we could see the courses each department was offering," Miller said of the mock registration. "You can put yourself on waiting lists, which was very cool. You can also check for time conflicts. After you get used to it, it's very simple."

Angela Kahugu '14 also found the system easy to use.

"This system [will] make it much less nervewracking for students," Kahugu said. "You won't have to wait days to know if you got into your preferred classes, or have to queue outside the registrar's office to get into the class you want or need."

F&M's student-faculty advising process will remain the same in the new system, Alexander said. Students will still plan their course schedules during one-on-one meetings with their academic advisers and receive codes to register online.

Alexander said the Project BOOST implementation team would offer a demonstration on the new system for faculty members in the coming weeks.

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