Registration system updated

By By Rob Tokanel, News Staff

Northeastern administration recently unveiled a new system for class registration intended to streamline the process for students and facilitate simpler administrative maintenance for faculty. But some faculty and students said they were befuddled by their first experiences.

The system, called Banner, goes into effect for Fall 2009 registration and is currently available for viewing on the myNEU portal.

Banner will allow students to search for classes in ways that were not possible using the old system; instead of consulting an immediate list of available classes, students search based on a series of criteria.

‘I really like the new system, because you can search depending on whether [a class] is with your major or what department it is, the times, the days or what order you want your classes in,’ said Student Government Association Vice President for Academic Affairs Michelle McNeilly, who attended several meetings regarding the implementation of the program.

Students can also base their searches on professors and the type of classes they want to take.

Freshman chemistry Major Angelika Faron said she found the system confusing and harder to work with than the listings on the registrar’s website.

‘Maybe they’re trying to make it more user friendly, but it’s not,’ she said.

Senior Vice President for Enrollment and Student Life Philomena Mantella said the school had been shopping for vendors of a new system for a long time, because a lot of components in Northeastern’s infrastructure, like the finance and student account systems, were outdated.

‘This project is one that’s been underway for a couple of years,’ she said. ‘Our current system is really of very old technology and very hard to make changes to. The Banner program is a subset of our larger replacement project.’

On Feb. 23, the school ran a mock registration that gave 300 students a chance to try the system for the first time. McNeilly said most of the students who have seen it so far have said they enjoyed it.

‘I got a lot of good feedback about it,’ she said. ‘People were very impressed with it, but it is different. Once people get used to it, it’s going to be a lot simpler.’

One of the major differences with the system is that students’ years and order of registration are determined by the number of credits they have accumulated, rather than the time they’ve been at the university. There are four levels to the credit system, which eliminates the middler year from the calculation. Mantella said students shouldn’t be worried about the change because it will have no bearing on their schedules or graduation dates.

‘When you count your terms at Northeastern, if you’re counting academic semesters, it’s the equivalent of four years,’ she said. ‘I don’t want people to try and focus on the fact that we’re changing something so middler year is going away.’

Assistant journalism professor Dan Kennedy attended a faculty training session for the new system yesterday and said the general consensus of the approximately 15 trainees was that the process was vexatious.

‘What was a little bit frustrating about the training is that, understandably, they didn’t want us experimenting on actual students, so they set up kind of a fake site and it didn’t seem to be working the way they had anticipated,’ he said.

Mantella said the system was still in the process of being perfected, but trial runs had been helping to work out issues and cater to some of the recommendations of those who had sampled it.

‘We still have things that will come up by virtue of more people getting on the system, but I think they helped us improve language and identify things like firewall issues,’ she said. ‘We fulfilled what we were hoping to do.’

Fall registration begins Tuesday, March 31. Students can check what time they are eligible to register in the myNEU portal.

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