Students may have noticed the new look of the registration portal on the my.fordham.edu website. The Office of Academic Records (OAR) has launched an updated system for searching, adding and dropping classes that aims to improve the efficiency of the registration process in upcoming semesters, according to Dr. Gene Fein, assistant vice president for academic records and services and chair of the academic records committee.
The update’s implementation was a result of the collaborative effort between OAR, Fordham Information Technology (IT) and the deans’ offices, all of which are represented in the Academic Records Committee.
The update is the newest version of software from Banner, a company that provides software for various administrative, student information systems and registration portals, which Fordham has been using since 2009.
The new system includes several new features, such as a “Plan Ahead” function, with which students can prepare different schedules and visualize them before registering.
Using this feature, Fein explained, students can add as many courses as they wish and come registration, can simply register right off of their plan, adding all of the courses at once or individually. This eliminates the stress of punching in course registration numbers (CRNs), as well as the often inevitable scrambling to replace closed courses the morning of registration.
Fein said that the Plan Ahead feature is still developing, and there may be glitches to work out. He noted that the OAR is reaching out to Banner to “improve the process before students register.”
This version of the software is the newest available, and Banner has been beta-testing it at various institutions over the past few years. At Fordham, faculty have been using the newest grading software for about a year, which came out first, according to Fein.
“We were waiting until all the beta testing from the other universities around the country finished,” Fein said. “That ended about a year ago.”
[quote_center]Dean Desciak, assistant dean for freshmen at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), noted that making the system fairer, stronger, less likely to crash, more efficient, and more accessible to all students regardless of location was a top priority.[/quote_center]
According to Fein, the upgraded system was piloted this past fall by the OAR during registration for the current (spring 2016) semester. Roughly a thousand students, chosen from each of the University’s colleges at all three campuses, used the new software to register, and “it went off without a hitch,” Fein said. “We did not receive any complaints.”
Dean Desciak, assistant dean for freshmen at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), noted that making the system fairer, stronger, less likely to crash, more efficient, and more accessible to all students regardless of location was a top priority.
“There are all kinds of neat little tricks that are supposed to come out of this—they’re just not up and active yet, which, as a non-tech guy, I could be frustrated about,” Desciak said.
Among these pending “neat little tricks” are the previously mentioned Plan Ahead feature and a wait list mechanism. “If there’s a closed class, you could just put your name on the list and then when somebody drops out, you fill right in,” Desciak said. This feature is not yet available.
A feature that has yet to be successfully implemented is the ability to view the syllabus of a course before registration. Desciak said, “That’s tricky because with some classes, we know that there’s a section, but we’re not quite sure who’s going to be teaching it.” He still believes the feature will be implemented at some point, just not quite yet.
Desciak advises all students to familiarize themselves with the new system prior to registration, as it differs from the previous one considerably. “I think it’s fairly user-friendly, but it takes a minute to orient [oneself].”
He also advises students not to panic, to make sure they are prepared with backup schedules and to register as soon as their times open up. “Nothing is actually written in stone, but it’s important to be timely as well to have multiple schedules,” he said.
Desciak has high hopes for the new software. “Inevitably, there will be things to iron out as this registration period unfold but I still say this is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Fein advises students to look at the instructions about the updated software, which can be found in both PDF and PowerPoint form above the link to the registration portal on my.fordham.edu, before registration and to reach out to Fordham’s IT Customer Care or email the OAR for help at [email protected] He also encourages students to email the OAR their feedback regarding the new software to the OAR.
“Fordham is one of the first universities in the country that is fully implementing [the new software], outside of the beta testing schools, so we’re ahead of the curve on that,” Fein said.
The Observer conducted a poll (click below) to gauge how Fordham students feel about the new system. Results showed that the majority of respondents find that the software update is easier to read, easier to search for classes and say that it is an overall improvement for the system.
Lydia Benner, FCLC ‘19, said, “I’m not really sure why we got the new system, but I hope it will be a faster registration process when we sign up for classes. The old system froze up so much and it was really frustrating when you and hundreds of other classmates were trying to get into the class you wanted.”
“With time and experience I believe that we will get used to the new system,” Demetrios Stratis, FCLC ‘19, said.
Other students do not view the update as an improvement.
“I think, compared to the last system, it’s very confusing,” Katie Stanovick, FCLC ’18, said. Stanovick was frustrated by the fact that she was unable to find certain English classes that she knew are being offered. “I don’t like the format, and it’s a lot slower.”
Jordan Almodovar, FCLC ’18, also noted the slowness of the system, particularly the Plan Ahead feature. Though he found the update more “visually appealing,” he said it is “harder to navigate because we’ve had no experience with it.”
Tess Fahey, FCLC ’16, said that she felt the updated software was “more difficult to use.” She pointed out that the update cuts off the full CRNs and names of professors, which makes the process of searching much more time consuming.
Conversely, both Alexa Reidenauer, FCLC ’19, and Rachele Perla, FCLC ’19, dance majors who completed their registration earlier this week, agreed that with the update, the registration process was “much easier.”
Reidenauer praised the fact that CRNs are no longer needed, saying it made searching for classes faster. Perla noted the effectiveness of the Plan Ahead feature.
This is the first semester that the update will be in use for registration university-wide.