Just as the leaves have changed over a brisk fall season, so will Temple students’ classes in preparation for the upcoming Spring 2004 semester.
Having my first taste of what Diamond Line, an automated phone system for touchtone registration, and OwlNet, its Internet-based complement, were all about, I must say that I was overwhelmed with discouragement and was left feeling like there is a lack of respect for students. I will be honest: I had fears prior to the entire process.
Upperclassmen warned me of the perils online registration may pose, while others directed me to stay clear of the phone service.
Although each offered a variety of class choices at my fingertips, I remained a bit wary, but confident that I would select my classes with ease. I missed out on both because of the never-ending busy signals and constant refreshing of the Web page.
My sections, class times and prerequisites were all laid out before me like my tuxedo on my bed on the night of the prom. And like my expectations of a fun-filled night, which were dashed to smithereens by my best friend swooping in on my date, Temple University’s class registration had a similarly upsetting effect. Just like prom night, OwlNet not only left me feeling betrayed, but violated.
It’s depressing when one’s future largely depends on one night of frustrating calls that seemingly go nowhere and endless mouse clicking that verifies the site’s worthlessness.
This proves to be especially painful when students punch in their social security and PIN numbers only to be cut off, leaving you to wonder where that information traveled to and who can obtain it.
So what must Temple do now?
With clearly ineffective means for registration and a larger-than-usual freshman class that made the process seemingly more difficult, the two available mediums could use improvement.
Temple needs a backup plan. My suggestion: Provide more lines for telephone users or at least permit more phone calls per student. I know for a fact that being cut off the line should never constitute a completed phone call. And while nine calls seem like a lot, when one’s calls run out, so do one’s options for next semester.
Another suggestion, this one in favor of the Internet-savvy student, would be to create an alternate Web page for online registration. The overflow of students to use OwlNet depletes the registration-hungry students’ choices, leaving few to no options at all. A different site would cut down on overflow and make for a much easier process altogether.
For the senior who needs core classes to graduate on time, I feel your pain. For the freshman with zero credits to his record and having to choose last, I’ve been there.
And for the student with little tolerance for this system, I wholeheartedly understand that change is dire to this school’s future as a successful institution.
Christopher A. Vito can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.