Students encounter few glitches registering online for spring

Amy Horst

As University students began registering for classes this week, some encountered minor problems – but far fewer than in past years, according to information technology officials.

At the Law School, many students were unable to log in for registration because of scheduled downtime and problems getting up-to-date course information over the weekend.

Registration for law students was originally supposed to end at midnight Sunday but was extended to midnight Monday.

This semester is the second time law students have used electronic registration, said Paula Swanson, who works with student personnel at the law school.

Scott Ruud, deputy information officer at the Office of Information Technology, said many at the Law School might have been unaware that the registration system would be down for maintenance. He said that is probably because the Law School has not been using the system as long as other colleges.

Swanson said she decided to extend registration on Sunday. She made the decision after receiving e-mails from students having difficulty registering.

As law students took advantage of their extra registration time Monday, other University students experienced slightly slower log-in times for registration, WebCT and e-mail services.

Frank Grewe, manager of Internet services with the Office of Information Technology, said there was a slowdown for students logging into University services from about 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Monday caused by a shortage of servers at Directory Services.

Directory Services verifies that students logging into a particular University service, such as a computer lab, are authorized to use that service.

At the time of the slowdown, Directory Services had three servers handling student logins. Once the problem occurred, it dedicated three more recently purchased servers to handling logins.

“We were just a hair across the line,” Grewe said. “With servers, instead of performance dropping off gradually, it just drops off.”

During the hour of the slowdown, about 50,000 users logged in to Web-based University services. Most students experienced a one- to two-second delay when logging on.

They do not include people dialing into modem pools or wireless Internet services offered by the University.

With the exception of Sept. 4, when an e-mail virus slowed delivery of e-mails and other University services, the University has not experienced any other computer problems this school year, Grewe said.

Registration was more difficult for some students because of the absence of paper course guides; the guides are only available online.

Jeff Adams an anthropology graduate student, said he is disappointed the course guides are only available on the Internet.

“I prefer to have it on paper,” he said. “That way I can take it on the bus, take it home and take it wherever I go.”

Adams said the University should let students order paper versions of the course guide so students who want them can have them but the University will not be wasting paper.

Luke Werner, a third-year Institute of Technology student, agreed and said he keeps a copy of the old course guide to refer to so that he does not have to deal with the Internet version.