The frog lives … for now.
The frog is the mascot of the Registration By Telephone system, or RBT – pronounced “ribbit.” The 11-year-old telephone system is being pushed aside for a newer, computerized registration process. More and more students are relying on the Gaucho Online Data (GOLD) system to schedule classes, check grades and order transcripts. By the end of the year, the frog may croak.
“Both systems are for the use of the students, but students just prefer to have the Web,” Associate Registrar Virginia Johns said. “It’s easier to see things visually.”
The only two registration options that are not yet offered on GOLD are declaration of candidacy and commencement registration. RBT will only be offered this year until those options are added to GOLD, Program Analyst Jennifer James said.
The popular “to hear a frog croak, press four” option is also not included in the GOLD version.
Fred Tarazi, a senior math major, said GOLD alone will not meet all students’ needs.
“There are a lot of people who check [GOLD] the day before classes and it’s always too crowded,” Tarazi said. “The phone option should be kept as a backup service.”
There will not be any sort of backup system provided if GOLD goes down or becomes too crowded, because there was never a backup source for RBT, James said.
RBT usage has dropped 80 percent in the last two years, and only 24 phone lines are now available, down from the original 48 established in 1991. Before 1991, students stood, and sometimes camped out in long lines in the UCen to register with registration staff. Syntellect, RBT’s equipment provider, no longer offers the specific equipment that sustains the system and replacing parts is inconvenient and expensive.
“RBT is getting less reasonable to keep,” James said. “The Web is the wave of the future.”
UC Los Angeles also offered both registration options until July 31, when the telephone registration volume was at 5 percent of students. Now, they are exclusively using the online system.
UCLA Associate Registrar Anita Cotter said the online system is more convenient for students and staff.
“It’s the first day of school. There are no lines at the Registrar’s, at Financial Aid,” Cotter said. “The computer center is saving money because they don’t have to pay for maintenance.”
Cotter said the new Internet registration systems differ from school to school, but basically the theory is to keep registration revolutionized and updated.
“Many cell phones will soon be web-enabled,” Cotter said. “That will be the next demand. Students will want to access the Web through cell phones.”