I am so frustrated with GOLD that I thought I’d write to the Nexus and make a few suggestions. I think I speak for most students when I say that GOLD needs some major revision and modernization.
1) Why doesn’t the system have a class planner? I hate having to look through the fall schedule of classes and the general catalogue when I sign up for classes. I hate having to write the classes down even more. Several other UC’s have systems in which students may plan out theoretical schedules. Having to do it by hand makes you miss little things, such as schedule conflicts. You don’t discover these until you’re signing up for classes and the system informs you. Why can’t it just do that beforehand in a class planner? In the awful case that there is a problem that you don’t discover until your pass time, you have just 15 minutes to find a solution before your time is up. That brings me to something else that could use some work: the time limits.
2) Why do I get signed out of the system every four minutes? Searching for classes is hard. Sometimes you have to look at something else for more than a few minutes. Is this feature for security purposes? If so, I’d like to say that the security could be improved by having a secure server instead. Even my bank lets me stay on its site for longer. Is this feature because the system simply can’t tolerate too many users, and the log out cuts down on the number of people logged on at one time? If that is the case, GOLD needs to take a page out of the Umail system’s book. In stark contrast to GOLD, Umail is highly reliable.
3) There should be more information presented. Is there a reason why I cannot see prerequisites for classes, class descriptions and whether or not a class is offered during a future quarter on the GOLD system? The general catalogue and the schedule of classes could be done away with so easily. Not only would this save paper, it would also save everyone the trouble of searching for the information on Google or going to the UCen to buy the paper versions of the catalogue and schedule.
4) The System is poorly laid out. This is nit-picking, but why does GOLD look like it was designed by a seventh grader trying to make his first webpage? I expect more from a website associated with the world-class image UCSB is so intent on projecting. The design makes it hard to find data. An example is when a student searches for the class code of a certain department. Did you know that sports classes are under “ESS 1-“? If you don’t type it perfectly, with the dash at the end and everything, you can’t find it. The system makes no suggestions about where you went wrong. Even the search feature is useless – my first instinct was to search for “sports.”
5) The system retains old and irrelevant data. I actually ended up planning out my entire schedule based on information from last winter instead of this winter because I typed “W05” instead of “W06.” I admit it was a stupid mistake on my part, but I can’t begin to say what headaches that caused, especially because I was on a 15 minute timer when I realized my mistake. Why doesn’t the system delete old class information, or at least warn you that you are searching a past quarter?
6) Why is GOLD not integrated with BARC? This would make it much handier to pay online. Shouldn’t UCSB’s online academic systems be consolidated?
In summary, GOLD should be a comprehensive system of managing your entire schedule online. Instead it is designed as a makeshift companion to the paper catalogues that have no doubt been in use since the earliest days of UCSB. I suggest GOLD’s administrators gather together a panel of students to make recommendations, consult the student body at large and then hire a web designer to make the changes. Honestly, it can’t be that hard. If there’s a problem finding someone to do the work, I know some seventh graders who are good at that sort of thing.
Aria Miran is an undeclared second-year at UCSB.