In order to lighten the load placed on the Gaucho On-line Data (GOLD) system during peak use, the Registrar’s office debuted a modernized version of the system over Winter Break that currently provides limited functionality, but will eventually replace the older system.

Dubbed “GOLD Lite,” the new website allows students to check schedule information, grades and provide feedback to the system’s designers. Acting Registrar Virginia Johns said GOLD Lite reflects the direction in which the entire system is headed.

“For a number of years we’ve been looking for an opportunity to rewrite the GOLD system,” Johns said. “We’ll be migrating things off of GOLD onto GOLD Lite.”

Johns said the Registrar’s office did not make a formal, widespread announcement about the new system because it did not want curious students overloading GOLD Lite within the first day. However, since the new version was introduced, a gradual but steady amount of students have found it on the main GOLD website and logged on. As of Monday afternoon, she said, the site had received 15,214 hits.

Many of the problematic elements of the older version of GOLD have been resolved, Johns said.

“GOLD was so innovative at the time it was introduced, however [the technology used at the time] had some limitations,” Johns said. “Only around 200 people could log in simultaneously to the old version of GOLD, and that caused the system to become overwhelmed around quarter changes.”

Johns said the old system’s limit on the number of concurrent users made it necessary to have a five-minute session logout time to allow other people to access the system quickly. The new system has no limits on the number of users that may log on concurrently, and as such has a longer inactivity logout.

“At some point we will consider whether we need any ‘inactivity’ timeout [at all] in Gold Lite, but to start out we wanted to be more conservative and put in something that would ‘clean up’ sessions left unattended,” Johns said. “Hopefully by moving it from five minutes to 20 minutes we are not kicking off anyone that is still actively using the system.”

Gold Lite now allows the use of the back button, which is not possible on the standard GOLD website. The remaining functionality of the system, including class registration, is still on the previous system.

“We thought what would make the most sense was to put registration [on the Lite system first], but that’s a much more complicated effort,” Johns said. “Plan B was ‘let’s get something out there to take the load off so [students] can get on.'”

The rest of the new system’s capabilities will be introduced slowly, as the Registrar’s direction of its resources is geared toward the creation of a Degree Audit website, which would allow students to check on the progress they have made with respect to their majors. A preliminary version of this site is already available, but can only display a student’s progress upon admission to the University.

“We want to change the look and feel of GOLD and also get the Degree Audit system out,” she said. “That’s what’s been bumping GOLD down the queue temporarily.”