UCSB’s online class registration system has once again buckled under the stress of the thousands of visitors who log in at the beginning of each quarter, but university officials are reassuring students that problems that arise during the familiar Gaucho On-Line Data rush will soon be resolved.
According to GOLD project manager Dave Gunther, the system’s registration functions will be transferred to the new GOLD Lite platform in time for Fall Quarter 2007 registration, and other upgrades are also scheduled.
“Basically, what we’re working on is course registration with course search,” Gunther said. “It has a lot more detailed error handling. One of the big things is that we want to improve is performance, usability and capacity.”
The GOLD system, introduced in the early days of the Internet, has the capacity to handle just 200 users at a time, said Registrar Virginia Johns, whose office oversees the system.
Johns said as a result of this limitation the system denies access to users during busy times. She said GOLD Lite, which was introduced over Winter Break last year, will be better equipped to handle large crowds.
“Students are getting messages saying ‘All sessions are filled, come back in 5 minutes,'” Johns said. “That’s one of the reasons we were rewriting GOLD. We brought up GOLD Lite … the next big piece [we will add] is [class] registration.”
Johns said the new platform, which will resemble GOLD Lite aesthetically and functionally, will resolve the common problems associated with too many hits to the site at one time. Specifically, GOLD’s officials and technicians are striving to eliminate the current automatic timeout on the class enrollment page – which logs users out of the system after a five-minute session, in addition to increasing the number of users allowed to access the site simultaneously.
“It won’t be Lite by [the time the old platform is removed],”Johns said. “We’ll be in a new technology where our goal is to have an unlimited number of sessions.”
Third-year psychology major Raquel Karidis said she has experienced substantial frustration with the system as it can be used in its current state.
“[GOLD] will tell you that you have open classes, and then you try to register but you can’t. It makes you feel like a number. You don’t go to a person,” Karidis said.
Karidis also said she dislikes that the system does not provide any information regarding progress of completion of major requirements – a feature that has been available on several UC campus’ registration systems for several years. Johns said the new version of GOLD hopes to address this problem.
In addition, Johns said the Office of the Registrar is planning to launch another feature similar to major tracking on the new version of GOLD. Technicians are designing a new auditing system – through which students may track their academic progress towards earning a degree – is currently in the works for UCSB students.
“Students are currently limited to just two requests detailing their academic progress, one for their major and one for general requirements,” Johns said. “The audit site will mean students are not limited as they are now.”
The time frame for this project is somewhat less defined than that for the GOLD upgrade.
“[The major audit site is] a multi-year project,” Johns said. “Already right now we’re working on a few majors. We have no specific date as to when we’ll be rolling this out to students. I’m hoping for this year. It’ll take a couple of years to do all majors, there’s hundreds.”336