The Office of the Registrar has set a date for the long-overdue upgrade of the Gaucho On-Line Data system; the functions of the archaic system will be moved to the GOLD Lite platform by May 29.

In preparation for the switch, the Office of the Registrar has invited about 200 students to sample the new version and mine data on its effectiveness. Once released to the general student population, the upgrade will allow students to register for courses and also alleviate many of the problems that plague the current system, including a short log-in expiration time and no web browser “back” button compatibility.

The Registrar’s Office posted an interim site, dubbed “GOLD Lite,” in Winter Quarter 2006. Students who used its feedback feature were invited to test the new version via e-mail. The website will be upgraded to include other new features over time.

“What we’re doing is taking all the things that were in the original GOLD and putting it into the new web look,” Virginia “Ginny” Johns said. “After registration, there are a number of things still left. We’ll be shutting down the old GOLD within the next year probably.”

Third-year business economics major Tom Collier said he feels the changes were long overdue.

“I think it’s about time,” Collier said. “I’ll finally be able to push the fucking back button on my browser.”

The system promises to upgrade features that GOLD already has. Johns said search capabilities will be more robust, and the system will offer students the ability to see what quarters particular classes have been offered, evaluate how large those lectures were and make an informed decision about a future class choice based on that information.

“We’re showing the course history so [students] can ask ‘Should I take that in Spring or Fall?'” Johns said. “You can look over past 10 years or so.”

In addition, the system will do away with the capacity problems that currently affect GOLD, which can accommodate only around 180 simultaneous users and logs them off following relatively short periods of inactivity.

Johns said the Registrar has plans to further improve the system following the initial rollover throughout the next several years.

“We want to put a link into the bookstore, so students can see what books they need for their classes and get the information they need to purchase them,” Johns said. “You’ll see new buttons appearing.”

One critical upgrade still in the works is a degree audit system, which will show students how many units and which classes they still need to graduate. Johns said this system, which will be integrated into GOLD, should start going up in phases this summer, beginning with the most popular majors.

Johns stressed the importance of student suggestions submitted to the site’s feedback function in improving the system.

“We look at [the suggestions] and try to immediately change things, and not wait for six months,” he said.