Registering for college



  • My wife tried to register for classes online today.  A class she was taking (class "A") required a lab; and the website properly said she couldn't register for A until she also added the lab ("B") to her cart.  Then the WTF happened - you couldn't add "B" until you added class "C" to your schedule as well.  Seems "B" and "C" are really the same class (same class name, same instructor, same time); "B" was the lab part, and "C" was the instruction part.  OK, she did that and went to checkout.  At checkout, she was told she could not choose both "B" and "C" because they were scheduled at the same time.

    So you need "B" and "C" in order to take "A", but you can't pick "B" and "C" because they're scheduled at the same time.  

    She called the school; the school said to try adding the classes in a different order.  As if that would make any difference; it of course did not.  Now she has to go and register in person.  



  • Let me guess: PeopleSoft?



  •  Wait for the follow-up: because only one or two people were able to follow the arcane procedure needed to register for this class, it gets cancelled for "lack of interest".



  • When I was going to college at the University of WTF (name changed to protect the guilty), there was a built in workaround for crap like this. There was a magic override code. I believe they used Peoplesoft for their registration system (wrapped in layers of web based crap).

    The procedure was:

    1. Encounter issue (overloaded class, bogus conflicting schedule,"dummy" lab times for online classes, pre-requisites check broken, etc.).
    2. Explain issue to professor (after tracking him/her down) and beg for their understanding.
    3. Travel to department office, explain to department coordinator that instructor so and so says it's ok to grant an override.
    4. Department coordinator looks up the override # and gives it to you.
    5. Re-try registering with the override number (a 6 or 7 digit code).

    I had enough experience with the process to know that the override number was unique to the student/course ID combination (I got different override numbers for different courses in the same semester, other students got different numbers for the same course, etc.). I never had enough data to crack the code. I believe the coordinators looked up the codes for us in a printed reference, so I don't know if it was formulaic, a one-time pad for overrides per course, OTP per student, etc.

    Their petition system was even more archaic. Print/wooden table/scan would be a great improvement.



  •  <Beg for their understanding> seems the right way to do things.  This is a real WTF in its own right -- you can build a system that encodes all the complex business rules of an organization, including policies and restrictions; spend millions of dollars developing and deploying said system; but if someone asks the right guy the rules will be bent.  



  • Of course the rules will be bent when the complex business rules of an organization isn't actually how they do their business in the first place...



  • Could have been Banner, aka banweb aka ssb. damn near every college uses it around here. It's a giant pile of fail.



  • Sounds like Banner, my university used that system and we had similar problems. The one that always got me was that College Algebra was a prerequisite for just about every Computer Science course and I never took College Algebra. I did take Calculus I and II, but those didn't mee the prereq requirement in the system and I'd always have to manually register.



  • We should have a college intranet fail showdown to see whose college intranet is the worst of the worst. I still have a big feeling Peoplesoft will win.



  • Ah for my college days - running around trying to grab a Hollerith card for the class you wanted - one card per seat per class. No more cards? No more seats! As grad students, we got to register first, and could collect em for the younger set.

    How the web has improved things! (sigh)

     



  • Oh that would have been awesome. Some card stock and a keypunch, and you've got a do-it-yourself registration system!



  • The college I go to had a similar problem as described by the OP, but they solved it by using some broken system that did most of the validation on the client side with Javascript. All we had to do was disable it and then we could register for whatever we wanted.



  •  Been there, done that.@snoofle said:

    Ah for my college days - running around trying to grab a Hollerith card for the class you wanted - one card per seat per class. No more cards? No more seats! As grad students, we got to register first, and could collect em for the younger set.

    How the web has improved things! (sigh)

     




  • @dogbrags said:

    Now she has to go and register in person.  
     

    Update: She did indeed go to register in person.  After the guy behind the counter tried to register for her using his computer (using the same online system my wife used) and failed, he pulled out a couple of forms for her to fill out by hand; apparently now she is registered.  

    It's good to know that they have a backup plan in case the software is broken.  I still don't understand why there isn't a function available that checks the classes to see if there are conflicts like this ("Hey, class A and B conflict.  Fix this!!!)



  • @dogbrags said:

    It's good to know that they have a backup plan in case the software is broken.  I still don't understand why there isn't a function available that checks the classes to see if there are conflicts like this ("Hey, class A and B conflict.  Fix this!!!)

    At the school I worked at everything ended up on paper anyway, the online system was just to make things 'easier'. Our system had a way to enforce pre-reqs like this, along with a workflow to have it OK'd by committee. This stuff was pretty much out of the box. The only problem is, professors are mostly goddamn retarded and have no idea how any of it actually worked. I had to get away from that environment. Our IT budget was determined by committee. Ever had to explain to an English professor why it is necessary to upgrade software?

    Dumbass Professor : "I see what you are trying to do. You guys want new machines to play games with."
    Me : "With all due respect, our budget is a decade old, our email server almost doesn't work and we're down to serving critical processes on old desktops from labs."
    Dumbass Professor : "But why so much? I can buy a computer at Wal Mart for 800 dollars! With a monitor!"
    Me : facepalm



  • @RHuckster said:

    Let me guess: PeopleSoft?

    The OP would be good at http://dearpeoplesoft.com


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