Class registration is finally going digital

Pilot program is a welcome change

Registering for classes is going to get a lot easier. Over the last two weeks, students in Courses 4, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21W, and 24 participated in the pilot online registration system. Online registration is expected to expand to other departments by next semester.

Department administrators have generally been satisfied with the online registration system. Several reported that the registration has worked smoothly, and that there have been no major complaints about the system. But not everything was perfect; Marie A. Stuppard, a course administrator for Aeronautics and Astronautics, noted in an email that the online system did not capture schedule conflicts.

Shannon M. Larkin, academic administrator for MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing, said the online registration system is much more convenient for her graduate students. “Over the summer, our students are required to do a 10-week internship, often off-campus and sometimes out of the country. Their paper registration forms wouldn’t come in until long after they’d left for their internships,” she wrote in an email to The Tech.

When her students were abroad, Larkin used to mail registration forms to her students to be signed and returned, or sign the forms on their behalf and mail them a copy. ”The online registration allowed them to complete their summer registration from wherever they were, without my having to act as proxy,” Larkin said. “It was more than a week faster for us, and gave the responsibility back to the student.”

Both Larkin and Stuppard said that the online system was “intuitive.”

1381 students submitted their online forms on Registration Day, and a total of 2228 graduate and undergraduate students submitted online registrations by 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 8 — one day shy of the Friday deadline. In addition, 49 students submitted online registrations using mobile devices.

According to Registrar Mary Callahan, the next focus will be on “Online Registration Phase II,” a multi-year project that builds on the just-finished Phase I. “We will continue to work with students and faculty to develop tools that will assist in curriculum planning, subject selection, and advising,” said Callahan in an email. “The analysis of Phase II is expected to begin in October.”

“We are also in the process of collecting feedback through a survey which is being sent to the users (students and faculty) of the system,” said Callahan.