Monday, November 6, 2017, was the first day of registration for students on campus. While the day began much like any other, it was soon marred by a feeling of panic. As the automated system, which students use to register, began to malfunction, many students feared for their ability to register.
For the last four years, students signed up for their courses through an online service called APR2.0. Although the system has had issues in the past, this was the first time in a few years that the website acted up for the majority of the student body.
Though registration was supposed to start on Monday at 7 a.m., it wasn’t until at least 7:45 a.m. that some students’ APR2.0 pages loaded. This was an issue for many students as the delay caused them to be locked out of desired courses, specifically for first year students registering for FYS.
In an effort to rectify this error, the registrar’s office sent out an email stating that registration on the 6 would be closed, and all students would be removed from the courses they had registered for that day. Then on Tuesday, November 7, registration would start all over at 7 a.m., with everyone registering anew. On Tuesday, though, the same issues cropped up.
Students were unable to log on, or got stuck on a loading screen for a substantial period before they could register for courses. At 9 a.m., as the work day began, the Information Technology department sent out an email again apologizing for the slow performance of APR2.0 and for any unnecessary stress it caused students.
St. Lawrence changed web registration services in the Fall of 2014 from APR to APR2.0. During the senior class’s freshmen-year-fall registration, there was another major glitch that prevented many students from registering for courses. The other previous five windows in the four years since, though slow, have gone by without a major glitch. With over 2,000 students trying to access the same website simultaneously with the same WiFi network, there is bound to be some issues.
Justin Sipher, Vice President of Libraries & Information Technology, weighed in on the recent malfunction, stating: “We believe it is a combination of new software version and very high load on our system that occurs at 7am when registration opens. We are still actively analyzing the information we have to understand the exact source of the problem. This new software version was used this summer to register our first-year students with great success. We are obviously registering many more students now than we do with just the first-year class.”
This failure draws into question how can we improve the system. One of the more popular ideas among students is to have different class years register at different times, with seniors registering first, followed by juniors, then sophomores, and finally first-years. Aidan Scagel ’18 commented on the events of the past two days, stating, “APR2.0 has never been a perfect system, but this year there seemed to be wider spread issues.” When asked about the idea of staggered registration, Scagel said, “As a first-year, I really liked that all classes registered at the same time because it seemed fair, but now, as a senior trying to complete major requirements, I definitely see the pros of having upperclassmen register first.”
The IT department is working their hardest to get APR2.0 up and running for the next registration window. While there were originally meant to be multiple windows for registration open this week, the IT department has since altered their plan. The first registration window will be open until this afternoon, November 10, and the second window of registration will open next week, with more details to come in the following days.