By Laura Ory
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
A new Student Link program may ease registration woes as early as next semester by allowing departments to make restrictions for online course registration.
The new program, WebReg Permissions, may eliminate the need for students in many departments to meet with an adviser to register by hand as early as the spring semester, said Beth Acree, senior associate registrar for the Office of Registration.
About 40 departments have shown interest in using the program, Acree said, and more information will be provided at a training session Nov. 29.
Once in place, the program will allow departments to restrict registration for certain courses to students within the major or minor or to students who have completed the course prerequisites.
Restricting access to certain courses through WebReg has always been a need, said Brett Bendickson, the developer of the program and principal support systems analyst for the Center for Computing and Information Technology.
But before a department can control course access, it must first have a way to generate lists of the students who have completed the prerequisites, Bendickson said.
Since 2004, seven departments, including psychology and communication, have tested the program, Acree said.
The psychology department uses the program to give priority to its declared, interdisciplinary and pre-law students during the priority registration time period, said Taylor Robertson, senior psychology academic adviser.
Once priority registration ends, any remaining seats are opened to all university students eligible to register for the upcoming semester, Robertson said.
In doing so, the program has benefited psychology students because they get first access to the classes they need in order to graduate, Robertson said.
“As of now, the psychology department plans to continue to use this program in future semesters,” Robertson said.
The communication department shares that sentiment and considers the program a “godsend,” said Kenci Lewis, an adviser in the department.
“We used to have huge lines of students that were in classes they weren’t supposed be in, including students who weren’t in the major,” Lewis said. “Students would ask, ‘Why did you let me register for this class?’”
Since they began using the program, it has helped eliminate some of the registration confusion and more students are able to get into the classes they need to graduate, Lewis said.
But until all departments use the program, some students like Angela Poulson, a junior majoring in creative writing and journalism, will have to continue waiting in lines to register with their advisers by hand.
A program like this would be useful in the department of journalism, Poulson said, because before she could even meet with her adviser this semester, she had to wait in line at 5 a.m. to first schedule an appointment.
Paul Johnson, the journalism adviser, said he plans to attend the WebReg Permissions presentation and hopes the department will be able to use it.
“If it would work for the department it would be terrific,” Johnson said. “Conceivably we might be able to eliminate the hand registration.”