Computers have been slowly taking over the world. Everywhere I turn,something seems to be computerized. I’ve often thought of St. John’s asa fairly practical university, but recently, it too has hopped on thecomputer bandwagon. Starting this semester, course offerings will onlybe available online. To find course offerings, students must visit theofficial St. John’s University homepage, and click on the Fall 2001Registration at the top center of the page. Now the entire process ofregistration can be done by the click of a mouse.
Some students may see this as a good thing. They won’t have to visit theRegistrar’s Office and wait on line for 30 minutes before being able toobtain a course booklet. Other students look to the other side of thecoin and find this change a burden. Constantly having to go online tocheck availability of courses is tedious. I agree with the latter groupand find that pinpointing my classes online is a tremendous burden.
When I first heard of this change, my concern was how I would find outwhen to register. Students received priority registration numbers fromthe dean’s office, but were not given the day and time they were toregister. This info was to be obtained via the web site. It took meabout a half-hour to find it on the highly confusing SJU Web page. Ifind it time-consuming to sit at my computer and write down all of theinformation for the classes I would like to take, when I could simply belooking at a composite list of the offerings in a print booklet.Scrolling back and forth, simply trying to find the times and days ofclasses is a feat in itself. I found it much easier to adjust anddetermine my upcoming schedule by having the booklet in front of me. Thebooklet allows students the leisure of scanning through times, datesother pertinent registration information without having to spend hoursstaring at a computer before even being able to locate the classschedule.
St. John’s has altered its system, so that now the entire registrationprocess can be done online. We find our courses online, we actuallyregister for classes online. What next? The elimination of advisement,with a substitute virtual reality adviser? Despite the blunder ofsquirming through the site to actually find your classes, once this iscomplete, the actual process of registration is easy. Last semester wasthe first time I registered online, and it is much easier than callingRed Phone. It took me five minutes to register. I didn’t have to worryabout getting a busy signal on the phone, nor did I have to worry aboutthe constant delays brought by the repetitive recording service offeredthrough Red Phone.
To register online students must again visit St. John’s officialhomepage, where they should click on “A Guide for SJU students.” Oncelogged in to the Student Information System, students can add or dropclasses from their schedules and determine class location. This aspectof the registration process is the only aspect that is helpful tostudents.
By placing the course offerings online, the university is making itharder for its students. What about those individuals who do not haveaccess to home computers? They will have to spend hours at the computerlabs. Just last week, I visited computer labs at Sullivan Hall andMarillac, and in both instances, the lines consisted of at least 15persons and the wait to use a computer averaged around 45 minutes.Students simply do not have the time to wait on lengthy lines, much lessto deal with the monotonous task of preparing our classes online.
The university should have thought twice before instituting its newprocess. I know that St. John’s wants to move into the 21st centuryalong with the rest of the world, but sometimes, the good old-fashionedway of doing things is much more appropriate.