Monday, April 2, 2012

Why do I need an Enrollment Appointment?

Let me start by clearing up some common misconceptions: your enrollment appointment is when you can begin enrolling-not a time slot you need to enroll during, NTID and Honors will still register early, and if a class fills up before your appointment begins, you can still go see an advisor or academic department for help.

At a university as large as ours, it is easy for the system to become overloaded during registration morning. With the old SIS, we are very familiar with the negatives this brings, such as the very unhelpful countdown, the constant refreshing, the many tabs and multiple browsers. There is a solution, however: stagger when students can begin enrolling. For this first go round (fall enrollment), students will be able to begin enrolling in 30 minute intervals starting at 7 a.m. and going through 5 p.m. This is to ensure that if you run into any problems that the institute will be staffed to help assist you. The times are still split by year level, like they are now, but within that the order will be determined randomly. Yes, we know this isn't ideal, but it is the fairest way for the RIT student population as a whole. Also, most other universities our size use enrollment appointments successfully.

The Genesis team looked into deciding this order by credits, GPA, or by other criteria. The issue with doing this is that it will often be the same students that are getting priority registration. What if you're the student who messed around freshmen year, got bad grades, but now you want to be a serious student? Why should that student continually fall towards the bottom? At the end of the day, random was the most fair to the entire student body.

Will enrollment always work like this? Not necessarily. This is our first launch of the system, feedback is being collected and changes will be made once all information is prioritized. We also are being extra careful not to overload this system for the first enrollment, so the amount of students per appointment may change in the future.

This is a big change for RIT, and honestly it will make RIT a little more of a real tech school. Give the system a chance, in the long run this will improve student's lives. Having all services use the same system will reduce confusion and create a better system for overall student profiles. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave your input in the comments. RIT is doing its best to make this transition as smooth as possible, and we, student co-op's, are here to help in any way we can.


  1. "What if you're the student who messed around freshmen year, got bad grades, but now you want to be a serious student"

    Yeah, totally. Why should hard work pay off?

    "Will enrollment always work like this? Not necessarily. This is our first launch of the system, feedback is being collected and changes will be made once all information is prioritized."

    Glad we're being forced to use an unstable system for our actual registration, instead of just as a trial. Real academic careers can be genuinely screwed up here.

    "...and honestly it will make RIT a little more of a real tech school."

    ... How? Pray tell. How will using a clunky system based off a template (instead of a program specifically designed from the ground up for RIT students) make us "more of a real tech school"?

    How are we not a "real" tech school now?

    If you have to baby the system by only allowing a few people in at a time, obviously it's not a very advanced system.

    Thanks for a whole lot of nothing, GeneSIS.

    1. Hello Shaun,

      Your feedback has been recorded. The back-end is much improved in this new system which will make everything better in the long run.

      Laura Kelley

  2. So, the latest appointment is 4:30pm on the day of registration. This could possibly push students who are dedicated to their classes to the back of a wait list simply because they were "unfortunate."

    I got my schedule because every moment I could, I looked at enrollment in classes and when a spot opened, I switched as quickly as I could. Now my only chance is to seek my department's help, as professors can no longer manually add/drop. This doubles the reward value of being first on the waitlist for a popular class, as you'll often never get a response if seeking help from a department. Advisors will help you get a class you need, but you might now be out of luck if a section you needed to take filled up, again, because of dumb luck.

    I've never heard anyone on the current SIS forced to wait until any time after roughly 9 to have any idea about their classes, let alone any time in the afternoon. First come first serve is still vastly preferable to having to treat the system kindly because it can only handle 150 requests per allotted time. This is a giant step backwards; and I'm surprised that RIT has again waited until the last minute to hear all student's feedback.

    Sometimes you're not going to get the sections you want with the current system [clearly you'll get the classes needed, just not the section]. However, you still had a chance if you woke up at 6. Now, it's a shot in the dark; and with even more limited recourse if things go wrong.

    I can't wait for semesters, when a bad section can last half a year.

    1. Hello Trident,

      We do believe that these new features will enhance the student's enrollment experience. The back-end is much improved, and feedback is being collected to improve the system in the future. We are just asking you give the system a chance, but your input for enrollment appoints has been noted.

      Thank you,
      Laura Kelley

  3. Hello,

    Were the 150-person appointments instituted solely as a means to overcome technical restrictions of the server, or were they instituted as a means to implement the new system of random selection?

    I was always curious of the technical situation of the old SIS, and I am now curious, if the first was true, to know what type of system genesis is running on. Namely, is the new SIS running on a server at RIT, Oracle, or possibly in a scaled cloud environment like Amazon EC2? What are the specs of the server, and how heavy a load can it handle. Is it technically limited to 150 sessions, or are we limiting it for other reasons like i'm curious about above?

    Also, I'm curious as to why the genesis project has taken away the professors' ability to add students manually. That reason has not been well explained to me as of yet.

    I would like to know, from the perspective of the development team responsible for genesis, how the following situation will be handled: Very worst case - Say a student receives a late registration period, and the carts he has chosen all fail. The remaining sections, if at all, of the set of 4-5 classes recommended by the department for that quarter cannot fit into any schedules. How much attention will he get from the department, and will he be placed into those classes. As of now, it seems there is no similar replacement to unmet needs as we have now - only a first-come-first-serve waiting list.

    Now for the average case, how much attention will a student receive? Say his schedule could be improved by talking to a professor to switch sections or enter the class, as I have done the past few quarters. Without the professor's ability to interfere, does the development team see the departments as able to handle this demand on their own? Will departments and academic advisors have the ability to do this at all?

    Finally, I would like to know if the system will be tested under heavy load long before the upcoming registration.

    Thank you,
    Steven Kroh
    RIT Student - Software Engineering

  4. Hello Steven,

    The 150 students is not a technical restriction of the new SIS. The main reasons we have chosen to have enrollment appoints like this for fall is so that students can get support on campus if they need help, and also because it was what the Oracle consultants advised best. Based on feedback and further testing, this may change in the future.

    Professor's ability has not been taken away, they will simply need to work with the academic department the way that they do now. For support, we have provided all faculty and staff with training, but we have no way to control how your academic department will support you on enrollment day.

    The system has undergone heavy load testing.

    Thank you,
    Laura Kelley