Audit leads to UAOnline course search upgrade

Graphic by Corey Beaudrie

Course registration has received quite the upgrade in recent weeks.  Priority registration, driven by USUAA, allows upperclassmen to register for necessary classes first which prevents the system from crashing statewide.

Next comes a revamp of how students will search for classes on UAOnline. Six undergraduate students were recruited as guinea pigs to put the system through its paces and give objective feedback.

The brainchild of Sarah Hill of Student and Enrollment services, the renovation came as a response to an audit.

“The legislature audited the UA system and found that it was lacking in how it was giving information to its students, and this is system wide, not just UAA. (This included) how consistent we were and how accessible classes were across the system,” Hill said.

Two committees developed the goals of the project, one regarding changes to data, and other how collaboration can be increased among amongst campuses and interest groups, Hill said.

Over the next nine months, Hill worked with SunGuard, the makers of Banner, which runs UAOnline. What resulted was a search page that didn’t look too much different from before, but offered many more user-friendly options.

A positive response from Heather Aronno, JPC sophomore, warranted unanimous agreement from the room.

- Advertisement -

“So will we be using this for fall semester?” Aronno said.

“Yes,” said Laura Volden, Assistant Registrar.

“Awesome,” Aronno said.

Students agreed that the new system is by far easier to use. There is only one search box, in which a student can enter a subject, course name or a course registration number (CRN). In addition, you can choose between distance and traditional courses and easily select more than one campus or subject by using check boxes. There was also an option to do an advanced search rather than the default quick search.

“I understood why it would be helpful like all the different fields in the original one, but this is so much simpler to be able to quickly find classes, especially if you’re trying to fill a slot or you need a certain subject,” Aronno said.

There were some attributes of the new site that were tag-a-longs from the old version. For one, you have to type the class without any spelling errors into the search bar. In addition, the search bar won’t accept certain forms of a course name, such as “Calculus 3”, rather than the required “Calculus III”.

“You have to put exactly what is necessary,” Volden said. This could complicate class searching if your desired schedule includes anthropology, human osteology, Italian renaissance art, ichthyology or hydrogeology, just to name a few easily misspelled words.

Similar to a Facebook formatting change, changes will be apparent, but in time students will learn that they make searching for classes much more simple.

“I think when it comes around to registration time people will notice the difference but then they’ll get it done so much faster,” said Andrew McConnell, an undeclared freshman.