WLU vents frustrations regarding LORIS

For the past week the social media feeds of Wilfrid Laurier University  students have had a common theme.

As WLU students from various years and programs  have taken their turns registering for courses for 2012-13, LORIS, the university’s online registration system, has become a topic of frustrated Facebook and Twitter posts for many.

In what has become an annual problem for most students at Laurier, the system experienced troubles with the volume of people trying to log on and register at one time.

“The issue right now is the number of simultaneous log ins,” Laurier’s assistant vice president of academic services Tom Buckley stated. “It appears to be a capacity issue at the start of time slot where registration opens up. It’s not the system itself, it’s not LORIS, it’s not the database, it’s a question of network design and capacity.”

While many Laurier students have started to look at the system as a necessary, they may not have to deal with it much longer.

“Students are frustrated and understandably so,” said Buckley.

“But all of our web architecture is going through quite a significant review this fall and I anticipate a major update to LORIS, if not a complete replacement with a modern portal architecture and some other enhancements.”

According to Buckley, WLU will be doing a survey to get student opinion on the registration system later this summer.

This will be part of a larger review of all of WLU’s web services, which is expected to be intensified this fall.

“Problems with registration can mean many things and we really want to zero in on what those problems are,” said Buckley.

“I wouldn’t say it’s fully informed yet, but the strategic review of the web is kicking off this summer and functionality and what students are looking for will be a key part of that.”

While a number of other universities use a pre-enrolment system in which students rank courses and then are assigned based on availability,

Buckley said that option would not be viable at Laurier. He added that the system was meant to give students complete control over picking their courses.

However, even Buckley admits the system has its flaws.

“Since I arrived it was very apparent to me, very early in my arrival here that there were performance issues with the system,” said Buckley, who started at Laurier in 2008, three years after LORIS was implemented.

“But some of the technical solutions to this, the costs are such that to invest that way would mean not investing somewhere else like enhanced wireless and we’d be doing it for a week of the year.”

Buckley added that he is as anxious as anyone to get the system improved.

“I more than anybody want to upgrade,” he said.

“This is a web 1.0 system, the interface is not up-to-date, it’s not modern and that’s something we’re going to fix.”

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