The University of Wisconsin has switched the format of the timetable students use to search and register for classes, angering many students who feel the old format was better.
UW has provided students with two formats for the timetable they use to search and register for classes, a web-based one that runs its different operations off separate web pages and another located in the Integrated Student Information System, also known as the Student Center.
According to UW Registrar Joanne Berg, UW no longer offers the web-based format because the university cannot afford to provide both services, and also because ISIS “really is a better product.”
For UW junior Kyle Locher, who works for the UW Help Desk, the institution made the wrong decision by providing students with an “inferior” option.
“It’s more advanced software, but it does not serve students better,” Locher said. “It’s much more slow to respond than the HTML version.”
Locher has created a Facebook group dedicated to bringing back the lost timetable format. The group has grown to nearly 500 members in less than a week.
“I’ve started to talk to other people building proof of dissatisfaction of students in our system,” he said. “It doesn’t work out for students because it forces them to use the Student Center that makes registration very difficult for people.”
Locher added one member of the group just recently saw the web-based version after having been familiar with only the ISIS version, and the person thought the web-based version was an upgrade for ISIS, not something that was being eliminated.
Berg said the switch to relying solely on ISIS is a transitional step in a move toward a new product UW hopes to launch within the next year. The new program will be a course guide that integrates the timetable, course guide and a description of every class from the faculty member who teaches the class, she added.
But Berg acknowledged the ISIS timetable has problems that need to be addressed.
“We recognize that it’s slow and we feel awful about it,” Berg said. “We have a lot of programmers working on how to make it faster.”
Locher said UW has “not taken into account what students’ desires are,” and that UW should continue to use the web-based timetable until they “roll out” the new product. He added the ISIS system has been known to be slow or shut down when overloaded with activity like at registration time.
“Sure it might run quickly now, but in a month or so it’s going to take a lot longer, maybe,” Locher said.
According to Berg, students need to alter the way they search to make the system work best for them.
“It’s better if you don’t do big searches on it,” Berg said. “You need to narrow your search to make it work more quickly.”