By Amy Sharaf
Exams and early classes may not be the only things Ryerson and University of Alberta students have in common.
Students from both schools have complained of registration woes from web-based programs using Peoplesoft servers.
This is the first school year where students signed up for courses and viewed fees statements using RAMSS (Ryerson’s Administrative Management Self Service) and many have complained of confusion and enrollment disruptions, including a system crash.
Ryerson’s former registration program, ROWS, did not use Peoplesoft. Registrar Keith Alnwick said an “exhaustive evaluation” took place before Peoplesoft was chosen to replace ROWS.
He acknowledged RAMSS is not a perfect system, but said it best suits Ryerson’s needs.
“We’ve tried our best to communicate and to be proactive. I think we could have done a better job but we now know some of the things we need to do in the future.”
The registrar’s office is working on developing a separate website for information postings.
Registration hassles were so prevalent with Beartracks, the program at the University of Alberta, that student Stephen Kirkham designed an alternate program on a personal website to help his fellow students.
Called Bearscat, the program was so popular it was later adopted by the university.
Kirkham said there are problems with universities implementing complex programs like RAMSS and Beartracks.
“This is just bureaucracy making uninformed decisions about technology that is not even tailored to students’ registration processes,” he said. “We’re talking insane amounts of money spent on programs like these that fail to meet the university’s needs.”
Despite a surge in questions from students in August, Liz Gesicki, student affairs and administration manager for Radio and Television Arts, said the new system has not given her any major problems.
“We’re all learning it: students, staff,” she said. “I think it will be awesome next year because everyone will be more comfortable with it, the glitches will be gone.”
Alnwick will present a report on RAMSS to the Academic Council in October and has promised a comprehensive review of the transition process.
He added that he is proud of how patient and supportive the Ryerson community had been despite the troubles.
“(It’s) been really hard for students and the community but they’ve been damn wonderful.”