$1.5 million left out of RAMSS upgrade

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By Mike Deruyter

Tyler Metcalf would rather be on academic probation than have to deal with Ryerson’s registration software.

Metcalf’s guidance counsellor picks his courses, leaving the third-year sociology student largely free of dealing with Ryerson’s Administrative Management Self Service (RAMSS).

The enrolment software, launched in 2005, is used to register for courses and keep track of class schedules, grades and fees.

Last year, Ryerson budgeted $6.5 million for upgrades to the student administrative system. At a Ryerson Board of Governors meeting on Nov. 19, it was announced that approximately $1.5 million of the money hasn’t been used to improve the software.

“RAMSS is an unbelievable headache,” said Metcalf.

“I would be allowed to enroll in certain courses, but when I showed up to the class I found out that I wouldn’t get a credit for it because I didn’t have the proper pre-requisites.”

RAMSS is a product by Peoplesoft Campus Solutions — used by over 200 universities across North America, including the University of Waterloo, Queen’s University and University of Western Ontario.

Keith Alnwick, Ryerson’s registrar, said the system has had some issues, but the update in November 2008 was a “super-charged thrust.”

The next RAMSS update will take place in March 2010.

Sophie Quigley, a computer science professor at Ryerson, doesn’t think the 2008 update was an improvement.

In her computer-human interaction course, Quigley and her students went through RAMSS and couldn’t figure out the system.

“There’s an overall lack of intuitiveness,” she said. “There’s a lot of information but it’s not clear what it’s telling you. RAMSS is in really bad shape.”

Quigley blames the issue on a lack of consultation and on Peoplesoft.

“The general rumbling from different professors across universities is that they are not very impressed by the company,” she said.

Stephen Hawkins, the director of computing and communication services, said improving registration software isn’t a question of getting a better student administrative system.

“It’s more a question of how we make the one we have work better for us.”

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