For years, registrar employees have puzzled through thousands of lines of illegible handwriting after students scribbled five-digit course numbers on carbon-copy forms, but no more.

All Yale College students will register online this semester after a new online registration program underwent a successful test run last term, and student reaction thus far has been largely positive.

“Of course it’s better than it was before,” Eric Schneider ’03 said of the new system. “The integrated schedules and final exam schedules are amazing.”

Preliminary planning for online registration began about a year ago among members of the Yale Teaching and Learning Committee. Registrar Barry Kane, who was key in driving the development and implementation of the new program, said Yale was seeking a more effective and hassle-free process.

“In the pre-OCS [Online Course Selection] world, it took about seven weeks for the course registration process to be completed. Now, it is virtually instantaneous,” Kane said. “Besides saving us about three weeks of data entry, it has a number of advantages for students.”

The new system allows students to search for courses, create tentative schedules and view them on a calendar, and see the dates of final exams for their prospective courses.

In the spring of 2001, work began on the actual software application, which then was tested in Branford and Timothy Dwight colleges last fall.

Created under the technical auspices of Roger Despres, the head of the enterprise Web development team, the application fared well in its debut, Kane said.

“It allowed us to examine usage amongst a small population and enabled us to gather student comments which were incorporated into developmental enhancements,” Kane said.

The team behind the new program also continues to add new features. On Friday, the Web team updated and put into production a new classroom location feature in response to student input.

“That kind of stuff will be taking place for a while until we have fine-tuned the system.” Kane explained. “So far, the application has been quite trouble-free.”

While some students faulted the system for not being entirely paperless, and others for the fact that it still required the signature of deans, Sam Taylor ’05 said the system is convenient and user-friendly.

“I especially like the option which allows me to see what times all my classes meet,” Taylor said. “Last shopping period I was really disorganized, but this time I wasn’t at all.”

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