System outages cause frustration during registration

Registration lines backed up even more than usual on Jan. 12 after a system outage that left students frustrated and employees scrambling to restore service. The system continued to have problems, mostly recurring slowdowns, during the week of Express Registration, Jan. 12-15.


Samantha Douty/Foghorn

Students fill the lines in front of the financial aid services office after the system slows down during the week of express registration.

According to Augusto Alfonso, the chief information technology officer at Del Mar College, the problem involved the large amount of information needed during registration, which could not have been foreseen. Every course and every course section is inserted into a database, so when students are asking what classes to sign up for, the system has to search the entire database for the information for every request made, which slowed the system.

However, the information technology staff looked for the problem, and after receiving recommendations from the student information system vendor, Ellucian, fixed the issue.

“I don’t think we could have done anything to avoid it,” Alfonso said. “I want to commend my staff. You should have seen them in here. … You can only see how reliable your team is when they get challenged.”

The system has had issues in previous semesters, but the number of students who register early has increased, Alfonso said. “We had to handle over 2,000 (students) in two days,” Alfonso said. “We had problems, but our registration count is high.”

As of Jan. 20, according to Alfonso, the total number of registered students for the spring semester was 10,741, an 8 percent increase from the previous semester.

The outages didn’t go unnoticed by students who registered online, either, in the last week of registration.

“I think they just need to make the system better. When I first signed up for my classes, everything was fine,”said Mary Heatherley, a music performance major. “Toward the end (before the semester started), it wouldn’t let me pay for my classes.”

Alfonso said students can avoid this issue in the future by registering early, which will also allow the system to better handle the last days of registration. Students who register early can do so online or on the mobile app created for DMC, VikingGo. Registering early will allow students to avoid long lines, sign up for classes that will fit their schedule better and help new students obtain the help they need when registering for the first time.

Del Mar is always looking to improve the system, Alfonso said, and VikingGo was one improvement, with several others planned, that will help students at Del Mar. He said they are also looking into other programs that will help students, and their advisers, in the registration and advising process.

You can find VikingGo on Google Play and in the Apple app store.

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