January 29, 2001

CIT Tests Course Exchange

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Cornellians who have previously felt bogged down by online pre-enrollment and endured the long lines of course exchange now have the opportunity to help amend the system by participating in a test of a new version of CoursEnroll.

From 5 to 6 p.m. tonight, the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) and Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) will be conducting a trial run of the new CoursEnroll program to help ensure that it successfully alleviates the network congestion issues that have recently occurred during pre-enrollment, according to an e-mail message sent to all undergraduate and graduate students.

“We will try to get the [network traffic] up to what we see during pre-enrollment,” said Associate University Registrar Christopher Cox. “[This is important] because the test will help determine whether we can do online add/drop this fall.”

Students testing the system will select classes from the Spring 2001 course roster and will use a version of CoursEnroll that closely resembles the software utilized during normal enrollment. However, any pre-enrollment selections they make will not be retained and will not affect their present or future class schedule in any way.

While the University has already performed simulations that can stress certain parts of the system, it would like to involve students in the test because “that’s the best test we can have,” Cox said.

To promote broad participation, a complete set of prizes — including a Palm Pilot and gift certificates to the Campus Store and local restaurants — will be awarded during each 15-minute block of the test hour. People who have participated for the full trial hour will be eligible to win a digital camera.

According to Cox, OUR is hoping to implement online add/drop next fall. Online add/drop would allow students to add and drop classes from any computer connected to the Internet without having to visit the department’s office, though they will still need to obtain their advisor’s approval.

Whereas CoursEnroll is divided into enrollment periods by class, online add/drop has the potential for 20,000 students to use the system at the same time, according to Assistant University Registrar Tracey Thompson.

One advantage of electronically adding and dropping classes is that “you can expect that if someone using [online] add/drop is told they’re in a class, then they’re in,” Cox said.

“It’s important to test CoursEnroll because I have had experience with CoursEnroll and with having the network crash,” said Daniel Kung ’03, who plans to participate in the testing.

“It’s sometimes a pain to get in a class … [and] I would prefer to do online add/drop,” he added.

All students who are registered as of last Friday may participate in CoursEnroll testing. For more information, contact the CoursEnroll hotline at 254-4795 or visit the website for the CoursEnroll test at www.sas.cornell.edu/our/student/coursenrolltest.

–Heather Schroeder contributed to this story.

Archived article by Peter Lin