Campus community expresses concern about new enrollment process

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More than 150 UC Berkeley students have joined a Facebook group called CalCentral Bugfinder Squad in the last week, dedicated to voicing complaints about CalCentral and the new enrollment process on the website.

As Phase I enrollment periods began Monday for some students, many expressed frustration regarding the enrollment system, particularly being unable to enroll in time-conflicting classes or find fall courses that don’t appear on CalCentral but are offered in various departments. Some were not able to register for classes at all, students said.

Announced in 2014 as a consolidation project to streamline campus services by Student Information Systems, CalCentral now acts as the primary point for students to gather relevant information about their academics and finances, according to Bernadette Geuy, SIS user experience lead.

“I understand why CalCentral is necessary because being able to see the entirety of your finances (and) how much each class costs … is very useful,” said campus junior Megan Cao. “I think the problem is that they tried to transition the entire student body too fast (and) there are too many variables to take into account and try to process all at once.”

As students began using the new enrollment system, ASUC Chief Technology Officer Mihir Patil sent out a survey Monday to help SIS understand the particular issues students are facing with the process.

According to Geuy, even before Phase I enrollment periods began, SIS received an open letter April 11 signed by more than 70 students that detailed specific issues students faced with the new system.

“We have been actually really engaged with (the students),” Geuy said, adding that SIS met with signatories that afternoon to gain more feedback. “This is a really big project (and) it’s affecting every student, and a lot of different people are talking about it in different ways.”

Berkeleytime — which launched in 2012 to help students plan their schedules using past course information and is a part of the ASUC Office of the Chief Technology Officer — only recently updated the website after SIS gave Berkeleytime access to its new application programming interface, according to Jennifer Yu, Berkeleytime engineer and former employee of The Daily Californian.

SIS currently lists Berkeleytime as the website students can go to access grade distributions for classes. Though SIS is working to fix the bugs on CalCentral now, it will implement user interface and feature changes based on the feedback for the enrollment period in fall 2016, as long-term changes will “take some time,” according to Patil.

“I think the new system is going to be fine,” said Leah Flanagan, history undergraduate adviser in an email. “It’s just different, and will take some getting used to.”

Sujin Shin covers student government. Contact Sujin at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sujinjshin.