By Andrew Ayala
After its first year in use, the Student Information System has malfunctioned twice, affecting students and staff.
The SIS is essential to a college student/educators’ year because that is where you are allowed to add/drop classes, view/pay fees, check grades, order your transcripts, and see the status of financial aid.
It is easily accessed through the East Los Angeles College website.
The system is back up and running and has been working fine. It had a minor slip last Saturday as it went down again but there isn’t much that can be done.
Since the SIS is a district system, and not a local system, there is only so much that can be done such as “manual overrides,” said Vice President of Student Services Julie Benavides.
Recently, a change in the system was made as the school began to use a more modern and less confusing website that makes navigation easier and allows a student find whatever they are looking for.
This change was made in Fall 2017 as information on how to work the new system was posted both around the school and on the website.
According to a few students, the system would bug out when they first began using it, but eventually everything began to run smoothly.
The beginning of this Spring semester was an unexpected cause for concern to many.
No one was aware that the system would shut down or not function properly since it’s been so reliable. Many students were complaining about not being able to access the website, which meant they couldn’t change up their schedules, add or drop classes, or even pay their fees, which meant big problems.
Christian Bustamante, a full-time student here at ELAC said a bit of his thoughts and concern on the issue. “It’s unfair,” Bustamante said.
“Here we are hoping to come to school with everything in order and under control, but now there is a problem with the system.
I can’t pay the fees for this semester yet, I can’t switch out one of my other classes due to a time issue. It kind of sucks. And the worst part is you never know if this is going to happen again or for how long these resources will be unavailable.”
“We have to be as proactive as possible.The SIS is a huge system and we don’t have local control. We do the best we can in creating preventive measures for the students.
Besides SIS, the students must take advantage of the other programs and services offered here on campus.
We used to do things locally. This is a district system and they have been working on it for five years. This is the first official year of launch. Overall it was a very frustrating experience for not only students but staff as well.
Even though we don’t control the system, we can take charge of how we approach these issues when they arise,” Benavides said.
There are many behind the scenes interventions that go on that the students don’t notice, Benavides mentioned.
One example is the “IT meetings every two weeks,” says Benavides, in which they work on failures or issues that any piece of technology may be having.
At the E1 building there is an office where many first-time or returning student can go to the Welcome Center for assistance in navigating through ELAC.
“The welcome center has been here for almost two years. We have incorporated a SIS workshop which is a way to walk through the system with assistance and guidance.
When the SIS was down students were coming in here with panic and we tried to assist them in any way we can,” Linda Rafols, head of the Welcome Center said.
A few of the ways Rafols said the Welcome Center helped the students who take advantage of it during the system failure was calming the students down as best they could in there.
Whether it was offering the students water, goodies, or even stress balls, the Welcome Center was and is willing to do whatever it takes to help out students in a time of need.
They were also able to call back those who visit often to let them know that the system was back up.
“We encouraged students to speak to professors and ask for add slips. When the system is down for the students, it’s down for all of us, so we try and help as best we can,” Rafols said.