OPINION: SIS update creates obstacles for students

By Frank Portillo

Since its introduction, the new Student Information System on campus has evolved from complete garbage to a mediocre functioning system.

Despite its slight change for the better, the negative aspects outweigh the positives by a large margin.

When the system update went live, many students like myself were outraged about the change.

It was baffling that the system, which was relatively flawless, would be changed into something that has almost no redeeming qualities.

The biggest frustration about the system is that the new layout is not mobile friendly. After its introduction, it became difficult for students to complete simple tasks such as adding classes or even viewing their schedules.

Without access to a desktop computer, students are unable to access the basic functions of the system.

This creates a problem, especially in the first week of instruction as students are forced to use the computers on campus with the slow network, or use their own laptops to see which classes might still be available. This results in no available library computers and a ridiculous amount of traffic.

With the old system, I was able to walk freely on campus and search for classes that would fulfill my transfer requirements on my phone. This was a valuable aspect of the last version, one that I find crucial to the college experience.

Sure, a student can walk into the class to see if the instructor has space to add, but that adds unnecessary stress to the situation. Instead of adding the class before it begins through their phone, students must deal with the stresses of encountering a full class or competing other students in the same position.

If I hadn’t been able find an open class on my phone, I likely wouldn’t have discovered the Journalism 101 course that fit perfectly with my class schedule.

If students can search for classes on-the-go, it can lead to them finding their true calling.

The layout of the new mobile site isn’t what sucks either.

What sucks is the functionality of the system, or the lack thereof.

This semester saw a slight improvement in functionality.Students can now view their class schedules which helps early in the semester before they get accustomed to the schedule and class locations.

The only other option besides viewing class schedules on the mobile site is checking the student email, which is also important.

Beyond viewing the class schedule, the mobile version of the system is useless. In today’s technological world, in which nearly every student has a smartphone, it makes no sense to not make the SIS mobile friendly.

On the mobile site, students have access to dropdown buttons that serve no purpose besides viewing the class schedule. The options are a to-do checklist, which notifies students on important actions they must complete, like the VTEA surveys.

This would be a worthy function except that when someone attempts to click on what seems like a link, nothing happens. Typically, a link would redirect us to complete the action listed, but this button does nothing.

Students can view their past-due balance, but are unable to pay them. Matriculation status, for whatever reason, can also be viewed.

But the biggest middle finger to students is the dropdown tab that reads “Available transcripts.” Reading that would lead students to believe that they might have access to their transcripts on their phones, but they would be dead wrong. Like the to-do checklist, this tool is useless.

Students aren’t the only ones complaining about the terrible system. For most of my classes, I’ve heard the professors express their frustrations with the changes.

So much so that it has become a running joke. Keep in mind that all of these criticisms are based solely on the mobile version.

Once a student logs in to the desktop version of the system, things get a little easier. The new steps taken to add and search for classes are annoying. Classes are added into a shopping cart and students have to confirm the addition of the class about three or four times before it actually adds.

One cool thing about the new update, however, is that when adding classes, students can view their already-built schedules to see what else fits around their classes.

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