Phone registration’s days are numbered

After Fall 2003 registration ends, the antiquated telephone registration system will no longer exist. Due to a decline in usage, the USF Registrar’s office is eliminating the telephone registration process and replacing it with the existing and more popular online registration format. The online system will be the only way to register for classes starting in the spring semester of 2004.

When the implementation of phone registration was introduced to USF students more than 13 years ago, the university became one of the first institutions in the country to use such a format.

“When it started, almost 99 percent of students registered for classes over the phone,” said university registrar Angela Debose.

However, in 1998, after the introduction of OASIS, the Web-based registration program, only 26 percent of students used telephones when registering for classes.

Since then, the telephone registration process has been kept around, despite the popularity of online registration.

“At the time, it offered an inexpensive backup to Web registration,” Debose said.

A survey was conducted by the Registrar’s office that asked USF students which registration system they preferred, and whether telephone registration could be eliminated.

According to the survey, which can be viewed on the Registrar’s Web site, those who continue to use the telephone for registration do so because it’s what they are used to and they liked the idea of being able to use their phones because they can register from anywhere.

However, the overwhelming majority of those surveyed said they preferred the Web- based registration system because it was easier.

“It is clear that telephone registration has been replaced by Web registration as the mode for registration activity,” the survey conclusion said.

Not only was the phone being used less by university students, it was, more recently, starting to tug on the university’s purse strings. Debose said allowing students to register on the phone and on the Web has made upgrades to both systems more expensive.

“It is cheaper to upgrade just one system, rather then both,” Debose said.

The Registrar’s Office was expecting some minor feedback from people when notices were sent out to students and personnel that the telephone registration system would be eliminated. According to Debose, there has been some negative reaction to the decision, and “a few departments have expressed concern.”

Critics are worried about the sole dependence on computers for registration, wondering what would happen if the OASIS server had a slow response time or shut down all together. “Students (would) just have to try again later,” Debose said.