SG survey addresses class-registration problems

Some students believe Schedule Planner was a more efficient and user-friendly way to register for classes. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Student Government (SG) opened a survey from Nov. 15-21 to gauge student concerns about completing class registration.

Senators are collecting student feedback as part of an initiative to convince university administration to ease the course enrollment process and resolve current difficulties of understanding how to use OASIS’ course registration system.

“We’ve heard a lot of concerns about the removal of Schedule Planner and how the current processes [have students] struggling and not being able to register the same way they were before, and it just not being as easy as before,” said Senator Mackenzie Cameron.

“As a group, we decided we wanted to address that issue, but instead of just going straight to administration and stating that students were upset, we wanted to try to gather student opinions [beforehand]. We feared that they would just say that students might [want] Schedule Planner to be avoided in the first place.”

Schedule Planner is a formerly used software extension in OASIS which allowed students to view their classes in a week-by-week layout. The university stopped using the online tool in spring 2021. 

Bringing the application back, however, is a prioritized option to resolve student issues with the current system, enabling opportunities to revitalize class registration, remain organized and “optimize course selections and schedule needs,” according to USF St. Petersburg’s Academic Resources website.

As for a timeline for any potential changes, students shouldn’t expect drastic differences in the near future due to financial concerns, said Cameron.

“Ideally we’d like to have [Schedule Planner] come back but I know it may be [a financial issue] with the university,” she said. 

“We really just want our concerns addressed. Maybe not Schedule Planner, but something else that at least helps the issues that students are currently having because the current process is not that great and it’s just not that reliable or easy to use and it really creates a stressful situation for students during registration.”

Assistant Director of Media Relations Althea Johnson said in a statement that USF is dedicated to assisting students academically and the university is in the process of adapting an entirely new, consolidated course registration system.

“In partnership with Information Technology, Financial Aid, Student Financial Services and others on our campuses, the Office of the Registrar is dedicating available resources to deliver a one-stop platform that will allow students to build their course schedule, ensure course availability, observe degree progression and submit their schedule all within the familiar OASIS platform,” said Johnson. 

Looking to the future, Johnson said that while Schedule Planner may not be coming back, students will eventually be able to schedule courses with ease. She said the university understands the concerns of students and is actively working to address them.

“Student Success understands that USF’s course planning and registration tools are not yet optimal, but bringing back Schedule Planner will not necessarily help to advance the process,” she said. 

“In fact, student complaints about the Schedule Planner led us to pursue other solutions. Under the circumstances, we ask for students’ patience as we continue to invest our budget dollars and staff resources into making these significant enhancements in OASIS over the next year.” 

Some students said they are in favor of bringing Schedule Planner back. Senior cybersecurity major Jared Benhase said that without this software, he has faced significantly more hurdles while registering for his classes.

“The experience without Schedule Planner has been extremely difficult. The fact that we have to open many tabs for each course is a major pain. The web pages will usually time out in the middle of me planning courses,” said Benhase.

“I would like to see it come back. Schedule Planner really streamlined the process and made it so much easier for us to focus on getting the exact courses we need. This new process adds so much extra stress.”

Like Benhase, senior forensic studies and justice major Kalyn Lawrence has also experienced difficulties while organizing her classes using the current scheduling software. 

“I also miss Schedule Planner because it made it easy to plan out times for classes, and to see all your options in front of you instead of having three windows open trying to hunt down classes, searching for them in the system and registering for them,” said Lawrence.

Organizational difficulties aren’t the only problems students have had during class registration. Lawrence said sometimes it can be tough to even enroll in the classes one wants or needs to take. 

“I personally had difficulty getting my last major-required class due to a prerequisite that was no longer an actual prerequisite, or even an existing class anymore, so it took an extra day to get a permit to override it and get a seat,” said Lawrence. 

“On top of that, for my last three electives, classes filled up very quickly and so did the waitlists, so it was slim pickings. I think it’s a waste of our tuition, money and time if we can’t get the courses we need because there are issues with registering on USF’s end.”

Senate President Junayed Jahangir said he would also like to see Schedule Planner brought back. Due to the lack of tools to simplify course registration, such as filters for days, times and modalities, he said the current approach to register for classes is neither as efficient nor as flexible as the previously used software. 

“[Schedule Planner] had multiple different filters. What time do you want? Do you want online? Do you want fully in person,” Jahangir said. 

“Basically, [there were] a bunch of different filters that you could pick from and once you selected all your options based on those [filters] they [would] narrow down the classes that fit to your needs and show you that list.”

Student opinion is necessary to clearly establish SG’s goals, according to Jahangir, and the survey will be a vessel to gauge opinion. The survey will be available via the SG website under the legislative tab, and on the SG Instagram.

“There’s only so much we can do without really knowing what the students want. The first step is to reaffirm [what] the students want because, at this point, we’re [only] assuming what they want. Surveys are our way to reaffirm that our assumptions are spot on,” said Jahangir.

Regarding how the university will address student feedback from the upcoming SG survey, Johnson said officials plan to consider all input and take into account how students feel about a potential replacement for the current system.

“The results of the planned Student Government survey will be reviewed and any insights taken into consideration for the long-term platform solution,” said Johnson. “Students desiring to provide feedback directly are encouraged to do so via emailing the Registrar or the Office of Student Success.”

While SG works out a resolution with university officials, there are still resources students can access for technical help and assistance, according to Jahangir.

“USF has taken steps to provide resources, [such as] PDF documents and other videos that students can utilize to at least minimize the difficulty with the current system,” he said. “Try to be resourceful and use those that are out there.”