myOswego bugs, crashes hamper spring registration

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(Devon Nitz | The Oswegonian)

Following a tumultuous couple of weeks fraught with a steady stream of bugs and crashes of the myOswego system, Campus Technology Services decided to switch back to its previous user interface early Wednesday morning.

Sean Moriarty, chief technology officer of CTS, said the majority of the problems that prevented students from being able to access myOswego stemmed from the new user interface, which was put into place last month and divides the links into differently laid out categories.

“We had switched to the new interface with the idea that we wanted to provide a better experience for the students,” Moriarty said. “And the new interface is easier to navigate, but it also puts a lot more load on the system, and it can handle the load, until you get to the stress point, which is registration for the spring and winter semester.”

Moriarty said that, since seniors generally graduate in spring and thus do not partake in fall registration, a much larger quantity of students register for the spring semester, putting a large amount of stress on the system.

Perhaps feeling just as stressed as the system are Oswego State students, many of whom faced difficult preparation or delayed registration times as a result of myOswego crashes.

Sophomore psychology major Maggie Finnegan said she had three separate meetings with her adviser over the past two weeks that were disrupted by not being able to log into myOswego.

“Every time we tried to go on Degree Works to figure out which classes I needed, I just couldn’t do it,” Finnegan said. “So when I actually went to register I kind of just guessed what classes I needed to take, it was very frustrating.”

There have been a total of seven outages since Nov. 4, according to data provided by CTS. The time of the outages ranged from 15 minutes to an hour and a half, the most recent of which occurred Wednesday at 3 p.m., several hours after CTS had switched myOswego back to the old interface.

Moriarty said CTS is working with Ellucian, the company that owns the Banner system myOswego operates under, to solve all problems. Moriarty said, however, that switching back to the old system will help prevent further crashes.

“Switching to the new interface does put a lot more load on the system, so switching back to the old one seems to have done it,” Moriarty said. “But we’ll just keep watching. The proof’s in the pudding, so I don’t want to say we’ve got it solved, but it does look like we’ve pinpointed it down to this.”

In the meantime, concern will continue for students yet to register. Allen Wengert, a resident assistant in Cayuga Hall, said he has heard concerns from many of his residents.

“Especially the freshmen,” Wengert, a senior broadcasting major, said. “They’ve never registered before, so it’s a very stressful time for them, but the fact that now they can’t get on the time that they need to get on, they’ve just been stressing out a lot, and there’s not much I can do except tell them ‘Let CTS know.’ They feel kind of helpless.”

Wengert was preparing for his own registration on Sunday, Nov. 3 when he noticed myOswego was down. After checking the system several times over the next few hours, Wengert took to Twitter to see if anyone else had similar problems.

“I got all these responses from other people who also weren’t able to get on, so I figured that it was going to get fixed throughout the day,” Wengert said, “but it didn’t, so at 11 o’clock I tweeted at SUNY Oswego and they got back to me within like two minutes and said it was working on their end, but they were going to do something about it and then about five minutes later the email came out.”

Wengert noted that both CTS and Oswego State were quick to respond to tweets about problems with the system. The CTS twitter has been filled over the past week with updates and responses to those tweeting grievances about the system.

“I know that it’s a stressful time of the year for students and it’s a bad time for the system to really not be working,” Moriarty said. “Because when the student have their window they’re expecting to go and register and they’ll probably have go off to class if the systems not working, so I think we really put a high value in terms of making sure the system works and we feel bad that it wasn’t working, but I think we did what we could to go and resolve the problem.”

Moriarty said that CTS has plans to switch back to the new interface after all students have registered.

“We’ll go back and look at it and do the timing that we want to do,” Moriarty said. “Because I think there is value in the new user interface. It was easier for the students to go in and manage. It makes it easier for the student to learn that system.”

Finnegan said that the interface doesn’t matter to her, as long as the system is reliable.

“I would totally just 100 percent prefer that it just be working,” Finnegan said, “I don’t care how it looks, I’d rather that it just work.”