Spring 2020 is the first semester that all students chose their classes through Workday, the new course registration system. This completed the transition that began during the fall of 2019 during which only first-years, new transfer students and Davis scholars used the registration platform. Prior to that, all students selected their courses through Bannerweb.
On Jan. 25, 2018, Wellesley Chief Information Officer (CIO) Ravi Ravishankar sent out an email announcing that spring registration for fall 2019 classes would be the last semester in which students would use Bannerweb. Ravishankar said at the time that Ellucian, the company that owned Banner, was purchased by another company, which resulted in the transition. He added that the transition had been in the works for over a year, and that a third-party company called Alchemy was hired to help roll out Workday.
Throughout October and November, the Office of the Registrar sent out tips to help students with the transition to Workday. These have included pointers for creating a saved schedule, for registering for PE classes and for preparing backup courses. Registration took place during the week of Nov. 11 and it was originally stated that registration appointments would be assigned by semesters spent at the college as opposed to class year. However, according to Davis Scholar Alex Ewing ’22, this was later amended to the previous class year-based system, following emails to the registration office from her and several other Davis Scholars and transfer students.
“To be told that spring 2020 registration would be determined entirely by how many semesters a student has previously been on campus was absurd,” Ewing said. “If it is difficult for the office, I hope they recognize how much more difficult it must be for us to be told the weekend before registration that the entire policy was changed and we were both not informed and not contacted to give input about [it].”
Despite these issues, of the 135 students who responded to a Wellesley News survey, most had positive Workday experiences. Respondents were asked to grade Workday registration on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being the worst possible experience and 5 being the best possible experience. 105 students, or 77.8 percent of respondents, rated Workday registration at a 4 or 5. Only five students rated Workday at a 1.
Almost 85 percent of returning students, 94 of whom responded on the survey, said that they preferred Workday to Bannerweb registration, and around 80 percent of all students surveyed said they did not experience technological issues while they were registering for classes. Some students expressed relief that instead of entering Course Registration Numbers (CRN) as was required in Bannerweb, they could just press a ‘register’ button and move to the next course.
Still, the new system was not glitch-free. Students reported a variety of different concerns with Workday — two noted that the waitlist on the course browser did not update properly, another complained that the registration page took much longer than it should have to refresh after 8 a.m. Another issue that came up was that some students were barred from registering from classes for which there were prerequisites. One student explains:
“I attempted to register for courses, and was informed that I did not have the prerequisites for a class that is essential for my major. I do have the prerequisites, and the course still had spots open when I clicked the register button at 8:00:05 a.m. Then when I tried to manually add the course, I was told that I was already registered for it, which I wasn’t. And when I contacted the Registrar, they told me that it was because the class was already full, but that wasn’t true.”
Registration will reopen for all Wellesley students on Nov. 25 at 8 a.m. and will close on Dec. 14.