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NOVO system crashes during junior class registration times

| Thursday, November 16, 2017

The course registration process was more stressful than usual for many Notre Dame juniors Wednesday morning when the NOVO registration system unexpectedly malfunctioned.

Chris Corrente, the manager of student solutions in the Office of Information Technology (OIT), said the amount of traffic during registration overloaded the system.

“The University’s class registration system runs on two servers in order to help distribute load during heavy usage,” he said in an email. “This morning, it appears the load was not properly distributed, resulting in one of the servers becoming overloaded with traffic.”

The lack of access to NOVO resulted in students registering well after their assigned registration time slots. Junior Madeline Petrovich, who had a 7 a.m. time slot, said she “wasn’t really stressed” about registering for classes until she realized none of her friends could access the system before her time slot. When the problem persisted for her, Petrovich said, “a whole panic mode” set in.

“Registering is stressful enough, and this kind of added another layer on top of it,” she said. “The one saving grace was when [my friend] came in and realized that none of the classes were filling up at like 7:20 a.m. … It was kind of a moment of realization that no one was able to register.”

Rochelle Jones, associate registrar of academic services, said the Office of the Registrar was unaware of the extent of the issue until well into Wednesday afternoon.

“We had 12 phone calls, so as far as we know, 12 students were affected,” she said. “But we don’t know because we only know who called us or who called — I know two students called the OIT Help Desk, and we received 12 calls.”

Corrente said the OIT, which remains in “close communication with the Registrar’s Office during critical system usage times such as class registration,” started working to resolve any problems with the system as soon as the Registrar’s Office notified the OIT about calls from students. Most of students’ calls, however, were not about the system overload, Jones said.

“This is what we have heard: slowness — no malfunction,” she said. “No one [had] mentioned a malfunction, all we’ve heard is slowness in the system. That’s the only reports that kept coming to our office.”

However, Petrovich said NOVO wouldn’t let her friends enter their registration pin numbers and kicked her out of the system when she tried to submit course registration numbers — which she said was the farthest point to which anyone in her group made it.

“I got all the way to the screen where I would hit submit — it had the whole calendar schedule up — and it just wouldn’t go through,” she said. “And then it would say, ‘Invalid class, reload your screen.’ So when you would reload the screen, it would take you back, all the way to the beginning to your pin to start over.”

Eventually, Petrovich said, students began turning to the old DART registration system to register.

“This is 7:25 [a.m.], so this is 25 minutes past my registration time — and [I was in] full panic mode, full stress — until I was informed to use the actual DART system,” she said. “ … It definitely made it a lot more stressful than it needed to be.”

Jones said she encouraged those who encountered a problem during registration to email the Office of the Registrar and explain their experiences. Calling the Office in the midst of registration likely didn’t occur to most juniors since they are used to NOVO malfunctioning in some way, Petrovich said.

“There’s always been problems with NOVO,” she said. “I don’t think anyone has ever had a successful NOVO experience. That’s the only platform that we’ve used now, as juniors, so since freshman year, I’ve never had it go perfectly each time. … So we’ve always had these issues, but we didn’t realize how wide-scale the issue was.”

The OIT is working to ensure sophomores and freshmen who register within the next week do not have any trouble with NOVO, Corrente said.

“The OIT will be taking measures Wednesday and Thursday evening to enhance our infrastructure and better prevent performance issues for subsequent class registrations,” he said. “As usual, the OIT will be monitoring system performance during sophomore and freshman registration on Friday and Monday.”

In the event of anyone encountering difficulties with the registration system, Jones said, students should contact the Office of the Registrar as soon as possible.

“Any of the students who called us, we responded to immediately,” she said. “We can’t respond to you if you don’t call us.”

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About Courtney Becker

Courtney is a junior from New York City majoring in film, television and theater with a minor in journalism, and currently serving as News Editor. She is a proud resident of Pasquerilla West Hall and a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

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