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Office of the Registrar returns to DART registration system

| Monday, April 16, 2018

After experiencing delays and slowness during course registration last semester, the Office of the Registrar has decided to return to DART registration and take down the NOVO system for the duration of this semester’s registration period.

Both DART and NOVO were designed by the company Ellucian Banner, University registrar Chuck Hurley said. When NOVO was released in 2015, the Office of the Registrar began to transition to the system, and up until last semester, had not seen significant issues with the program, Hurley said.

“In November, we had a very odd experience which was that senior registration went well,” he said. “Then junior registration went and we saw a great deal of slowness in the system — 30 second response times, things like that. Sometimes even slower than that. Then sophomores registered and things went well. Then first year students registered and we saw the slowness come back again.”

To address the issue, the University reported the issues to Ellucian Banner and began to speak with other colleges using the same software.

“They were reporting the exact same error message that we saw on the back end, which is a database deadlocking error and so we found that a great concern,” Hurley said. “One of them contacted us just a little bit over a week ago and said they were still seeing it.”

As a result, the Office of the Registrar and the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) decided to transfer to the DART system, Chris Corrente, OIT manager of student solutions, said.

“Over the past several weeks, the OIT conducted multiple load tests of NOVO and DART, and the results demonstrated that DART performed better under heavy load,” Corrente said. “We thus decided, in collaboration with the Registrar’s Office, to disable NOVO and solely rely on DART for the heavy registration cycle.”

Still, Corrente said, the Office of the Registrar and OIT hope to return to NOVO after resolving issues in the system.

“Despite the fact that we are switching back to DART for this registration period, the OIT and the Registrar’s Office will continue to work with Ellucian to address the performance issues, as our goal is to make the NOVO service available again during future heavy registration cycles,” he said. “We also will be turning the NOVO system back online once we get through the heavy registration period over the next week.”

The times for registration have also expanded, Hurley said, to further prevent slowness. Whereas students previously registered between 6:45 a.m. and 8 a.m., they will now register between 6:30 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. with 10 minutes between each registration wave.

“It’s the same amount of students in each class,” Hurley said. “We’re just stretching it out a little bit. The vendor said — it’s like anything — you try to put a load over a longer period, they believe it will help the system rather than it not being as intense, so we’ve added 15 minutes onto the front end of registration … and another 20 minutes on the back.”

To make the registration process as smooth as possible, Hurley said, students should be sure to have the Course Reference Numbers (CRN’s) for their potential classes ready at the time of registration. Those on campus should also use the Eduroam Wi-Fi network, as the system will not work on the ND-Guest network.

Hurley said students should not hesitate to reach out to the Office of the Registrar with questions.

“The people in this office care deeply about the students and about the registration experience because they understand that from being in Zahm or Cavanaugh and registering themselves as students,” Hurley said. “And they’ve had that experience of, for example, in some cases, having a child here who has registered. And they know that it is a stressful experience for students and so we’re here in the Registrar’s office to help students as best we can with this and so if students run into problems, they should call us and [we’ll] do everything that we possibly can to help them out.”

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About Natalie Weber

Natalie is a sophomore majoring in English with minors in Journalism, Ethics & Democracy and Computing & Digital Technologies. She serves as News Editor at The Observer and is a native of Western Colorado.

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