Paperless Registration Highlights Digital Trend

February 6, 2003

Elizabeth Singreen, <i>Hullabaloo</i> Contributing Writer

The confirmation for Spring Semester schedules were moved out of the University Center for the first time this school year. As a result, eighty percent of the Tulane student body confirmed their registration on-line, reflecting a large increase in the use of digital documentation on campus. According to Louis Crispino, Sr. Programmer for TIS, Technology Infrastructure Services, these statistics indicate a trend that has sprung forth from the implementation of digital registration resources in the fall of 2001.

At that time about 20% of the registration was done via the Web as opposed to about 80% on the TUTOR telephone system, Crispino said, during the most current priority registration period, for Spring 2003, we are now seeing about 77% of all registrations being done on the Web, instead of over the phone.

In addition to these numbers, the Tulane body during the last few days of actual registration used the online TOUR services ninety four percent of the time, as opposed to the leftover six percent using the automated phone system. This is when more Freshmen are scheduled to register, Crispino said, our feeling is that Freshmen haven't had the prior experience with the TUTOR telephone registration system that upper classmen have, and are even more likely to use the Web. Students and administration alike are pleased with the recent switch in used technologies.

Dr. John Lawson, Vice President for Information Technology at Tulane University, sees the improvements with the online registration system, and its ease, as the reasoning behind its sudden appeal. "[What we want is a] non-stop environment where students can process things administratively and academically over the web," said Lawson.

To continue the positive improvements in online services, the TOUR system has seen an increase in its hours of use. In accordance with a resolution passed by USG, TOUR will stay open until midnight, instead of 10 pm. The administration and the USG body hope that this will aid students away from school on break on the West Coast, and in similar time zones, in being able to make as much use of the TOUR system as their southern counterparts.

In addition, Lawson and others at TIS hope to combine the operations of TOUR with those of the financial aid office, accounts receivable, and the admissions office in one single, comprehensive student information system, to further benefit the Tulane student body. Aside from TOUR, programs like Blackboard are also helping in furthering Tulane along the digital highway. Thirty percent of all courses, totaling 410 in all, use at least some of the functions offered on Blackboard.

While problems with the speed of the program, and its accessibility have flooded the TIS office in the past, Hugh Lester, director of the Tulane Innovative Learning Center, assures that these complaints have been quelled following the December upgrade.

Overall, the success of digital programs such as TOUR and Blackboard assure the Tulane administration and TIS offices that the student body responds well to Internet services. This positive response will aid in the future creation and implementation of similar projects, and the improvement on current sources, such as the Tulane Webmail services.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000