Boston College should improve its course registration process by increasing communication with professors and students and ensuring EagleApps is updated with accurate course information. Students and faculty both experience a great deal of uncertainty during registration week due to problems that can be fixed by providing more consistent and factual information.
Last spring, BC converted the University’s course registration system from UIS to EagleApps. The goal was to provide students with “a modern user interface with richer content and an upgraded user experience.” EagleApps, compared to UIS, certainly has its perks. It has consolidated the interface for searching and selecting courses and allows students to create pre-planned schedules. This consolidation of all of these new features has created a “one-stop-shopping” experience for BC students. Underneath the initial improvements, however, EagleApps has a long way to go before it can be deemed user friendly. BC, upon its launch of EagleApps, recognized that the new student information system was a “growing platform,” implying that there was room for further development. But as BC, in collaboration with DXtera Institute, a consultant that provides data management solutions, continues to improve EagleApps’ capabilities, effective communication to students and faculty is imperative.
During its initial launch this past summer, EagleApps failed to meet the quality standards it set out to achieve. The application was consistently reporting inaccuracies, failing to update on student information and open courses, and most importantly, failing to successfully register students for classes. The result was an undue burden on the IT department as the help center scrambled to patch bugs and provide live assistance to students. Although the effort and availability of the IT department should be commended during this whirlwind process, multiple calls to the IT team should not be necessary to register for classes.
There were, however, benefits to an early rollout of the software. For the IT department and advisees who were working tirelessly on developing EagleApps, this haphazard launch offered a wealth of knowledge about where the software needed to be improved. To a certain extent, software can only be tested so many times before an initial launch is necessary to understand its operating capabilities. The issue with the platform’s rollout was a lack of communication, as BC did not notify students that the platform would be further developed after its launch. Therefore, students feared that the hiccups and mishaps of EagleApps were potentially permanent.
EagleApps’ deficiencies required many advisers to manually register students for classes, establishing a lack of trust in the effectiveness and accuracy of the information system. Even as students are navigating spring registration, many are expecting to be barred from classes due to inaccurate restrictions or having to reach out to their adviser to override errors. EagleApps’ inaccuracy spans further than just the registration process as well. Degree audits have returned missing information about students’ major and minor requirements, which precipitate the stress of navigating a pick time itself. The inconsistencies in EagleApps’ performance have added an undue complication to students, faculty, and advisers who must now adjust to developing obstacles. While communication among these three groups has increased as a result of misinformation, communication from the University has slowed since its original updates in the last semester. Distrust in EagleApps’ capabilities continues to grow and the future of the platform at BC is undermined by its failure to report basic information accurately. In order to effectively transition from the use of UIS, the University must consistently report on the developments being made to EagleApps, including how problems are being addressed and ways in which users can better interact with the interface. Otherwise, EagleApps will simply serve as a half-hearted attempt to implement change.