Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Mocha integration among Banner changes on tap

With Banner up and running, the University is turning its attention to accommodating complaints from students and faculty with a list of online registration enhancements. Next semester, administrators will provide a printed Course Announcement Bulletin and merge Banner and Mocha, among other changes.

Those changes "are very focused on student experience and are important elements for planning a curriculum," said Associate Provost Nancy Dunbar, who played a key role in creating the new Banner system at Brown. She is leaving at the end of the semester, but created the comprehensive list of improvements that administrators in the Registrar's Office and at Computing and Information Services will need to address in the coming months and years.

"The list of the changes will keep people meeting for a long time," she said. The list was created based on surveys of students and conversations with students, advisers and faculty since Banner course registration was implemented last April. The list was distributed to Meiklejohn advisers for their opinions.

"When we started this whole process, I knew that I was going to make a lot of decisions and I knew a certain percentage would be bad," Dunbar said. "At this point, we know the kind of things that need to change. We're just not sure how yet."

Students who responded to an unscientific poll conducted by the Undergraduate Council of Students agreed that a change is in order. Many students responded in favor of a printed course catalogue and improving Banner's search feature. Overall, 11.3 percent of respondents were very satisfied with registration through Banner.

"It was confusing," said Michelle Levinson '11 of her registration process. "I figured it out by working with other people, and it went a lot smoother registering for next semester. But a printed course listing would have helped" both last semester and this semester, she said.

Advisers are also looking forward to the reprinting of the CAB.

"I know the Biology department and classes, but I need the book to help students contemplating courses in different departments," said Marjorie Thompson, associate dean of biological sciences. "With the online system, you need to know what you are looking for, instead of browsing. It's like going into a restaurant and instead of being able to look at a menu needing to come up with something out of your head."

"I think I would have been less overwhelmed, as a freshman, if I could have had the printed CAB, and not been tied to a computer for the whole picking classes and registration process," said Mallory Taub '08, a first-year Meiklejohn adviser. "I know for me, I'm just kind of ignoring Banner and shopping whatever classes I want."

"We realized that the Course Announcement Bulletin created a foundation for advising that was not easily replaced by a computer screen. Paperless is not the best thing," said University Registrar Michael Pesta. However, Pesta and Dunbar agreed that, because aspects of courses are always changing, the online course listings will be the most reliable source for course information.

As for the incorporation of Mocha, a student-created alternative to the old Brown Online Course Announcement that has become widely popular, into Banner, Dunbar and Pesta said it will alleviate many of the complaints.

"Mocha was built for the way students search - it was built for Brown and has the creativity of people that have worked in Brown's environment," said Dunbar.

Some of the other issues on the list include finding a new way to show XLIST classes (phantom classes that help students find classes they might be interested in from other departments), which are currently not on Banner; increasing the size of the menu list of departments in the search feature; extending or eliminating the five-minute time-out during registration and adding a pop-up message when students drop a class to make sure they actually want to drop it.

Aside from the complaints and future changes in store for Banner, many students and administrators said the switch to Banner was a good one.

"I think the electronic registration was easier, faster and on the whole more streamlined. I like that I could do everything from my room," said former Herald Staff Writer Ila Tyagi '09, whose only complaint was that the interface could be more friendly.

"Banner replaced 11-12 information systems with this one system. Registration is really only one aspect of Banner - but for students it is everything. Everything else is invisible and working quite well," said Dunbar. The final version of Banner will hold students' information from the start of their application process until they graduate.

- With additional reporting by Chaz Firestone


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.