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Juniors attempting to pre-register for next semester's classes on Banner Tuesday morning faced a temporary service disruption, triggering campus-wide frustration over delays that lasted more than 10 minutes. The disruption was caused by an internal server error that may have been a result of the new Brown Course Scheduler, which was incorporated into Banner for the first time during this pre-registration period, according to Senior Associate Registrar Robert Fitzgerald.

"There was a performance issue this morning," Fitzgerald said Tuesday. Computing and Information Services "has been looking into it all day," he said.

Registration for rising seniors opened at 8 a.m., but students were not able to enroll in classes until the server error was resolved at approximately 8:12 a.m., Fitzgerald said. He said the new scheduler — which includes a shopping cart feature allowing students to register pre-selected classes directly from previously generated schedules — may have contributed to the disruption because more students were attempting to register more classes at the same time.

Fitzgerald said the service issue, which also affected students browsing Banner but not attempting to register, seemed to correct itself after about 10 minutes. Though his office did not receive specific complaints regarding the scheduler, he said his office fielded six to 10 calls from students inquiring about the disruption during the brief snafu.

CIS will allocate more central processing units Wednesday, when registration opens to rising juniors, in an attempt to combat whatever caused the Banner server interruption, Fitzgerald said. "We'll monitor it in the morning and see what happens," he said. "Hopefully, nothing happens, and it's a non-event."

Students said they were able to log in to Banner and navigate to the screen that would allow them to add or drop classes, before being directed to a window indicating an internal server error. Neither refreshing the page nor attempting to navigate to the previous page alleviated the problem, said Arune Gulati '11.

"I opened up two browsers, and that didn't work," he said, adding that Banner continued to redirect him to the error page for about 20 minutes. "It happened to a bunch of my friends, too."

Ariel Hudes '11 said she logged in to Banner to register for a specific, capped class, only to find that the site was not working. "I started yelling through the walls making sure it wasn't just my computer malfunctioning," she said. After her suitemates confirmed the server disruption, she said she decided it would be safe to wait until later in the morning to register.

Students also said the frustration induced by the error page — evident on many social networking sites — brought to mind last month's server error that inhibited many students from purchasing Spring Weekend tickets. Though he was ultimately not shut out of classes he intends to take next fall, Gulati said he thought the people in charge of Brown's servers would have "learned from the mistake of Spring Weekend tickets."

And though the server disruption did not affect him directly because he did not attempt to register until after the problem had been resolved, Marc Firestein '11 also said he was concerned with the malfunctioning servers. "I was one of those people who sat through the Spring Weekend fiasco," he said. "It's interesting that they kind of allowed it to happen" again.

Though the scheduler was the only new feature on Banner, Fitzgerald said both the registrar's office and CIS were not sure the program was the source of the service problem.

During the first hour of the pre-registration period, there were 882 students who recorded registrations, Fitzgerald said, adding that this was a dramatic increase from previous years, when about 500 rising seniors enrolled in classes. Though there is no way to determine whether students registered through the traditional Banner process or by using the new scheduler, he said Banner recorded more simultaneous registrations, indicating more students were registering classes at one time yesterday than during past registration periods.

Before yesterday's registration opened, more than one-third of students had already started organizing their schedules through the scheduler's shopping cart, Fitzgerald said, adding that many of the carts were "pretty substantial."

Though unrelated to yesterday's error, the scheduler also experienced service disruptions last weekend, when it was taken down for a "minor tweak" to the suggestion link on the Web site, which proved incompatible with students' Gmail accounts, Fitzgerald said.


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