BYU plans online registration upgrades for Spring 2012 courses

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BYU administrators plan to roll out enhancements that will make registration easier and more secure for students and faculty as students begin registering in February for Spring Semester 2012 classes.

Michael Brown, director, IT communications, for the Office of Information Technology, said “the registration improvements are part of continual improvement to an already good system that will make the field a little more fair for everyone.” For example, it will close at least one loophole. It has been possible in the past for more upperclass students to reserve a spot in a course and then allow underclass members with later registration windows to take those seats as the more upperclass student drops the course.

As part of the improved system, students will enjoy better wait listing opportunities. Students will be able to see how many students are already on any given wait list before they add themselves to the list. They can then, opt to add themselves to the wait list. Once they have been added, students will not have to continually check to see if spots open up in the classes they are trying to get into because the system will automatically hold their place in line, register them, and notify them of the action.

According to University Registrar, Jeff Bunker, this, “first-in-line, first-in-class” policy will make it more fair for students by preventing students with higher priority registration dates from registering for classes for their friends.

“This will make sure the long-existing practice of students holding and registering spots for other students will no longer be effective,” Bunker said.

In addition to what officials describe as a more fair and efficient resource for students, the system will better promote security. By using tests called CAPTCHAS which determine whether online entries are entered by a computer or a person, the registration system will be able to more effectively monitor and limit access to programs that could possibly allow identity thieves to misuse students’ online IDs and passwords.

“This will reduce unauthorized access to the system which degrades performance of the registration system and at the same time has the potential of compromising student security,” Bunker said.

With the registration system enhancements also comes the renewed warning to students to protect their NetIDs and passwords, which are keys to many online university services including personal financial information, grades and private, non-directory information.

Valinda Rose, product manager for Identity and Access Management for BYU said students need to watch where they put personal information.

“Sometimes we are too lackadaisical in our approach to security,” Rose said.

Rose said sometimes people will hack smaller websites where people have shared their information and turn around and use that stolen information on bigger websites. Rose suggests that students who have placed their NetID or password into other websites, change their passwords though MyBYU.

Students will benefit from the many improvements in the near future and the coming years, according to Bunker.

“It’s one part of a major registration enhancement and we’re confident it’s going to be a significant service for our students,” Bunker said.

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