CAESAR improvements ease winter class selection

For one of her last registration appointments, Communication senior Sarah Mintz had an unexpectedly pleasant experience as she opened up CAESAR’s Web site to select her Winter Quarter classes.

Mintz found links to Course and Teacher Evaluation Council surveys and course descriptions alongside her classes on CAESAR, allowing her to view student opinions of professors and class curriculums while registering.

“When I first saw it and then clicked on it, I got really excited,” Mintz said. “It just made everything go a lot quicker.”

During its weekly maintenance period on Sunday morning, the Office of the Registrar implemented new links on CAESAR, just in time for regular Winter Quarter registration.

The updates came after lobbying from Associated Student Government’s Academic Committee as well as a reformatting of the CTECs, said university registrar Suzanne Anderson.

“The students felt it was really important to do this as an efficient way to find information,” she said.

Slivka Residence Hall Sen. Gokul Kumar introduced a bill to ASG earlier this quarter asking for the improvements to CAESAR.

Anderson said while the registrar’s office made the additions a priority this year, the bill helped hasten the office’s response time.

After meeting with registration officials Wednesday, Kumar said he encouraged administrators to add the links for this week’s registration. Officials told him they were unsure if they could make the options available in time.

“They were receptive and finished it over the weekend, which they said if they had time they would try to do,” said Kumar, a McCormick senior.

ASG Academic Vice President Tamara Kagel said was she pleased to see her committee’s efforts materialize so quickly for students.

“Students already have to try and figure out entire schedule in the course of a half an hour and it’ll just cater to their needs,” said Kagel, a Communication junior.

Mintz said she also appreciated the efforts of ASG and registrar officials.

“I don’t see a lot of things ASG directly does in terms of helping me with my own classes,” Mintz said. “So this was a really big deal and I was very impressed. This helps people figure out a lot more about their classes than they originally might have.

“Being able to (learn) about teachers and course descriptions is really helpful — not just for me but for anyone registering.”

But registering did not go as well for other seniors Monday.

Anderson said registrar officials noticed CAESAR was working slowly early in the morning and contacted Northwestern University Information Technology about the problem around 8:30 a.m. But IT didn’t have time to fix the slow servers before students bombarded the network, bogging the system down even more.

IT traced the problem to incorrect settings left on CAESAR servers after routine weekend maintenance, said Tom Board, director of technology support services.

Everything was working as usual by 1:15 p.m., Board said. He said he doesn’t expect any more problems as registration continues.

“Because everyone was blocked out at the same time, there was no advantage,” Anderson said.

But the registrar’s office couldn’t shift enrollment times, so students with earlier appointments had more competition for classes.