Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Students report ongoing issues with CAESAR

Jaci+Casazza%2C+the+assistant+provost+for+university+records+and+university+registrar%2C+said+the+University+plans+to+introduce+new+software+in+the+coming+years+to+replace+some+CAESAR+features.
Illustration by Shveta Shah
Jaci Casazza, the assistant provost for university records and university registrar, said the University plans to introduce new software in the coming years to replace some CAESAR features.

When Student Enterprise Systems redesigned CAESAR in 2017, students were hopeful that the interface would be more user-friendly. However, Northwestern students have continued to report difficulties with login and class registration.

Several students said when they attempt to log in to CAESAR, they are redirected to a screen that says they have been logged out.

“There’s a whole issue where you’re trying to sign in and then it takes you to some other page that’s completely unrelated,” McCormick freshman Roman Pantazopoulos said. “You have to keep reloading the page and it sucks so bad.”

This sign-in issue contributes to a poor user experience, Pantazopoulos added.

Another issue students reported has to do with CAESAR’s user interface — the onscreen layout of various sections of the website. CAESAR, which is based on a software package called Oracle Campus Solutions, was originally introduced in 1999. Although Oracle updates the software occasionally, several students said the interface remains confusing to navigate.

“Before I was actually enrolled as a student, just after getting accepted, trying to use CAESAR was very tough,” SESP freshman Hope Jordan said. “It was very confusing. I think it could definitely use some updates and a bit more clear formatting.”

The CAESAR student homepage features 10 categorical tiles, including “Profile,” “Degree Progress,” “Academic Records” and “Manage Classes.” Students said the interface gets increasingly complicated and confusing to navigate within the categories.

Pantazopoulos said he encountered another issue within one of these sub-menus. When he opens CTECs — or course and teacher evaluations — for a class, he said CAESAR creates a new tab with the CTECs and closes the previous tab so he is unable to return to his class search.

Jaci Casazza, the assistant provost for university records and university registrar, manages CTECs and class listings on CAESAR. She said the University has received complaints about CAESAR, but it is difficult to update Oracle’s old software.

“Students find class registration to be confusing at first, expect better phone compatibility, and we all wish that the degree audit were easier to understand and use,” Casazza said in a statement to The Daily. “We communicate this feedback to the vendor or appropriate Northwestern team to help ensure the best possible user experience.”

Casazza said NU does not plan to update the CAESAR interface since it is not an NU product. However, she said the University is examining alternatives to CAESAR for class registration.

Pantazopoulos said such an alternative cannot come soon enough, and he offered several recommendations for changes to CAESAR.

“Have someone redo the whole website,” he said. “Make the CTECs things better. It’s annoying that you have to go and open a new tab and try to redo that whole thing. Just make it all accessible in one spot.”

Pantazopoulos also said when he attempted to register for classes at his assigned time, the classes appeared to be available, but then did not allow him to register because they had filled up in seconds.

In response to student concerns about the current state of CAESAR, Casazza said the University monitors student complaints to NU Information Technology and plans to eventually implement new systems to replace several CAESAR features.

“A new wave of student information systems is being built now that are some years away from being functional for Northwestern,” she said. “We’re very active in advisory groups for these new products, so the vendors know what our students, faculty and staff need and expect.”

Email: [email protected]

X: @IsaiahStei27

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