SEVERAL ATENEANS complained about experiencing problems with getting into their classes during the second semester enlistment period.
A new online enlistment batching system was implemented during the break in October, where batching was reduced to two from the original four.
“The new system became a hassle for the students who always regarded online enlistment [as] fast and convenient,” said legal management senior Christian Uy.
He added, “The [slowing down of the server] removed from us the privilege of enlisting and choosing our desired subjects and professors.”
He said that if student traffic in the Ateneo Integrated Student Information System (Aisis) had been properly recognized and given attention, the slow servers would not have been a problem. “I was part of the ‘supposed-to-be’ first batch,” Uy said.
Vice President for the Loyola Schools John Paul Vergara, PhD said that the change in the batching system was actually an answer to students’ complaints of the enlistment system being “unfair.”
He instructed the Management Information Systems (MIS) Office to create the two-batch system in order to address the problem of some students being randomly assigned to fourth batch all the time.
Vergara mentioned that the higher anxiety among students caused them to open more Aisis accounts in several computers during enlistment, which made the servers slower.
Sanggunian President Gio Alejo said that the administration’s plans were made transparent to the student government, whose main role in the matter was to consult the students and give feedback. Vergara said that he requested the Registrar’s Office and the MIS to consult the Sanggunian.
“In the end, it was our decision that we will have two batches. That part is clear,” said Alejo in a mix of English and Filipino.
School Registrar Joaquin Agtarap explained that a better and more equitable registration system was something the students asked for. He said that these points for improvement raised by students were addressed with the new batching system.
With the two-batch system, Ateneans get designated in both batches at separate times within a school year. A student who is part of the first batch during the first semester will automatically be part of the second batch the following semester.
The students’ batches during the first semester are determined randomly. The same applies to summer enlistment.
Batching for the current semester, however, was determined through the students’ batches from the previous semester, during which the two-batch system was not yet in place. Those who were in the first and second batches last semester were assigned to the second batch this semester, while those previously in the third and fourth batches were placed in the first.
Moreover, students who belonged to the first batch in the online enlistment were placed in the third and fourth batches for manual registration. Those who belonged to the second batch in the online enlistment were given priority for manual registration.
Slow servers, delisting woes
“Even with Ateneo’s well-known fast Internet connection, I still experienced lags when [trying to] connect to the system,” said fifth year computer engineering major Jhester Barbaso.
Communication senior Mark del Rosario experienced this as well. “There were instances when the site would just crash and I had to repeat selecting and confirming classes,” he said.
Outgoing Ateneo Registration Committee Head Edward Chua said Agtarap and the MIS team observed unexpected behavior among the students enlisting in the Rizal Library.
“Instead of the space [allotted] for one student only, it [became] two or three spaces per student—that’s why the servers slowed down,” he said.
However, Agtarap said that they were monitoring the performance of the system the whole time. He said that the Aisis servers only slowed down for the first 30 minutes during the seniors and superseniors’ enlistment day.
He added that within an hour, they were able to address the students’ concerns. Online activity was already tapering down on the second and third hour of every batch. Fewer complaints were heard from students the following enlistment days.
Aside from slower servers, Vergara mentioned that some students were also complaining of being “delisted” from their classes.
“Technically, they weren’t. Somebody beat them to the slot. It’s like, go to Amazon—two stocks left—click on the button. By the time you click on the button, the two stocks have already been bought. That’s how it is,” he said.
Agtarap had noticed that there were a number of students who, even with available slots, brought up concerns that no required classes had any more slots for them.
There were also some who deliberately created conflicts in their schedules just to be able to transfer to another class, Agtarap added.
Chua mentioned that some problems stemmed from the fact that some students really just wanted certain classes.
“Bobby Guevara can’t teach the whole senior batch. Father Dacanay can’t teach the whole senior batch. Just because you don’t get your first choice doesn’t mean you’re [going to] run out of teachers. There are teachers to teach,” said Agtarap, who found it disappointing that some students were not honest about some enlistment problems.
Even having experienced problems with enlistment, Del Rosario said he preferred the new two-batch system. “There is a sense of ‘fairness’ since people will be switching batches such that no one can really be always lucky or always unlucky.”
Chua also thought it was a wise move to reduce the number of batches down to two. “But, of course, we have to optimize the system.”
Vergara said, “My instinct tells me that we should go for a two-batch system. It’s a matter of getting used to it.”
“But now I am also kind of convinced that if you have two batches, you’ll have more unhappy people also. If you’re in batch one, you feel like you have the priority. But half of that batch will not get what they want… There were a lot more unsatisfied enlisters,” he added.
Uy, meanwhile, found the two-batch system problematic. “I think [the administration] must [look for] alternatives on how to reduce the traffic and maintain the site beforehand,” he said.
“I still prefer the former system because I think that has been more efficient and that is the system I am accustomed to.”
Alejo suggested that if there are any changes to be implemented in the enlistment procedure, it would be better to change the order of the different year levels’ respective enlistment days and have the freshmen, who are only enlisting for a few subjects, register before the seniors, who are enlisting for almost all their subjects.
Vergara believes that the concerned offices would be able to implement the two-batch system more smoothly next semester since they already know which parameters to fine-tune.