Tuesday morning, Belmont students were not able to register until 8:29 a.m., an hour and a half after registration opened.
“We take full responsibility, even though we have to work with an outside vendor,” said Paula Gill, vice president of Institutional Effectiveness. “It is just so unbelievably frustrating that we’ve let the students down. We thought we were prepared and that this would not be a situation.”
The outside vendor, Ellucian, is working to find the root cause of the problem. Despite load-testing and a capacity increased to allow 3,000 students to register simultaneously, Belmont’s Cloud environment was bogged down upon opening at 7 a.m., said Gill
“Currently, we are working directly with Ellucian, and they have devoted nine engineers and five database architects to determine the root cause of the issue,” said Gill. “We are having meetings with them every 30 minutes.”
According to Ellucian, there were more than 2,500 user sessions hitting the system at the same time — what the sessions were are unknown at this time, Gill said.
“They are looking at Belmont processes that are running across the campus, they are looking at how many unique hits are going in to our Belmont website simultaneously,” Gill said.
The issue was unexpected after successful registrations on March 31 and April 3, Gill said.
“We thought we were so prepared,” Gill said. “We have not come anywhere near meeting students’ expectations with registrations.”
Belmont students have run into registration issues semester after semester, and Gill acknowledges that it is a problem. Despite this, other than increasing capacity and dividing some registrations into two start times, no technical changes to the registration process have been made, Gill said.
On Sunday, the Vision put up a survey for students to talk about their registration experiences. Responses were all over the spectrum, with some students saying it ran smoother than it ever had and other students having a more difficult time with it.
Junior Olivia Charette filled out the survey Tuesday morning after registering for classes two hours after registration was scheduled to open.
“Stressful,” Charette said of registration. “I had to miss my 8 a.m. class for fear of losing out on the classes I wanted.”
Sophomore Daniel Mata said he woke up at 6:30 a.m. to get to a “reliable Internet source” at the library. After his first attempt opened to a blank page at 7 a.m., Mata tried multiple browsers and devices — all with no luck.
“Luckily, I was able to register for all the classes I wanted, particularly because most are major specific and I’m a sophomore registering with the junior class, but I felt exasperated that I got up two hours before I was actually able to register at 8:30 a.m.,” Mata said.
Gill has scheduled a meeting with Ellucian at noon to get more details about the issue and get to the cause of the problem.
“I am not trying to be defensive. I hate this. I really hate this,” Gill said. “All I would like to express is my sincere apologies. It is not acceptable. Students have every right to be frustrated.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
This article was written by Rebecca Arnold and Zach Gilchriest. Photo courtesy of Daniel Mata.