By Sarah Berjan
Upon receiving 402 calls from students about registration issues between Jan. 7 and 15, City College extended its spring 2019 registration deadline by one week, until Feb. 4.
The issues were created by City College’s administrative software Banner 9, which the college implemented on Nov. 11, 2018. Its predecessor, Banner 8, was going to no longer be supported by the end of 2018.
According to the City College website, Banner 9 delivers a fresh user experience, new tools and improved functionality across all areas where used. It also functions on mobile devices.
But for two months, the college community has coped with a fusillade of malfunctions and technical difficulties. When they tried enrolling online both before and during the first day of school, students were met by the message, “An error has occurred during the processing of your registration. Please try to submit again.”
“It’s been annoying. There is not a lot of direction to it. It’s kind of confusing, more than what it should be,” third-semester student Christian Thomas said. “I have not been able to register in any other classes than the one that I registered for a while back. I’ve been told to go to my classes and pick up an add form, but either way, it is still taking a while.”
Chancellor Dr. Mark Rocha stated on Jan. 8 that no classes will be cut until all Banner 9 registration issues are resolved. He apologized, and assured that the college’s information technology staff was addressing the problem “24/7.”
“Our first concern is for our students and their ability to register for the courses they need this
spring. We also want to minimize the impact on part-time faculty who are scheduled to teach
this spring,” Rocha stated.
College officials have urged students in a series of emails to register in person, call a help-line and show up to class even if unlisted in the system. They advised a “temporary plan-B” where students they may register in person at any college center, and stated that the college will open registration offices during nights and weekends if necessary.
The Outreach Department stated in an email that until Jan. 28, credited students do not need an add-code to enroll in classes with space available. Add-codes themselves have proved dysfunctional.
“I was first on the waitlist, then the wait list totally disappeared. I couldn’t even see my courses anymore,” fourth-semester student Caroline Johnson said. Then, when I finally got the add-code from my professor, I tried to add it. Then, it said it was just invalid. I got a new one from him today, and the same thing happened.”
While the college has made many efforts to ameliorate problems related to student registration, the issues extend beyond classes themselves. With the Banner 9’s “Student Portal” feature down, transferring students were also inconvenienced by the software malfunction.
Former City College journalism student Nancy Chan was asked to provide her student transcript during her orientation at Sacramento State University. But she could not access her Student Portal.
“It was odd because I tried clicking the “Student Portal” page, but it didn’t load. The other pages loaded but that one did not,” Chan said. “It’s borderline unacceptable to have these issues at the beginning of the semester when everyone needs to access this information and services.”
The Jan. 24 board of trustees meeting will feature a presentation about the Banner 9 malfunctions. Students can receive immediate assistance by calling the Help Desk at 415-239-3711 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Help Desk is staffed 24/7-365.