Course Sign-Up System Gets High Marks for Usability

Testers Put Orion Through its Paces as Online Registration Gets Under Way

April 14, 2009

The University's new course registration system received promising reviews recently when the Orion administrative team invited a group of 10 students to log in and give it a try.

MacKenzie Hird, a sophomore physics major, said registering for classes was as easy as shopping online.

“It’s really easy to get the hang of Orion,” Hird said.  “I spent about 10 minutes researching how to use the system, and then I scrolled through the class schedule to see what courses I needed and that were available.  After that, I was ready to enroll.  I selected the classes, made a few clicks, and I was done.”

Orion, which operates on the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions platform, will replace the SIS registration system.   All students will be required to use Orion for fall 2009 to register, view financial aid for fall 2009 and update personal information. 

According to Jennifer McDowell, deputy director of records and registration, navigating PeopleSoft is relatively simple because there are no screen numbers to memorize and everything is menu-driven. 

“As in Hird’s case, most students will find they have little need for many menu items beyond student contacts, class schedule, admissions and financial aid or billing information,” McDowell said.

Additional functionality, such as viewing transcripts and making payments, will be available in late summer. 

“One of the other really nice functions of Orion is that, as an undergraduate, I can see the core requirements for my major and know what classes I still need to take to fulfill my prerequisites,” Hird said.  “There’s a learning curve with Orion, but I think it’s short and in the end, students will be happier with its usability.”  

Enrollment appointments are available only to currently enrolled students, and all students will still use SIS when they register for summer classes. 

“Our test of Orion went as we expected,” McDowell said.  “We received positive feedback from most students, and they’re reporting that they’re pleased with the look and feel of Orion.” 

McDowell said the Student Financial module of Orion is expected to go live in early July, at which time University staff will be able to calculate tuition and fee bills and begin collecting payments for fall courses.

About Orion
Orion is a Web-based information portal that will eventually manage virtually every aspect of a student’s academic career, from registering for classes to paying parking fines, to applying for graduation.  Orion operates on the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions platform, a comprehensive suite of software that gives users real-time information.  


Media Contact: Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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“One of the other really nice functions of Orion is that, as an undergraduate, I can see the core requirements for my major and know what classes I still need to take to fulfill my prerequisites.”

MacKenzie Hird, sophomore physics major

  MacKenzie Hird

 

Fall 2009 Registration Schedule


The pre-registration schedule, already under way, is as follows:

  • Beginning April 6: Graduate students will be able to pre-register for fall classes.  The exact enrollment appointment for each student is based on the number of hours the student has previously completed. Students who have completed more graduate hours will register before students who have completed fewer hours.
  • Beginning the week of April 13: Non-degree seeking graduate students, seniors and select other undergraduates whose participation in University programs requires their schedules mesh with specific calendars, will be allowed to register, again with enrollment appointments set in an order based on their current earned hours.
  • Beginning April 20: Juniors and sophomores will be able to pre-register.  Freshmen and non-degree seeking undergraduates will pre-register beginning April 27.

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