A Look Back at Class Registration

Evan Oukrop

Students completed updates to their Academic Plans (aka class schedules) for next year during the week of February 8th in Aeries, which is the software used to track and store this information, among other things.  The class request submission process has seen its share of changes over the years.  The process used to be a paper submittal from students, which would then be input by administrative staff into the school’s database.  The paper submission has now changed to require students to input their class requests directly into Aries rather than submitting a completed paper form.  

Like all processes, there is always room for improvement, so while it is still fresh in our memories, we can examine how smoothly the process went and/or the bumps in the road that were experienced during this year’s enrollment selections.  

The first hurdle is the timeline.  Students were only given one week to input information into Aries.  I rate the very short timeline a “C.”  Although students technically have all year to think about what classes they want to choose for the following year, the reality is that many students don’t give it another thought from the time they submit their class selections the previous year until the next time that the school notifies them to select classes for the following year. 

Additionally, the class offerings can change from year to year, so it’s not possible to pre-plan a schedule a year in advance.  A two-week notice to decide one’s future year class schedule would be a more reasonable timeline.

The online Roseville High School Academic Program Planning Guide for the 2021-2022 school year is a good resource for students that contains descriptions of each class’s course content and any prerequisites for the class.  The guide is helpful to make an informed decision, but from a technical perspective regarding how the guide worked and the instructions on how to skip from section to section, I rate the guide a “B“.   The course guide instructions tell students to “click on the orange content areas for more information about that topic;” however, when I clicked on one of the orange content areas, a drop-down message appeared that says “Bookmark.” The instructions missed the step telling users to click the word “Bookmark” to jump to that section.  The table of contents on the left side of the screen was actually a faster and easier way to navigate through the guide.   

One course missing from the guide is the “Personal Finance” course.  Although this course is not a class that students need to register for, it would be helpful to have that class listed in the guide with a description of the class and its purpose.  The guide could explain that it is an online, self-paced course that does not require registration through Aries.

The biggest struggle came with entering the class choices into Aries.  I tried using our personal home computer and logged in using my normal user ID and password, but the screen did not allow me to delete courses that were pre-filled into next year’s selections that I wanted to remove.  The instructions should have advised students that they need to log in using their school issued Chromebooks.  For that reason, I give that portion of the enrollment process a “B.”  

The final area where I think improvements can be made is to hold the student meetings with our counselors to discuss class schedules before we enter our selections into Aries instead of after our classes are entered.  We should fill out the paper selection form and bring it with us to our counselor meeting, so that we can have our questions answered in advance.  That way we don’t have to request edits to our entries on the back end.  This seems like a more efficient method.  Additionally, the counselor meetings should be fifteen minutes and not ten minutes.  Many students only meet with their counselor once a year, and ten minutes isn’t enough time to help a student plan their future. 

When creating a new process, like the electronic entry of class schedules, I recommend that a small group of students be enlisted to test out the step-by-steps.  If they can make it through without any issues or questions, then the instructions are probably good.  Overall, I grade the entire process a “B” leaving room for improvement in future years.