It was 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 17, sophomore registration day at Dongguk University (DU).
Seo Yong-geun, a second-year mechanical engineering student, got up early and prepared to log on to the lecture registration program via the Internet.
Registration began at 8 a.m. and Seo tried to log on.
"Oh, my! No response again!"
Because so many students were trying to log on at the same time, he wasn't able to get into the program until 8:07 a.m. By that time, many classes were already full and he had to change his schedule.
In 1996, DU introduced a computer management system in all fields of administration. As a result of the system, the lecture registration program has improved.
Before the new system, DU students had to go to administration offices in person to register.
In the 1970s, students filled out three application forms: one for themselves, another for grade sheets, and the third for the school authority office.
In the 1980s, the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) sheet marking system was introduced to DU for lecture registration. Students and school administration staff members were able to process registration requests speedily and precisely.
But students still had to go to school to register for lectures, and it the OMR sheets were not convenient to use.
With the new computer lecture registration system, students can register from anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection.
The administration efficiently processes the paperwork and collects statistics. However, there are several problems with the new system.
With about 12,000 students at DU, the system needs a large transaction capacity. Initially, the school network server couldn’t handle the students' demands. Sometimes students had to wait for up to 10 minutes to log on to the system.
Then they inevitably had to change their schedules. Popular courses were often filled within three to five minutes after the program opened.
Even if students were able to log on in time, the program was slow in processing their demands.
In fact, no student could be sure they could register. For these reasons, students used to say, "Lecture registration is real battle." The following is an extreme case of the difficulty that students face.
"At one time, my student ID number and password were shown to another student. I finished my lecture registration in the morning," said Son Jin-lee, a junior studying communications.
"But I checked my schedule on the school Web site that the afternoon and found that my lectures were canceled. Though I managed to re-register, I was seriously surprised and disappointed," she said.
Due to the efforts of the school staff, the computer problems mentioned above were recently solved.
Many students now say "okay" to DU's registration system. But there are still some problems. Lecture registration is at the start of the semester and a critical part of students' records, so DU students need a system that is efficient, well-organized and capable of meeting the students' needs.
Kim Sung-ho is former Editor-in-Chief of The Dongguk Post, the monthly English magazine of Dongguk University, and president of the Union of Seoul Region Campus English Newspapers (USCEN).
Kim Sung-ho firstname.lastname@example.org
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