Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Almost unbelievable

It's almost unbelievable how poorly the so-called "Golden Eagle Territory" class registration and class schedule system is at California State University, Los Angeles. This system was one of those for which the CSU system spent about $700,000,000. The system is so terrible that the developer doesn't even associate itself with it. (It was made by PeopleSoft. They tell you that after logging you out after a few minutes of inaction.) The front page has the following proud statement from James M. Rosser, President of the University.
California State University, Los Angeles strives to ensure a competitive edge by incorporating state-of-the-art technology in the educational process. This includes technology that affords us remote access enrollment, satellite learning centers and rapid access to the wealth of information available on the World Wide Web.

The Golden Eagle Territory (GET) is a further extension of our student self-service offering and makes it possible to handle registration, student account information such as address changes, credit card payments, and view grades and other on-line services. We are very excited about the efficiency and time saving features of GET and continually seek ways to enhance this student service.

"GET represents one of the major initiatives by the campus to significantly improve the quality of the student experience at CSULA. When we lessen the transaction time for the mundane, but necessary, aspects of higher education, we free students and faculty to spend more time in the critical learning and teaching processes."

I encourage each of you to embrace the convenience that our campus technology makes available and enjoy the time savings it provides to you. Best wishes for every success in your academic career.


James M. Rosser
The system has been in place for over a year. It is famous for its terrible user interface. Yet nothing has been done. I am pushed to writing this blog entry because I just attempted to look up the classes I will be teaching this quarter. Here's what happened.

I made my way to the Schedule of Classes web page. As you can see the Institution drop-down menu has already selected Cal State University, LA. (There aren't any other choices in the menu. Why is it there?)

The Term is a blank field. How do you suppose one should fill it in? No matter what I tried, I got an error message telling me that I had not guessed the right code. Of course the error message didn't tell me what the possible code values were. It did suggest that I press the "the Prompt button or the Hyperlink." But none of the buttons or links on the page was any help.

I finally pressed the Help link and found out that the right code was 1066, which meant the 21st century, the 06th year, and the 6th quarter. Fall quarter of this year is 1069. For some reason this system thinks that the Fall quarter is the ninth quarter of the year. (See Help page.) I was then able to look up my classes.

UPDATE: My wife points out that the text lines above the Institution box tell you that Summer 2006 is 1066. (She reads those things. She teaches English.) I hadn't noticed. But why not a pull-down menu instead of an obscure code?

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