Online, on track? — staff editorial

GW’s drive to become a more “connected” university will include online registration for the spring semester, a welcome change if accomplished with maximum efficiency and minimal difficulties.

The new GWeb system will be operational by Sept. 13, allowing students to register for classes and view personal information. Eventually, GWeb will include financial aid information and other features. A smaller-scale phone system will be available as a back-up to the GWeb registration system.

The University’s long-range goal is to centralize all student information in online accounts. But security risks become magnified when so much information resides in one location. To account for potential security problems, personal identification numbers will be lengthened by two digits, with an added “99” at the end. The Registrar’s office also suggests that students change their personal identification numbers (PINs) for increased security.

On registration days students will huddle over their personal computers and fill the computer labs in the residence halls and the library. This could pose a problem if the labs can’t accommodate students who want to be the first to register for class. Also, commuter students who lack online access at home could have a problem registering on time. Phone registration needs to be available to those students who don’t live in the residence halls with Internet connections and who don’t have computers.

An auxiliary phone registration system must be capable of handling heavy traffic in case the online system crashes. But with the proper precautions, the GWeb system could be a great success. As the University adds new technology, steps must be taken to ensure that students are the beneficiaries, and not blindfolded guinea pigs.

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