This isn’t getting easier

By Joshua Manly

With each passing quarter Cal Poly finds a new way to make the
registration system different and unusual. This quarter marks a new
layout and new features that look to be supportive of a student
without extensive knowledge of their department. While there is
always something to be said for new and exciting things on
BroncoDirect, and by always of course I mean mostly complaints and
pre-class whining, this new update may prove to be one step forward
and two steps back. When users log in to the “add class” feature of
their new and improved BroncoDirect they are directed to either
browse the school catalog or search for specific classes. When one
browses the catalog, classes spill out from both nooks and crannies
of the University. As an English major my experience with the
computer in general exists in the realm of lighting candles to
appease its many quirks. So anything with three steps and the
option to make a payment always confuses and frightens me like a
math problem on a white board. You are then presented with sections
of the class that are entitled “Open U” and “Regular,” the former
is always open but harder to get to than a parking spot at 11 am.
The other may be color coded with a circle for open, a square for
closed or a triangle for waitlisted. It is always nice to know that
the creators of Blues Clues have an influence on your college class
schedule and I am very glad I did well with round peg goes in round
hole when I was younger. After all is said and done, the Holy
Spirit of technology having swept through you to add a class late
by some miraculous turn of fate, you must then submit your class
selection cart to finalize the process. It is a nice way of
finishing the process I must admit; it feels as if I were really
purchasing my education though I am admittedly worried that
everything I will learn this quarter can fit in the same place some
people put their babies. Here at Cal Poly we are a learn by doing
facility and what better way to learn about the real world than to
have to struggle through large amounts of bureaucracy and confusion
to get what you want. Though it must be incredibly difficult to
find a system that accommodates tens of thousands of students in
hundreds of different classes, we are a school dominated by the
mighty engineer and cunning computer scientist. It would seem
easier to me to adapt something that would resemble a real time
draft of classes in which students could see how many seats were
open in a certain class at any given time, a feature in the older
BroncoDirect that should have survived Matrix style. However it
would be far more fun to cogitate eccentric ideas of registering
for classes, perhaps English majors battling via haiku to get the
sections they wanted or College of Science students developing new
and interesting chemicals to defeat their academic foes. Although I
could just keep pushing my academic cart hoping that Shakespeare is
on sale.

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