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Fix Sage: signing up should be simple

Published: November 2, 2012
Section: Editorials


Course registration for the spring semester began this week, with the registrar opening enrollment on Tuesday for a term that will feature many first-time classes. While Brandeis is doing an excellent job of offering a variety of interesting courses, the system for signing up, Sage, demonstrated this week that it needs to be updated.

The process of a student’s most important function, taking classes, should be made easier—and more reliable. Sage was routinely down this week when we and other students tested it on Tuesday and Wednesday to pick classes. In the past, Sage has been clunky or slow, but this term it experienced entire shutdowns several times.

The problems with Sage can be more than merely inconvenient. Students could be delayed from signing up during their assigned enrollment appointment, defeating the whole purpose of the registrar’s scheme of distributing slots at random. And LTS could certainly do without being inundated by questions about Sage. We dare say that there are far more important technical problems.

Between the registrar’s office and LTS, the university should make reforming Sage and the other student-online systems a priority. We can imagine a system that offers the benefits of Sage and LATTE together, or a system that is as easy to use as signing in to Brandeis email addresses. With so many different user interfaces, it is sometimes difficult for students to navigate. And even if some interfaces must be used, it is important that they work. Often when these systems fail—like Sage this week—they are the times when students need them most—when they have far more critical decisions on their minds.