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iSIS launches tomorrow, meant to streamline course registration

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 02:03

 The new Integrated Student Information System (iSIS), a web-based system that will replace the Student Information System (SIS) as Tufts’ system of recording student information, will officially open up to members of the Tufts community tomorrow.

SIS Project Communications Manager Christine Michael said students will use iSIS to register for fall 2013 courses, add or drop classes and view their class schedules, as they did with the old SIS. iSIS will also give students, faculty and advisors information about course history, advisors or advisees and registration times and will include shopping cart and planner features.

“iSIS unifies courses, advising, transcripts, student financials, personal information and more,” she said. “Depending on your school, students may be able to manage all of these functions in one place.”

The new technical architecture which underpins iSIS is modern, flexible and progressive, according to Executive Director of Planning and Administration Martha Pokras.

“It allows for growth and change in ways our old mainframe-based system could not,” she said.

She explained that the new planner and shopping cart functions help to streamline the registration process.

The planner allows students to look at the course catalogue and their degree audit report to identify which classes to take and when, according to Records Team Functional Lead of iSIS Christopher Tatro.

Through the planner, students can select a course and assign it to a term, according to Tatro. Students will also be able to click on classes and view the descriptions.

“Eventually there will be a way to enroll in classes from your planner,” he said. “The planner is really high level. It doesn’t actually do anything until you tell it to.”

Students will be able to put courses from their planner into the shopping cart, Michael said. On registration day, students will be able to log onto iSIS five minutes before their designated registration time and enroll in courses put in their shopping cart, she added.

“Preparing your shopping cart in advance… does not guarantee that you will get into all classes,” Michael explained. Students may need to edit their course list during registration if a class is oversubscribed. Like SIS, you’ll still get messages about courses with pre-requisites, etc.”

The new site can be used for other parts of the registration process — like appointments with students’ advisors to get approval.

Students will begin class registration for the fall 2013 semester starting April 8, according to Registrar for the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering JoAnn Jack. Rules regarding course requirements for degrees will remain the same, she said.

Once students enroll in classes, iSIS will display a visual schedule of their fall semester, instead of simply listing classes, block times and credit values as SIS currently does, Tatro said.

While SIS requires students’ ID numbers for logging into the system, iSIS will use students, faculty and staff members’ Universal Tufts Login Name (UTLN), which are the same as the access keys for library resources and services like Trunk, Spark wikis and blogs and the Tufts wireless network, according to Michael.

“Before registration begins on April 8, I would encourage students, faculty and advisors to become familiar with iSIS: review your data, view an online tutorial or clear financial or administrative holds,” she said.

Starting tomorrow, students, faculty and advisors at the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will be given access to iSIS, according to Michael.

She said that students, faculty and advisors at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Tufts University School of Medicine will be able to use iSIS in mid-April.

While Tufts community members will gain access to information for course registration, it is important to remember that additional capabilities will become available over time, Pokras added. 

“Much of it will be evident in the next 12 months, but iSIS will continue to improve as we work out any glitches, and it will grow and change to meet future needs,” she said.

In May, students from all Tufts schools will be able to access financial aid information on iSIS, according to Michael. In June, students at all Tufts schools will see their bills and balances, health insurance waivers and more, she said.

“I’m happy with what we’re seeing,” Tatro said. “We have a great starting point — all sort of functionality that we couldn’t do before.” 

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