Would you trust your timetable to this program?

So the countdown is on: it’s now less than a week until I go back to Uni. While I’m feeling less dread about it than I have been, I have to admit that I could be a little bit more excited about it. But it’s hard to be excited about something when you’re violently ill (on the upside, I now have intimate knowledge of what sushi looks like when it comes back up. If you can call that an upside). All the same, I’m sort of looking forward to getting back to class; last year was the finest of my academic experience so far, so I’m hoping that continues. I could just be being really naive here, but I’m looking forward to getting back my interest in studying.

What hasn’t helped, though, is Monash University’s WOEFUL web-based subject enrolment system Back in the halcyon days of 2001 when I was but a fresh-faced, eager and promiscuous first year, enrolling in a tutorial for one of your subjects was as easy as wandering around the Menzies building wide-eyed and confused until you finally found your relevant department/s, found a piece of paper with your subject’s name printed on it and wrote your name on the printed-out spreadsheet. Blammo, you were enrolled in a tutorial that was at a convenient time for you (funny how the afternoon ones always seemed to fill up faster than the morning ones), and you could jot it down straight away without having to wait a week to find out what you’d been allocated. What was more, once it got to second semester and you’d started to learn more about your fellow students, you could read a class list and thus avoid ending up stuck with someone you didn’t like for a second semester, like the the guy you were stuck with in first semester who thought the ABC should be shut down because Rage doesn’t play enough Metallica video clips (I wish I was making this guy up. I’m not).

Of course, at some point in the last couple of years, the Arts faculty got sick of being pushed over in the mud and laughed at by the other faculties, so it changed the way it operates and now enrolment is done online. Which just works absolutely brilliantly. Although I’d not had too many problems with it myself, I’d heard horror stories of people being given two tutorials at the same time and not able to change out of them, that sort of thing. But it wasn’t until today that I was given a taste of the Amazing Power of Suck contained by Allocate “Plus”.

I noted, as I was writing my semester one timetable down, that the timeslot I’d picked for one of my subjects had been filled up by another. When I checked the first subject, I found that Allocate had failed to give me a seminar for that particular subject at all, which was somewhat problematic considering it was a seminar-only subject. It also completely bungled my carefully-planned schedule with the excuse that “not all activities were allocated a preference” by me, despite the fact that I’d picked my timetable weeks in advance and had checked it several times to make sure I’d done everything correctly. Unfortunately, the system isn’t set up to give preference to those who enrol early, so I lost my preferred place for all but one of my tutorials even though when I’d enrolled, very few people enrolled in the subject had chosen their preferred timeslots. After I had finally sorted things out, I spent a fair bit of time bitching about it to my friend Liah on MSN, and used the word “crack” rather more than was perhaps called for. In a short summary of the conversation (because no one thinks long, typed-out MSN transcripts are amusing except for the person who posted them and possibly the person they had the conversation with), I labelled Allocate “the cracksmokingest crackwhore that ever smoked crack,” and decided to intimidate it into working for me by pretending to be social services and threatening to take its crack babies away.

Titian fared even worse. She’d been allocated three tutorials for one of her subjects, and none for another. And the system didn’t seem to want her to change out of any of her three tutorials either.

But, you know, at the end of the day my life has been made so much easier by not having to go into Uni to pick my tutorial times, and spend all that time finding the relevant pieces of paper for each of my classes, and inevitably running into people I know and chatting to them, and maybe going somewhere for a coffee. Now as I sit at my computer for ages, swearing and tearing my hair out trying to get a timetable that doesn’t clash with itself, all I can do is thank the clever, clever programmers who made such a wonderful program and have been very quick to fix problems as students have reported them.

Truly, the efficiency of tertiary institutions in Australia is second to none.

One Response to “Would you trust your timetable to this program?”

  1. james Says:

    Hey Aim,

    couldnt agree more about a certain tertiary institution…

    More of a general comment though;

    YOUR SITE ROCKS. some very strnage, and evry funnny articles and bits and bobs of articles.
    and lovely writing too