Long queues, accommodation struggles and other registration day blues will affect fewer students when Wits implements its new online registration system next year.

The university is making strides in boosting its online presence as more administrative processes are moving to the digital realm.

Carol Crosley, deputy registrar for enrolment, said planning is well under way to see the implementation of the system in January.

“The university is in the advanced stages of planning for online registration for students with fixed curricula in January 2014 and those with flexible curricula for 2015,” Crosley said.

[pullquote align=”right”]”They really have to change the system because it’s expensive for me. I have to drive more than 200km [from Limpopo] just to come and register at Wits.”[/pullquote]

Students will be able to register online from  January 2014, with the Faculty of Health Sciences being the first to use the new system from January 2.

Other faculties will access the system from January 6 until about a week before the start of the first term.

However, returning students who have not passed all their courses and those who require academic counselling will not be able to register online.

Costs include more than just the registration fee

Hulisani Mudau, Microbiology and Biochemistry Honours, said she hoped to see a change in the current registration system.

“They really have to change the system because it’s expensive for me. I have to drive more than 200km [from Limpopo] just to come and register at Wits,” Mudau said.

Pearl Siganunu, Biochemistry and Cell Biology Honours, said accommodation was her biggest problem.  Siganunu, also from Limpopo, is a resident at Wits Junction. She said her residence was still closed on the day of registration. This meant that she had to travel back to Limpopo, only to return to Johannesburg a few weeks later.

“We have to come here and we have to find a place to stay in order to register in time. If you are going to come here and you don’t have a place to stay and you register late, they are going to charge you for that again,” Siganunu said.

Crosley said online registration had taken this long to implement because of the complex demands of the registration process such as different combinations and substitutions made to courses.

It was therefore important to only implement online registration once the system was solid, to avoid compromising the registration of all students.

According to Crosley, the implementation of the Student Information Management System (SIMS) was part of the process of assessing the university’s readiness for an online registration system.

“The university only went live with the new system [SIMS] this year and wanted to ensure processes were bedded down before online registration was implemented,” Crosley said.

A growing online presence

Other online advancements the university has made include online applications and the recent move of residence applications to an online platform.

Both Mudau and Siganunu also complained about not being able to access June academic results on the internet. But this issue is something that is already being addressed by the Sims system.

Maggie Maseka, head of the Academic Information and Systems Unit, said students were now also able to view their June results on the SIMS portal, provided the results had been confirmed by the board of examiners.