Saturday, October 22, 2011

lean, fast and seamless

"$15 please," the front desk told me at the Registration and Records Office. I am about to get 3 copies of my transcript for my MS. A week before, I have just taken my last exam to conclude my last semester in NC State. The following week will be my graduation. The day after graduation, I will be heading back home to the Philippines. "When will I get a copy of my transcript?," as I handed my ID card to her. Our student ID is actually our ATM/debit card also. She replied, "In 5 minutes, please wait." She went to the rear portion of the office on what looked like a computer terminal with laser printer. As I wait for my document, I can't help but wonder how this office with less than 10 staff can handle records of more than 30,000 undergrads and around 5,000 graduate students.

After a while, she returned with the documents. She apologized for the 10 minutes delay. She handed me the document and explain that our transcript is on a security paper and fresh signatures are not included (like the SECPA of NSO). She further explain that if I photocopy my transcript, a message "This is a Photocopy - NC State" will appear on the photocopy (you cannot see this message on the original. Only on your photocopy. Cool!)


My adviser handed me my personal access code to enter the Registration and Records enrolment portal. I was only given the codes if we agreed on the subjects I will be enrolling in that particular semester. So I went to the computer laboratory and logged in to the school website. I browse the recommended subjects my adviser told me. Some classes are already full. It shows  real time accounting of students who have registered on a particular class. I learned that it will automatically closed upon reaching a certain threshold and only the teacher concerned can opened it back. But what I am impressed with is the systems' capacity to detect CONFLICT of schedules. You cannot proceed with the enrollment process if the system can detect overlaps.

The payment procedure? I only receive a bill a week later with the schedule of payment for every academic program spread throughout the semester.  Not all will be flocking the R&R to pay tuition fees (whew you could imagine 30k+ students if they are on the same sked!). Or for convenience, we were advised to go to a bank or pay through credit card online.


Is it about hardware resources or software skills?

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