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ASCC enjoying successful online Pre-Registration

Students at ASCC can now sign up for classes using online technology, making the long lines at the Business, Admission, and Financial Aid offices a thing of the past. [Photo: J. Kneubuhl]

From now until December 6, regular continuing students at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) have the option to pre-register for the classes they wish to take during the spring 2013 semester which commences in January.

Given the difficulties the College experienced during the registration process for the current semester, some students were bracing for a repeat of the problems they encountered in late August, but initial reports indicate that registration for the coming semester is proceeding with no significant problems and in many ways is going more efficiently than ever before.

The ASCC Admission & Records/Financial Aid Office (ARFAO) estimates that in the first week of its availability, around 200 students took advantage of the new online registration process. Continuing students can now receive a user name and password to sign up for their classes using any computer on campus.

“Previous pre-registration lines were similar to regular registration lines,” observed ARFAO Director Sifagatogo Tuitasi. “There would be noticeably long lines outside of the Business and Admissions Offices. This was a concern because before, students would miss classes because they thought they had to stand in line to ensure they would get into the courses they wanted for the next semester. It hasn’t been like that this time.”

The current pre-registration has seen no long lines outside of either the Business or Admissions offices. “I think this is due to all the changes that were implemented in the fall semester, including the move to online registration,” said Grace Tulafono, head of the ASCC Management Information Systems (MIS) division.

“All continuing students were directed to the computer lab to register for their courses, and only specific cases were referred back to the Admissions Office. Our main reason for improving the registration process is to shorten these lines and move the students along the process quicker, and I think for this pre-registration, we’ve accomplished that.“

Tulafono explained how the current advancements in the registration process build upon previously tested methods. “The only other pre-registration where online technology was used was the first beta testing priority registration done with only 12 students,” she said.

“This is the first pre-registration where online registration is available to all continuing students, and it is proven very successful in allowing students to register themselves into courses. The main technical changes still being tested are the rules for prerequisites that we have been working on since the previous registration. So far, all of our changes are working properly.”

The various campus offices that play crucial roles in the registration process collaborated on the planning and development of the new system. A group comprised of representatives from the Business Office, MIS, ARFAO, Academic Affairs, Trades & Technology, and Teacher Education meets every semester to discuss ways of improving registration. “We discuss the process and how the system can help implement it better,” said Tulafono. “The system itself is used for more than just online registration. It’s also used throughout ASCC to manage finances, for procurement, property management, and human resources, and to process financial aid data.”

For MIS, the work to prepare for and improve the ASCC registration process and other technology services for students is ongoing. “Our activities change during the pre-registration and registration periods, but this remains a priority, so it is part of the workload throughout the year,” said Tulafono.

Reflecting on the challenges of managing a system suited to the particular needs of ASCC and its students, the MIS Director expressed pride in how the College uses its available resources to its best advantage.  “This is a true testament of doing a lot with a little,” Tulafono explained. “ASCC does not have the type of money as other US institutions, nor do we charge the type of tuition they do, but we are serving our students with the same type of technology available at other schools. The Colleague software system that we work with is also used by over 750 institutions in North America, including Chaminade University in Hawaii, and the University of Guam.”

For more information on ASCC and its programs, visit the College’s web page at:  www.amsamoa.edu.



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