Students troubled by Portal
Online admission service delays spring enrollment
Published: Thursday, February 9, 2012
Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2012 17:02
As if the first couple weeks of school are not tough enough, Web-based admissions services continue to create confusion and frustration for those trying to finalize their class schedules.
For both students and faculty, one of the biggest problems with InSite Portal and WebAdvisor is their slow performance. This caused major issues for students who were trying to add and drop classes, as well as solidify their schedules at the beginning of the semester.
"I needed to add a class and, even though I had an add code, the system was too slow and it wouldn't let me do it," student Juan Baylon said. "I kept trying and trying. It was really frustrating and stressful."
The delay also caused issues for staff and faculty members helping students get into their classes.
"The first day of school, I had students who wanted to look up classes or add classes, but they couldn't even use (InSite Portal) because it signed them out before they could look them up," said Peggy Abrams, an instructional assistant in the mathematics department. "It was so slow."
Director of Admissions and Records Michael Aldaco said the issue stems from the high volume of traffic at the beginning of the semester, and noted that the performance of the website is out of the college's control.
"We have recognized that there are concerns and problems, (but) our office on campus has no control over the issues of performance," he said. "The system is run and managed in the District Office (in Martinez). We call the district just like students call the district and talk to the help desk."
Even though Contra Costa College cannot fix the issues, it has tried to come up with solutions for students' frustrations.
The Admissions and Records Office created an express window at the counter for students with add codes who could not use them online due to the delay on InSite Portal, Aldaco said.
"We tried to provide alternatives for students," he said.
Another issue facing students is the confusion regarding the transition from InSite Portal and the old WebAdvisor system.
This uncertainty is compounded by the fact that different professors use different systems.
"It can be confusing for students because if in some classes the professors use the InSite Portal emails and other professors use their personal emails, they have to keep clear which is which," Aldaco said.
Student Eleazar Jacob said learning how to use the Internet portal has been difficult.
"It is confusing to have InSite Portal (because) there are not enough tutorials on how to use it, there are a lot of options and there is not one central directory or main menu," Jacob said. "The school is incorporating technology and that is a benefit, (but if) it means skipping the big line to register for a class, it needs to be more efficient."
Even though having two online service providers is irritating for some students, Aldaco said the old WebAdvisor is not going away anytime soon.
"As a community college that is seeking to have students be successful in life and the community, in professions and jobs, with their families and neighborhoods, our job is to help students learn new skills," Aldaco said. "Learning how to operate a computer and navigate the system in an increasingly online world is something we have to help students learn."