by: Denise Valdez
(Editor’s note: This story is included in the second print issue of TNP for Editorial Year 2014-2015.)
MANILA – Every UP student has their own story to tell about the Computerized Registration System (CRS). Whether it has blessed them with the units they wanted, or if re-posting the “I Love CRS” chain message was only in vain, CRS has been able to generate a whole plethora of feelings ranging from very good to very bad.
The University of the Philippines has been using CRS for online registration and other information handling for years now. But when UP President Alfredo Pascual rose to power, eUP was formed as a new online platform program, in which one of the core information systems is SAIS, or the Student Academic Information System. In time, SAIS is expected to replace CRS.
President Pacual’s primary goal was to “integrate, harmonize, and interoperate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems…across all constituent universities (CUs) of the UP System.”
SAIS, therefore, is a wider system that covers a bigger scope than CRS. Information in SAIS will contain everything from the UP College Admission Test up to the student’s graduation, and will continue to be updated even after so. Management of student-relevant data needs is projected to be easier through SAIS, for it is capable of obtaining, processing, retrieving, updating, and displaying student, faculty, and alumni information.
Unlike CRS, SAIS has more modules; (1) Academic Advisement, which will allow online and by-batch processing of advice according to your field of study; (2) Campus Community, which will contain biographical information of the student and could be utilized by the Office of Student Affairs to disseminate announcements; (3) Contributor Relations, which will allow alumni to update information on work experience and academic information, and to donate to the university; (4) Financial Aid, which will provide all available scholarships and will allow online application for loan; (5) Grade Book; (6) Recruiting and Admission; (7) Self Service; (8) Student Financials; and (9) Student Record.
SAIS integration with constituent universities (CUs) means that only one database will contain the information of all students in all UP CUs, therefore getting grades is expected to be easier and transferring from campus to campus and cross-registration less hassle.
In September 2013, the SAIS team held a System Build Walkthrough session for UP Manila, where the staff was told how to use SAIS, but was not given a hands-on activity.
However, pilot run of the new registration website turned out with dismal results for UP Manila students due to lack of thorough information dissemination about SAIS interface and functions.
“They said everything’s going to be online. But that wasn’t the case. We had to go to UPM to know what to do,” UP Manila student Joshua Sy said.
There was also misinformation in the College of Arts and Sciences where students were told that the system had failed and they would be going back to using CRS again for the remaining registration steps. However, when this misinformation was sorted out, they went back to using SAIS.
It was also said that the new registration system had a lot of bugs and errors, like classes that were originally specifically designated to a certain course have been available to other students, and option to enroll for this school year was not available right away.
However, despite the chaos that happened during the previous enrollment, SAIS is still expected to work better next time. “Pero feeling ko pag naayos na siya [SAIS], mapapadali niya yung enrolment,” Sy remarked.
SAIS has only been partially launched in UP Manila and UP Open University. Workshops are ongoing for the next launches in other constituent universities.