Reg-E replacement planned for 2017

Thomas Chesy

This year, more than 45,000 students of the San Diego Community College District started the spring 2016 semester in new, state-of-the-art buildings, but found themselves stuck in 2002 when accessing the district’s aging student services website, Reg-E.

Reg-E is used to access a variety of records and services. The online system is essential for registering for classes, checking grades or purchasing a parking permit.

The website, which launched 14 years ago, has long been a source of irritation for students because it’s unavailable most of the weekend, during holidays and college breaks, and it’s cumbersome to use.

Collin Cady, a film major, and transfer student from Grossmont College, was unable to access Reg-E the weekend before he began his first day at City College, and was surprised to find that two of his classes had been cancelled without warning.

“The main disadvantage Reg-E has is the unavailability on weekends. While Grossmont has all access 24/7,” Cady said.

Frustration with Reg-E is not unique to students, however, and complaints by administrators go as far back as 2007, when then-Vice Chancellor Lynn Neault sought to make Reg-E available a few days prior to the start of the 2007 intersession. Neault was unable to accomplish this, as she explained to the SDCCD Online Learning Pathways Steering Committee on March 19, 2007.

“Reg-E is tied to Mainframe hours. [The] mainframe must go down nightly,” she noted.

Keith Barron, assistant director of the SDCCD Information Technology Department, confirmed that the IBM Mainframe used by the district must be shut down regularly for updates.

Reg-E is available from 7 a.m. to midnight on weekdays, Saturday 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and closed on Sunday.

In the end, it was agreed that the only option available to the committee would be to delay the start date of intersession in ’07 back by one day to accommodate Reg-E’s limitations.

Bill Craft, a professor of computer science at Mesa College, said that when he asked his students about what they felt was the worst part of using the Internet at Mesa, they responded “Reg-E,” calling it “difficult and cumbersome.”

The SDCCD Administrative Systems Master Plan for 2010-2020 called for a system upgrade. The document proposed new acquiring Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, of which a Reg-E replacement would be a part, and estimated the total project cost at approximately $20 million.

Further development of the new ERP System Replacement Project continued into 2013, with an official timeline completed. Vendor selection concluded later that year with PeopleSoft, an Oracle subsidiary, winning the contract.

So far, a number of faculty systems, including the Employee Service Center, have adopted the new software, but according to Barron, Reg-E’s replacement will not be going online until at least summer 2017.

The Administrative Systems Master Plan cautions that a district-wide replacement system must be implemented with caution, as approximately 30 percent of such upgrades in higher education fail.