ACES process delayed

The start of ACES bookbagging for Spring classes will begin Tuesday instead of today due to improvement delays, said Kathy Pfeiffer, assistant vice provost and director of Student Information Services and Systems.

It will not affect the schedule for registration, which begins Oct. 30 for the Class of 2009, she added.

"We have been working on some of the suggestions the students have made on the new interface, and want to be sure that we have everything right," Pfeiffer wrote in an e-mail. "We feel that it is more prudent to delay [Sunday's] deployment to ensure that the process goes smoothly."

Changes to bookbagging on the new ACES, which was implemented this year along with its faculty counterpart STORM, were recommended by a 20-person student focus group. The effort was spearheaded by Duke Student Government.

A compatibility error with the software had caused the delay in perfecting the changes, Pfeiffer said.

"When we went over our design for the navigation improvements (among other improvements) with the student focus group we were asked to put navigation tabs on the front page, as well as reorganize the existing ones," Pfeiffer said. "In testing this weekend, we discovered that this addition was not working as expected and that therefore we needed another day to resolve the issue."

The focus group met with Pfeiffer, University Registrar Bruce Cunningham and technicians twice to give feedback. The second time members reviewed an interface that had been improved based on their suggestions, said junior Chelsea Goldstein, DSG vice president for academic affairs, who set up the committee.

But Goldstein said the prototype the group saw at the second meeting was not complete, and one of their recommendations was even misinterpreted, making the interface more difficult to navigate.

"People were frustrated because they didn't do all of the changes we had talked about. Some of them-I'm no computer person, but they seemed pretty simple," Goldstein said.

She added that officials sometimes seemed "disorganized" and unresponsive to the committee.

"I'm trying to set up a meeting with the head of OIT, because I'm not getting very many answers from the people who are in charge of this," she said.

The student committee plans to create an "ACES for dummies" guide to help students navigate bookbagging and registration, Goldstein said.


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