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Written by Ilma Asmir & Aly Tantawy
This year, Townsend Harris transitioned from the traditional method of inputting electives, Daedalus, to a new system, eSchoolData. Many students experienced difficulties that stemmed from uncertainty surrounding the process when inputting elective choices.
Students expressed frustration due to complications during registration. Junior Noorshifa Arsaath explained, “I anticipated problems since it was a new system so I made sure to register on the first day.” However, the next day she received an email telling her to add comments to her selections and had to reselect all of her courses. She described her whole experience as “frustrating” and “horrible.”
Freshman Oluwafisayo Adeoye, who was new to the entire process of choosing an elective, recalled, “It wasn’t until I asked others that I realized that you had to type the course manually rather than searching for it by category.”
Assistant Principal of Math, Science, and Technology Susan Brustein helped resolve these issues by providing extensive assistance during free bands. She hopes to improve upon next year’s system by learning from mistakes in this year’s system.
All of these complications had many students longing for Daedalus. Despite the flaws presented in the new system for selecting electives, Ms. Brustein believes that the system has overall been a success. “More students submitted requests than ever before and there were only 20 students who did not request courses,” she said.
She stated that the “high turnout could be attributed to the ‘simple menu feature’ which made the process easier for students to select their courses.”
Ms. Brustein said that “since [we] were only in week one of the system we did not yet know what it was that needed to be changed.”
She says she “currently has no complaints, but in a week or two, [we] can get a better sense of what tweaks [we] want to make.” Furthermore, Ms. Brustein acknowledges that eSchoolData is “not yet an improvement over Daedalus,” but that “Daedalus was a program that was a fifteen year process.”
Ms. Brustein stated that “we are learning the system as you are learning.” In regards to Daedalus, “it didn’t work exactly the way we wanted it to from the beginning.” She states that she is lucky to be working directly with the software people at eSchoolData, and they are trying “to remake the program to suit our needs” and hopes to improve the system with “student feedback.”
Humanities teacher and Program coordinator Ms. Chung shared similar sentiments, “If we had more training the experience would be more pleasant. We started mid-semester and that caused a lot of frustration to learn a new system. Most of the time the issue is with students not following instructions properly or miscommunication [during the elective process]. With Daedalus, it took more than five years to get used to.”
Despite frustrations, Noorshifa expressed that, “Only one person [Ms. Brustein] knows the system well, and there are so many of us to cater to.”