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The Voice

Banner has caused extreme uncertainty for students on campus

A new integrated system, known as “Banner”, has sent shockwaves through students who are unable to navigate it.

As the semester dwindles to the end, students have begun preparing for the spring. The scheduling of classes, preparing of financial aid and much more have sent students into a frenzy. Yet as students begin this process of essential preparation, they are met with a startling discovery. The many programs, ranging from Banner to Degreeworks, that allow these processes to take place contain glaring technological issues. The consistent issues with new programs being pushed by Commonwealth University leave students and faculty bewildered.

Scheduling classes has been hectic for many at Commonwealth University. In fact, the several steps included in registering for classes have been nearly impossible for many students planning their upcoming spring semester.

As the integration of the three schools has challenged many past features of this university, many students are questioning the integrity of registration with so many students. This past year, students are utilizing the wait list more than before. When defining a waiting list for students, Bloomsburg University reports that “not all departments or all courses at Bloomsburg University will utilize the waitlisting option.” 

Banner’s problem isn’t just limited to scheduling; however, Alexander Anastasi had problems dealing with his financial aid. Opening up, he stated, I had an issue with financial aid for the loan disbursement.”

Elaborating, he said, “I usually accept two separate loans each semester every year; however, this year I only needed one loan. The system froze my acceptance of the loans after I accepted one and declined the other. This is because the system requires you to accept the first loan before the second. Throughout this whole sequence, I needed to book classes for scheduling, and I had a big debt on my account. I barely made the cutoff to book my classes.”

Meanwhile, over 62 people on the popular site, Yik Yak, have upvoted with a comment based on their frustration with Banner: “Anyone else have no idea what they are taking next semester because everything is booked, and you are still waitlisted?” In fact, for the last two weeks, students have been in an uproar with the issues. 

Even faculty have been unable to escape the fallout of Banner’s performance issues. Professor Michael Martin expressed the problems he had been facing navigating through the various programs of Banner, stating, “There are three or four programs now that I have to look at, rather than one…. They don’t seem to sync up. They don’t seem to be accurate. They don’t seem to be sufficient, so… what I used to be able to do in twenty or thirty minutes will take me a couple of hours.” 

Elaborating Further he went on to say, “When I go to look for things to help my students…I used to know where to go to find things. Now I feel like someone has put a bag over my head and turned the lights out, am I reaching around in the dark?”

Many are stressed that they will not be able to enroll in courses needed for their major. Emeline Eshelman a sophomore speech pathology and audiology major spoke about her experience with Banner’s program, Degreeworks. She said, “Degreeworks has not worked for me or any of my classmates that I’ve talked to. Even my advisor told us at our general meeting that we should all be checking it for mistakes.”  

The stress is not only affecting students who are still navigating the nuances of the new system. The acknowledgment that advisors are still learning suggests a broader challenge in the adaptation to the integrated system, further complicating the support made available to students. 

As the uproar continues and students fear being able to enroll in essential courses for their majors, it has become crucial for the university administration to address the technological issues promptly. Clear communication about the next steps being taken to resolve these issues during this transition period is necessary for everyone at the university.

As conversations continue to trickle throughout the buildings, many worry about their schedule for next semester.

Will students be able to juggle the stress of next year’s uncertainty?

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About the Contributors
Donyae Trawick, Multimedia Journalist
Caleb Brown, Howl Editor

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