iSIS system has proven success in 1st week


The new student information system has tested successfully after the first week of enrollment.

Despite a few computer glitches, the system has not had any problems and has advantages over the old KATS system, said Jennifer Gehrt, director of the LASER project.

At the end of last week, 5,000 students had enrolled in fall 2008 classes, and so far there have not been any real problems with the new iSIS system.

Gehrt said she does not think there are any disadvantages to using the new student information system instead of KATS, other than people are familiar with KATS and have been using it for several years.

“It’s hard to compare the two,” she said. “The main reason we implemented iSIS is because we needed to move into a newer technology. It’s more flexible to work with other systems like K-State Online.

“I think the students like everything on one page in the student center. It uses more current technology, so for instance, when students enroll they end up with a shopping cart. It uses the kind of technology that students are more used to.”

Students use both KATS and iSIS for different tasks. KATS still is used to enroll for summer and for many financial reasons like checking student accounts, but iSIS is used for tasks like looking at a DARS report and enrolling for fall 2008.

Gehrt said by fall 2008, all student business will be done in iSIS, and KATS will be phased out completely.

Aimee Hagedorn, communications director for the Information Technology Assistance Center, said early last week the IT Help Desk received calls about enrollment problems. She said there was an issue where graduate students could not enroll in certain classes because of a glitch in the system.

“I haven’t experienced any other problems,” she said. “It’s exciting news for us that it works.”

Kyle Hiller, fifth-year student in electrical engineering, said he noticed when enrolling that iSIS regulates enrollment for classes with pre-requisites, when KATS did not. However, he said he is not sure if he likes the new system better than the old.

“[iSIS is] a little awkward compared to KATS,” Hiller said.

Another enrollment change is improvements in the waiting list process, Gehrt said. If a seat opens up for a full class and a student is next on the wait list, enrollment is automatic for that student, and they will receive an e-mail notification.

Students also can view the total number of seats available for a class, the number of seats open and the number of people wait-listed for a class, she said. According to iSIS information on K-State’s Web site, the university is implementing the new system for many reasons including to move from an outdated and unsupported mainframe student system and to improve the enrollment process.

Gehrt said one of the biggest advantages of iSIS is it will help better protect social security numbers.

She said with KATS and the previous underlying system SIS, Social Security numbers were used as student identifiers.

“This system allows us to no longer use the Social Security number as the primary identifying number,” she said. “It will help with identity protection. We haven’t had any problems with that, but it is more of a prevention.”

Social Security numbers still will be used in the system along with birthdates, because Gehrt said those are necessary in some instances, like financial aid. However, she said only central employees who have to know that information will be able to see it.

Gehrt said the system had a live test for enrollment before spring break, and it allowed the project coordinators to look over any issues before everyone started enrolling March 24.

She said different issues might arise as different groups of students enroll, as was the case with the graduate students last week, but Gehrt said they should be able to work through any problems.

Gehrt said students should have patience when working with the new system, and if they have any problems they should report them to the IT Help Desk so administrators can work through those issues quickly.