How is it Still a (Midd) Thing?

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By Charlie Ascher

Amazingly, it’s almost time for registration, and that can mean only one thing: you are going to have to use BannerWeb. I make fun of BannerWeb a lot, I’ll admit it, but this week it’s the star of the show. Seriously, BannerWeb is just the worst for so many reasons. How is it still a thing?

Let’s start with its general design and layout. Think of the BannerWeb design as a throwback to the simpler times of the Internet. It looks so dated that I half expect Clippy the paperclip to pop up on my screen at any moment. All BannerWeb really wishes is that Windows 95 was still the dominant operating system. They were made for each other.

The problem is that BannerWeb doesn’t just look like a late 90’s program, it functions like one too. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to navigate BannerWeb when you need something. Have to pull up your transcript? You better make sure you know how to get there. Picking housing for room draw? Good luck. Enter one of the approximately 1,000 numbers wrong and you have to do it again.

But the true centerpiece of BannerWeb’s world-beating incompetence lies in registration. Rather than just having us enter our preferences well beforehand like most schools, we are allowed the rare pleasure of getting to try and enter our classes in real time. And, because it wouldn’t be any fun if there weren’t a challenge, the course entry names follow no rational pattern. Instead, you get to enter a series of totally random numbers!

Did I mention that if you just so happened to enter one of those random five-digit numbers incorrectly the first time you have to reenter it, at which point there’s a good chance that the class is already filled? Oh, and in case it wasn’t implied, you’re competing against all of your classmates at the exact same time. That’s right, classes are awarded based on how quickly and accurately you can type. Pro tip: break out your middle school copy of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 2003 for a competitive advantage.

If your internet crashes your hopes of getting into that class that you really want to take with five seats left drops to your chances of getting on the NESCAC snap story as a Middlebury student that’s not in an a capella group (seriously who runs that thing?). Luckily for you, the internet never crashes here.

To further ensure an enjoyable registration experience, there’s a 44 percent chance that BannerWeb will crash on you at random. You would think that a stable program backed by servers that can handle several hundred entries at once would be a prerequisite for a campus registration program. But no, here at Middlebury College we’re all about putting excitement into registration.

Let us not forget that all of this is happening at 7am. Because, of course it is.

While I’m going abroad and won’t have to deal with the joys of playing the BannerWeb roulette until next year, I’d rather not play ever again. There has got to be a better way to do this. Seriously, how is BannerWeb still a thing?