Editorial | Feb. 4
During their four years of study, every Princeton undergraduate becomes familiar with SCORE, the University’s Student Course Online Registration Engine. The Editorial Board believes that given SCORE’s essential functions, such as enrolling in classes and accessing transcripts, it is currently subject to a variety of shortcomings and inconveniences that interfere with its efficiency and utility for student users.
SCORE serves key functions including updating personal information such as emergency contact numbers, processing payroll data and enrolling in and changing courses. Accessing the system is necessary to see anything from distribution requirements and degree progress reports to information about academic advisers. The capacities of this engine have even recently been upgraded by installing an earlier direct selection of precepts through the system. While SCORE has the content and potential of a powerful tool, it is restricted by certain factors, beginning with its availability.
This engine has operating times that limit student access. It is unavailable every morning from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., except on Wednesdays when the window is extended further to 8 a.m. The Board recognizes that the shutdowns are likely due to maintenance or security needs but that these functions should not require daily inconvenience. SCORE also only has certain functions, such as course registration, open during very specific and usually limited times. The Board sees the restricted window for course registration as particularly incapacitating, especially since it closes over winter, Intersession and summer breaks. Many students are still modifying and altering their class selections during the break time leading up to the beginning of classes and cannot effect the decisions they are considering. Students are also left out of external developments such as messages from professors, precept openings and syllabus announcements that could greatly affect the compatibility of their schedules.
While these restrictions are a burden, logging on is a more fundamental issue. The log-in procedure for the SCORE system is notoriously fallible and often shuts down log-in attempts brusquely and for no reason. At times, students are immediately excluded from the system on the first try and, in spite of repeated careful attempts, are still denied access. Occasionally, there is no remedy other than the great trouble of changing passwords. The suggested alternative of changing Internet browser is similarly erratic and inconsistent. Even during the limited time SCORE is open and available, full access is not a guarantee.
Even once log-in is achieved, most of the useful information is oddly organized and poorly presented in the user interface. The links are small, unclear and often hidden. Finding desired information on SCORE requires much trial and error, and there are some sections so remote that few people even know they exist. Useful information such as automatically calculated GPA and quintile ranking is available but unknown to many students because of its inaccessibility.
The Editorial Board believes that the University, particularly through the Office of Information Technology and Office of the Registrar, should make efforts to improve these complications and improve the quality of SCORE. The varied difficulties found in availability, accessibility and interface limit students’ ability to complete academic and enrollment functions and utilize the information on SCORE for their academic success. Integrating SCORE log-in into the Central Authentication Service could perhaps mitigate log-in problems. Another improvement could be to create an integrated system for all student information. While SCORE contains many vital functions and information, much other class information is housed on the Blackboard system. While there are further complications to integrating the separate systems, the Board sees improving SCORE as the beginning of many possibilities to better serve the student community through improved online resources.