Following the chaos of the past few year’s Online Option Choice (OOC) system, the University of Southampton have unveiled changes to prevent further issues for students this year.
A major change to the system, whereby students studying degrees with optional modules pick their modules for the following university year, is the confirmation that a queuing system for Banner Self-Service has been purchased.
Indeed, this will tell students their placing in the queue and display messages, informing them of ‘the current situation while they’re queuing’.
Another change which has been announced is the ending of ‘first come, first serve’ policy for History students.
This year will instead see the trialing of ‘a bespoke solution for students on history programmes called ‘Choices’’. With usually limited numbers of places available for each optional module, History students have been particularly affected by the problems with the OOC system in the past two years.
According to the university press release, ‘Choices’ will:
Open earlier than traditional OOC and is designed to allocate History modules fairly, depending upon students’ prioritisation (i.e. you select your desired History modules and list them in order of preference). This is not a first-come-first-served system, so there is no benefit to making your choices as soon as the system opens; you’ll stand the same chance as all of your peers because modules will only be allocated once the selection period ends. More information about Choices will be available in the near future.
For students more generally, one already known change to the pre-existing system was the postponement of the opening of OOC a week, to the second Monday after the end of the Easter break.
It is also stated that, in response to ‘technical difficulties while completing OOC due to the high volume of users who were active at the same time’, they have:
… been working to optimise Banner performance to help address potential drops in system speed or effectiveness at times of peak usage.
The press release credits the changes to the OOC system to work ‘by students and staff at the University, Students’ Union and Staff Student Liaison Committees (SSLCs)’.