Registrar’s Office Launches New Website

By Jo Flessner-Filzen, Associate Registrar, Classroom Scheduling and Academic Information

The Registrar’s Office recently launched its first professionally designed website. Associate Registrars Jo Flessner-Filzen, Ri Romano, and Connie Scribner led this important effort, which focused on improving communication to the Office’s many constituents, including faculty, students, alumni, and staff.

Registrar's homepage

In embarking on this project, the Office had several clear goals:

  • Develop an “information architecture” to make it easier for the department’s diverse clientele (current and former students, faculty, and staff as well as the general public) to find the information they need—and to make the site easier for staff to maintain.
  • Create a design that conveys professionalism and service, intrinsically communicates the expansive role that the Registrar’s Office plays in furthering the academic mission of the Institute, and can stand the test of time.
  • Build the site using technology that is compatible with the Athena environment.

To achieve these goals, the Office solicited input from students, faculty, and staff, both informally and through two rounds of usability testing. Based on that feedback, the site was de-signed to employ two primary modes of navigation: by audience (students, instructors, advisors, academic administrators, and catalog and schedule coordinators) and by topic (academic calendar, registration, subjects, transcripts and certifications, graduation and diplomas, class-rooms, forms and petitions). Throughout the site, there is frequent use of cross-references so users have multiple points of entry to common topics. For example, information about adding and dropping classes can be found under subjects, registration, or the pages designed expressly for students and advisors. Similarly, academic forms and petitions that are commonly used by students are accessible from one general location as well as from within specific topical areas.

In building this site, the Office also created new content, such as the section dealing with the Course Catalogue (Bulletin), and moved general content from WebSIS to the appropriate audience pages on the new site. Soon to be released will be a downloadable academic calendar in ICS format, including an option that is compatible with TechTime. This tool will allow users to import the academic calendar directly into their personal electronic calendars.
The home page contains links to both the topical and audience pages, and features an announcements section, which will be updated as needed during the academic year. Also available from this page are general contact information, WebSIS, and links to the official enrollment and degree reports that are produced by the Registrar. Unlike its predecessor, this revamped home page also contains MIT’s Google search engine.

Early feedback to the site has been positive. (“VERY cool!” “Well done!!” “It looks very good!”) The Registrar’s Office invites all of DUE to explore the new site:
http://web.mit.edu/registrar.

Your feedback will be most welcome as the Office continues to look for the best possible ways to deliver critically important information and services to the MIT community (and beyond!).