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Workday Student: A test drive for future course registration

Joseph Dicklin
Madisyn Postma sits at a high top table checking in individuals for the Workday Mock Semester in Durham Hall on Feb. 1, 2024.

A semester simulation to test run new university-wide software for class registration took place this week. Students, faculty and advisers partook in hands-on practice Monday through Thursday using Iowa State’s new registration system, Workday Student. 

In March, students will use Workday Student to register for fall 2024 classes. The mock semester allowed students and professional staff to get their first look and practice using Workday Student. At the same time, the Workday Student implementation teams could fix any setbacks before registration. 

According to Iowa State’s communications team, 430 people attended the event during the first three days.

“We definitely would call this [the turnout] a success,” said Geoff Janes, Iowa State’s WorkCyte student overall functional lead. “There is a survey participants take at the end of their time here, but an estimated anecdotal would be 90% positive feedback.” 

Iowa State uses AccessPlus as its registration system, which was developed more than 20 years ago by the Iowa State Information Technology Services team. 

“There is a little more button pressing than we are used to in AccessPlus, but I do overall like it,” Madison Karamagianis, a senior in chemical engineering, said. “I also forgot they added another zero to the end of it [class registration numbers], and that freaked me out a lot right away.”

During the mock semester, some students and staff noticed tidbits they did not enjoy about the change in registration systems and their preference for AccessPlus.

“It is just so minimalist that it is so hard to use. I am probably the only one on this campus who likes AccessPlus better,” Ryan Ruppel, a senior in architecture, said. “Workday is pretty, but do I trust it?”

One student expressed his apprehension with his student ID plastered on the main screen of the Workday Student website. 

“The one grudge I have towards Workday is they put my picture on here, and you can’t change it. I spent a while trying to change it,” Ruppel said. “I was not in a good mood that day taking that picture, and now I gotta see it every day.”

On the other hand, some students and advisers grew fondly of Workday Student, with one adviser saying the change is for the best in the long term.

“Workday, I will say, is very intuitive; they provided easy-to-follow instructions, and I think the more practice you can do, the easier it will be to use,” said Devna Popejoy-Sheriff, an academic adviser. “I remember when AccessPlus first came out, and the change was incredibly scary. Long term, this is really going to help us.”

A sign directs attendees to the Workday Mock Semester event in Durham Hall on Feb. 1, 2024. (Joseph Dicklin)

Once Workday Student becomes available for Iowa State’s usage, students can expect various new features. These include allowing students to see course descriptions and sections on the same page as the course catalog, an extra zero to the course number and a smartphone app version. 

“I don’t know how many people are going to use a lot of these features. My thought on that it is nice and neat, but is it really going to be used the way it is intended,” Ruppel said. “I have a lot of doubts about that.”

Some students have reported having more difficulty accessing AccessPlus from their smartphone via browser, and Accessplus has no smartphone app.

“I think one of the biggest sales pitches for [Workday Student] is that you can use it now on your phone, which is so helpful for students,” Rhaechel Ohge Fritz, an academic adviser, said. “AccessPlus isn’t allowing students to get it on their browsers, and it is tricky to do so.”

According to Inside Iowa State, the current timeline for students to access Workday Student for the first time is March 4, and returning students will begin registering for their classes in Workday Student on March 26. 

“I know we are planning to be available. We are anticipating there will be a lot of questions and tons of uncertainties,” said Erica Petersen, Ivy College of Business academic adviser.

Petersen said as an adviser, she is anticipating an increase in questions from students and faculty.

“We are going to be available to students who are trying to navigate it,” Petersen said.

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