Lasallians who attempted to access their My.Lasalle (MLS) accounts during the summer for enrollment would have found the experience, once again, inconvenient and frustrating, due to the MLS system’s seemingly constant incapacity to consistently accommodate student needs.
Then as now, this has also been the case with the online reservation for adjustment passes for the 1st term of AY 2012-2013. An announcement had been made to the students that reservation through MLS would be at 8 am. However, the difficulty encountered by the Information Technology Services Office (ITS) in ensuring the stability of the site left students confused and in disarray, resulting in the rescheduling of the online reservation.
According to James Sy, Director of the ITS, the servers, though regularly updated to prevent obsolescence, are having difficulty simultaneously accommodating 20,000 students (approximately 14,000 of which are undergraduates), especially during the first 10 to 15 minutes during which students log in simultaneously.
He says that in order to accommodate a large number of students for a quarter of an hour, a better and bigger machine would have to be acquired. However, he also notes the expense that the purchase would entail.
Besides this, Sy cites the constant increase in student population as the main factor in the problem. However, he also shares that if the scheduling for enrollment would be promptly followed, there should be minimal problems experienced. “We have around 14,000 undergraduates. Kung sabay-sabay sila maglog in, talagang hindi kakayanin [If they log in at the same time, the servers will not hold].”
A past study done by the office reveals that the servers can only accommodate a few thousand students every two hours. In light of the recent glitch during the enrollment, another study will be underway to examine the circumstances.
Sy mentions that since DLSU is an educational institution, the University has to give priority to academics, which primarily involves the maintenance of classrooms and other school equipment, such as projectors and computers.
According to Sy, the online enrollment project was started in 1999 and launched in the early 2000s.
“We assure [the students] that the effort to improve the service is always there,” he says.
In comparison to other universities, such as ADMU, students are randomly assigned to time slots. They are given a corresponding number to ensure that they know what time they should be logging in.
According to a student in the aforementioned university, who requested to remain anonymous, logging in for enrollment sometimes takes longer than usual but is not considered to be a major inconvenience.
When asked whether the office is experiencing insufficient staff to assist in overall coordination efforts, Sy replied, “It’s normal for a business [to experience staff problems], but there’s a study being done by the Human Resources Department to raise the salary of positions [in order] to make it more attractive to applicants.”
Sy shares that, later in the academic year or next year, a new initiative on technology refresh will be started. He declines to disclose the details of the plan due to the fact that he is only a member of the committee assigned to the project.
Technology refresh is a regular replacement of equipment in order to ensure the continued reliability on the functionality, speed and capacity of that equipment.
“Siguro we were not able to do the technology refresh as often as we would’ve [wanted],” he shares.
Regarding the DLSU Gmail accounts of graduating students, Sy assures that the Gmail account will still be in existence even after a student has graduated from the University.
According to the aforementioned, since ITS will eventually be maintaining 100,000 to 200,000 email accounts, what the office can do is to off-load it to Gmail. He shares that such a capacity would be too great, and Gmail is already used to accommodating millions and millions of users.
“Let’s say we are 100,000 users [here in DLSU], that’s less than 0.1% of users availing the services of Gmail. So, It is our intention to off-load it [to Gmail],” he says.