Monday, January 08, 2007

School Frustrations

I registered for my classes last Friday. It took almost five hours. It seems the service at Valencia Community College has been having problems. Not just this semester, but for the last few semesters. The IT department at Valencia isn't in charge of the administrative part of IT. A company called SunGard is. On Friday, I had till 5pm to get my classes schedule. Right at 4:57pm, I finally got both classes schedule, and after almost an hour, got to the payment page. I entered my information in, and hit the payment key. I waited, and waited, and finally got a message saying, "A serious system error has occurred. Your account may have been charged. Please contact the Bursars office."

Valencia Community College doesn't have a Bursars Office! After a quick Wikipedia search, I found that meant Business Office in modern terms. I guess Bursars Office is for private schools. Elitist scum! Anyway, the Business Office at Valencia had closed by the time I got the message, and their voice mail system was full.

All weekend, it seemed that I was registered. My classes showed up on the registration, but not on our online classroom (WebCT). Lo-and-behold, Monday morning, my classes were dropped due to non payment. I was a bit angry. Just a wee bit. About as angry as I normally get, but not Code Enforcement angry. I'm sure one-of-the-ex'es would leave a comment on that level of my anger.

I marched to the Bursars/Business Office. Okay, I drove, but marched sounds much more battle-like. I was polite, patient, but firm. I explained my position, but also refused to accept 'no' for an answer. By noon, I was re registered and paid, but it took about an hour to get the business office to understand why I shouldn't have to pay a 'dropped classes fee'. Either they finally understood, or simply wanted me to go away. Either way, I didn't have to pay it.

When I got home, I did a search and found the email of the President and CEO of SunGard, Brian Madocks. I was polite, but let him know how frustrating the situation was for a student. He actually responded. I appreciated it. For a billion dollar company, they've got some work to do.

I showed up for my first class tonight; Windows XP Professional. Now, you're probably saying, "Big Deal. I can use Windows XP." This is different. This class is about working the Windows XP on a massive scale. Think installing and supporting 30,000 computers. Yeah. That's difficult. Tonight, the teacher said that out of all the classes he teaches, this is the hardest. I like that.

My Linux Administration Class is on Wednesday night. I'll report on that. Maybe even from class.

I'd wanted to take four, or even five classes this semester. Finances prevent it at the moment, but Valencia has a Flex Start program for classes. If they have some more classes pop up in 6 weeks, I'll try to schedule one or two more.

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