Course enrollment at UTSC for the Fall/Winter 2023/2024 term begins July 5th for first year students and July 13th and 11th, respectively, for second and third-year students. For some, these days represent when students race to ACORN and rapidly click the “enroll” button before their required courses and coveted tutorial or lab times are filled up. If all goes well, course enrollment for the next year could be completed in a few minutes. However, this process looked a lot different for past students.
“’A’ is for aging, the process each student goes through in registering at Scarborough.” (Onley, Balcony Square, 1970). As previous alum David Onley remarked, course enrollment would be an arduous day-long process filled with long lines and the completion of numerous forms.
Now, registration for a UTSC course can be completed from any part of the world. However, Chris Ambidge, a member of the 1975 graduating class, remembers his first visit to the campus, “Funnily enough, I had never been to Scarborough College, until the day I came to register and there were all tables set out along the third floor S Wing corridor. They gave me my card and told me, ‘You must remember 712055719.’ I still can. And that used to be called an ATL card ‘Admit to Lectures.’ At first, they said you have to take those with you to all your lectures. Of course, you don’t.” (Ambidge, 2015).
Pictured above: students crowded around tables filled with forms and typewriters, likely for course enrollment. Photo sourced from the UTSC Photographic Services Collection: https://collections.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca/islandora/object/photoservices%3A549.
Before the start of the term, students would have to wait in a line to fill out multiple forms to register for their courses before waiting in another line with a cheque in hand to pay their fees and after all that, possibly purchase their textbooks from the bookstore (Chan, 2019). This “paper and pencil” method of course enrollment evolved in 1974 when staff began to input student requests into an IBM terminal, followed by the introduction of the Student Telephone System, which allowed students to input their own course requests (Babcock, 2018). After 25 years of service, the Student Telephone System was replaced with the Repository of Student Information, or ROSI, on March 15th, 1999, which allowed students access to their course enrollment through the internet or by telephone (Marshall, The Underground, 1999). Students could also order transcripts, view their grades, or track their academic history on ROSI, as advertised below (The Underground, September 1999).
Pictured above: ROSI advertisement featured in the September 8th 1999 edition of The Underground.
With the launch of the Accessible Campus Online Resource Network, or ACORN, in 2015, ROSI was retired on February 15th, 2018 (Babcock, 2018). ACORN, the system that is currently used by UTSC, provides students with greater details such as the space available in a course and their waitlist rankings, allowing them to enroll with ease with course enrollment, program selection, and fee payments available all in one place (Babcock, 2018).
Even though the stress of getting into required classes and creating the ideal timetable are sentiments that were felt by Scarborough College students of the past and current UTSC students, it is hard to deny that the process of enrolling in courses at the campus has come a long way.
Ainsworth, Amelia, Nancy Lee, and Edward Dunsworth. Interview with Leslie Chan. Oral history conducted by Amelia Ainsworth, Nancy Lee, and Edward Dunsworth, Scarborough Oral History Project, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, 2019. https://ark.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca/ark:/61220/utsc10678.
Babcock, Katie. “ROSI Student Web Service Retires After 19 Years.” EASI. January 30, 2018. https://easi.its.utoronto.ca/rosi-student-web-service-retires-after-19-years/.
Hinds, Stephanie. Interview with Chris Ambidge. Oral history conducted by Stephanie Hinds, Scarborough Oral History Project, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, 2015. https://ark.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca/ark:/61220/utsc10731.
Marshall, Natasha. “ROSI Rocks the Campus.” The Underground 18, no. 26. April 7, 1999. https://memory.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca/iiif-server/iiif/2/https%3A%2F%2Fmemory.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2F2022-08%2Funderground18scar_0381_0.jp2/full/3347,/0/default.jpg?download=true.
No author listed. “ROSI Knows Your Stats.” The Underground 19, no. 1. Page 5. September 8, 1999. https://ark.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca/ark:61220/utsc12292.
Onley, David. “Up The Registration Organization.” Balcony Square. October 1, 1970. Page 6. https://memory.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca/iiif-server/iiif/2/https%3A%2F%2Fmemory.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2F2022-09%2Fpage__0006_68.tiff/full/4250,/0/default.jpg?download=true.
University of Toronto Scarborough Library, Archives & Special Collections, UTSC Archives Legacy Collection, identifier: o2011002F1-4-7_14. https://collections.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca/islandora/object/utsc%3A538.
University of Toronto Scarborough Library, Archives & Special Collections, UTSC Photographic Services Collection, identifier: 2012-001C-6-5-192. https://collections.digital.utsc.utoronto.ca/islandora/object/photoservices%3A549.