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College's voice network lets students sign up by telephone.

College's Voice Network Lets Students Sign Up By Telephone One lesson that collge students learn all too well is how to stand in line. That's a lesson reinforced each time they register for a new term.

Students at Central Florida Community College stood in in line for hours to sign up for courses before OSCAR-On-Line Student Communication and Registration.

Now students can sit back and dial, registering by telephone in as little as nine minutes, including charging their tuition to a credit card.

Tow out of three Central Florida students hold fulltime jobs, and lost pay or vacation time when they had to register in person. More than half of the college's students now sign up through OSCAR.

The OSCAR system was developed by Steve Smittle, Central Florida's director of data processing, with help from IBM and Rolm. It integrates Rolm's PhoneMail system with IBM's 9270 voice response unit.

Students who call OSCAR are guided through the registration process, inputting such inforamtion as whether they are receiving financial aid.

Noting that the college grew from 2900 students in 1986 to 5000 now, Dr. Charles Hayes says, "Clearly, we had to make the registration process more efficient."

Hayes, Associate vice president for administration, adds, "We realized that many students were becoming discouraged by long lines and the time they had to be away from work. OSCAR is our answer."

An administrative specialist is vailable to provide assistance. Students with rotary phones, those who fail three times to enter the proper information, or those with unpaid bills are automatically referred to a help desk. There, their records can be brought up on a specialist's display screen via a RolmPhone 244 PC tied to OSCAR.

For the college, fewer employees need to be assigned to the registration process at the beginning of a new term. Also, because so many students use credit cards to pay for courses they sign up for by phone, the college's bank lowered its card processing fees.

Central Florida began development of an automated system based on an IBM PS/2 in 1986. The process had limitations, including its computer-generated voice. Then the college developed OSCAR by integrating the voice response unit into its existing Rolm PhoneMail system.
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Title Annotation:Central Florida Community College
Publication:Communications News
Date:Aug 1, 1990
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