Online school registration has become the primary way for countless students around the globe to enroll in various universities. This streamlined traditional enrollment processes, making it easier for college aspirants to pass their documents and complete other requirements. But with research projecting more than 19 million Americans registering for higher education this year in the United States alone, are universities prepared to handle a spike in traffic on their enrollment portals?
With only a few weeks given for students to register for their desired courses and complete their schedules, there is no wonder that hundreds of students simultaneously use registration portals daily. This spike in traffic can slow a school’s website, seriously impacting the overall registration process. Almost 50% of online users expect web pages to load in two to four seconds, which is most likely not achievable during peak enrollment.
This is why it is recommended that universities prepare their systems way before the enrollment period so they can prevent page abandonment and performance issues. Investing in a trusted ERP platform and load-testing tool can be a game changer for institutions wanting to improve their registration process.
WebLOAD and Ellucian Banner
With today’s students expecting instant gratification, higher education institutions must deliver and meet the expectations. Ellucian Banner® is one of the top enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems worldwide, helping universities simplify various processes for their students. However, Banner® platforms can still get crowded during enrollment, so access to an enterprise-grade load-testing solution is vital.
WebLOAD, the flagship product of Radview Software, will enable colleges to handle peak registration periods on the Ellucian Banner efficiently. Some of Ellucian’s most prominent customers have benefitted from WebLOAD integration into their systems. Here is Radview’s experience for many years and with many universities.
For instance, the Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the nation’s top public universities, standardized its performance testing with WebLOAD. The institution’s Ellucian Banner and Research Portal systems serve thousands of students daily, especially during the registration period. With WebLOAD, Georgia Tech’s QA team prevented downtime on their programs and kept their websites running all year round.
Another institution experienced issues when supporting up to 1000 students who registered simultaneously. With WebLOAD, they saw that their system already had performance issues with more than 300 concurrent users. They also identified that some parameters for the Oracle Application server are either set improperly or are missing. They were able to fix this, allowing them to scale their system to allow more than 1000 students to enroll for their classes easily.
Key Features of WebLOAD
- Scalability – One of the prime features is its scalable nature, enabling institutions to quickly simulate more virtual users should they need to. It also supports distributed testing, allowing developers to distribute load across multiple load generators. This can help simulate more realistic scenarios with heavier loads.
- Real-time Analytics – WebLOAD provides real-time analytics in its dashboard, which allows universities to see bottlenecks and fix them immediately. It will also allow IT people to analyze data and efficiently determine what needs to be tuned.
- Comprehensive Reporting – WebLOAD can also give detailed reports to help identify performance issues. Developers can include a graphical representation of different parameters, such as performance metrics, trend analysis, and test run comparisons to help the concerned people analyze data efficiently.
- Hybrid Deployment – Universities can deploy WebLOAD as a SaaS (Software as a Service) or a self-hosted solution. This allows institutions to choose whether to manage the solution internally for extra security or let Radview handle the testing.
Radview has significantly improved several universities’ Ellucian Banner environments through WebLOAD testing. Here is an institution that heavily benefitted from integrating these two solutions:
Bridgewater State University
As one of Massachusetts’s most prominent higher education institutions, BSU is committed to providing a timely student registration process with no delays. However, following a database upgrade to their Banner environment, their website crashed during enrollment. Due to this, they decided to look for a load testing tool that could help them identify system issues and prepare for the future.
WebLOAD, being Ellucian’s preferred load testing tool for years, was their choice. With WebLOAD, the school IT staff could perform separate tests for different classes (grad students, seniors, juniors, sophomores, and first-year students). They were also able to insert real user data to simulate what actual registrations would look like through WebLOAD’s advanced correlation and parameterization capabilities. The data gathered also allowed them to prepare contingency plans they could use for any future issues.
Radview’s Best Practices in Working with Ellucian Banner
Script Logic: Radview has optimized scripts that accurately mimic the specific functionalities of Banner 8 and Banner 9. This includes modifying the submit request for Banner 8 and adding extra code for Banner 9, ensuring that the load testing reflects real-world student behaviors.
Identifying Specific Errors: Radview focuses on identifying both general system failures and specific errors that users might encounter within Ellucian Banner. This includes incorrect login information, invalid course codes, or system errors, thereby ensuring that the system effectively handles and communicates these issues to users.
Metrics and Transactions to Measure: Radview has identified key metrics and transactions that provide crucial insight into the performance of Ellucian Banner. This includes measuring system response time, the number of concurrent users the system can handle, the rate of successful transactions, and the efficiency of the database and backend infrastructure.
Load Test Schedule and Ramp-Up Behavior for Ellucian Banner: Radview follows a strategic approach for scheduling load tests mainly designed for Ellucian Banner. They recommend running a baseline test to gauge the system’s performance under average load, followed by a series of scaling steps. This specific ramp-up strategy for Ellucian Banner gives valuable insights into how the system handles increased stress, allowing any issues to be identified and rectified at each step.
Benefits of WebLOAD for Student Registration
- Improved User Experience – WebLOAD can simulate many concurrent users, mimicking peak registration periods. This helps identify performance issues and ensures the system can handle thousands of students and faculty members accessing it simultaneously.
- Identifying Specific Errors – Radview focuses on identifying general system failures and specific errors that users might encounter within Ellucian Banner. This includes incorrect login information, invalid course codes, or system errors, ensuring the system effectively handles and communicates these issues to users.
- Better Handling of Peak Loads – Data gathered from WebLOAD can help schools tune their Banner environments to ensure that their websites won’t crash during peak hours.
- Faster Response Times – Radview’s WebLOAD provides an unrivaled solution for load testing Ellucian Banner. The tool’s sophisticated scripts, strategic ramp-up process, and Radview’s commitment to quality support offer invaluable insights for peak performance management.
With fall intake fast approaching, higher education institutions must prepare for an influx of students to their registration portals. By investing in Banner and WebLOAD, universities can ensure that they can enhance their student enrollment processes and deliver efficient and reliable registration experiences for their students.
So, if you are looking for a powerful but affordable load-testing tool, WebLOAD is for you. Visit www.radview.com/schedule-demo to talk with our engineers and get answers to your questions or start a 30-day free trial by clicking here.