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Do you use an online registration system?

Posted on June 23rd, 2010 by Anne Cardale, OLLI National Resource Center

Anne Cardale, OLLI National Resource Center, Asks OLLI:
Are you using an online registration system that you would recommend to another OLLI? Please tell us why you do, or alternatively, why you don’t recommend it to others in the network.

5 Responses to “Do you use an online registration system?”

  1. We use an in house designed user interface for on-line registration. It accepts registration requests and payment. The request is stored in a “kiosk” until the registration team processes the cart and enters the registration into the PeopleSoft system, enters the member information into our back-end database, and processes the payment.

    Many of our members use the system and have really liked it. It provides convenience for the members, puts us squarely in the 20th (yes 20th) century, and reduces the overhead associated with former methods of registering. Members can still come in person, call, or mail in their registration.

  2. Our process is so multi-faceted that I hesitate to recommend it because 1) GEARS isn’t for sale and 2) SEMtek is very expensive and would not be cost effective for just an OLLI - it needs to be part of our larger non-credit system in order to justify the cost. However, if an OLLI was able to afford SEMtek:

    We use SEMtek, which is a registration system available for purchase through Entrinsic. SEMtek works very well to manage all of our non-credit offerings on campus. It includes an online registration module as well as course and participant management, the ability to complete letter merges, send automatic e-mails, etc.

  3. #3 by: Thom Clement

    Since late 2007, OLLI at George Mason University has used a proprietary system designed by a local member of another lifelong learning institute. We have worked with the developer to tweak and improve it considerably. Because we are not integrated with the university, we needed our own separate system. OLLI at American University and the Arlington Learning in Retirement Institute use similar versions of the same system. We are in the process of transitioning to a new “software engineer” to do the necessary maintenance because the original developer is phasing himself out.

    We are very pleased with the system, which consists of the MS Access database housing all information about our members and a “Member Portal” password-protected web site where members can join, register for courses, and make payments. The portal also includes a membership directory with “live” emails and menus for members-only documents such as Board meeting minutes. Because it was designed specifically for our needs, I’m not sure if the original developer would be interested in tailoring a system for another OLLI. We have worked out payment for each project as well as ongoing maintenance as needed and it has been worth every penny.

    If you want to follow up on this, contact me and I can provide the name and email for the developer.

  4. Yavapai College purchased an online registration system through Campus CE almost 2 years ago to serve all of the non-credit programs, including OLLI. We have had a very good experience, although complete roll out has been slower than we originally expected/planned. We have been using the system administratively for OLLI for a year, entering all of our registrations and payments into the online system. We are preparing to go live with online self-service for OLLI participants in the fall. Getting the system ready to understand memberships, expiration dates, and fee structures that differ depending on the membership level is more complicated than one might think. We are almost there, and are looking forward to adding online self-service registration in addition to our call, mail and walk-in registration. We have been using online self-service registration for our Community Education program for more than a year, and that has worked very well. If anyone is interested in looking at how our system looks online for students:

    We have experimented a little with posting OLLI classes without allowing self-registration - I see that I still have some spring 2 lists up, I need to fix that. In any event, if anyone has any questions you can contact me at

  5. Not yet. It’s one of those “developmental tasks” that will require a good deal of time and money and it hasn’t risen to the top (or even near it) of the list. We do have many requests for it though.

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