Ask Abe: Class Registration

An Alum

How has class registration at the UW changed over the years?

Abe

Well, it used to involve a lot of cardio. Think: sprinting from building to building across campus. It was in 1947 that UW students saw technology influence the registration process. It came in the form of punch cards. Students had to wait in long lines to pick up these cards at locations that changed over the years, from the Wisconsin Field House to the Stock Pavilion. Enrollment in a class required departmental approval, so on registration day, students literally ran with their punch cards from one side of campus to the other for approval. Once approved for the classes they wanted, students had to wait in line — again — to submit their punch cards. The entire punch-card process was updated in the 1988–89 academic year, when the UW upgraded to a touchtone-phone registration process. Internet registration began in the fall of the 2002–03 academic year. Students now use the MyUW portal for basically everything — from registration to records to Wiscard balances.