DegreeWorks to simplify educational planning

Thursday, February 28, 2013

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'DegreeWorks' home screen features students' basic academic information.
‘DegreeWorks’ home screen features students’ basic academic information.

DegreeWorks, an academic progress-plotting software designed to help simplify the course selection and tracking process for students and advisors, will be available to MSU students next month. Tony Campeau, MSU’s associate registrar, said the goal of the software is “to take the clerical work out of advising.”

The program’s opening screen provides an overview of each student’s current academic progress. Here, a student can find his or her GPA, current advisor and declared major, among other details. As students scroll down, they will find a list of the classes they have completed and those they still need to complete for their majors. Classes are marked as complete, in progress or not complete.

The program’s “What If?” option allows a student to see what would happen if he or she wanted to change a major or add another. Depending on what the student chooses, the program will display each class he or she has or has not completed for the hypothetical major change or addition. A “Look Ahead” option allows students to select classes and see how they would fit into their majors.

The software also includes a GPA calculator which allows students to see how their GPAs could be affected by their expected grades in current classes.

Faculty members and a small group of students have had access to DegreeWorks since October for testing purposes.

Judi Haskins, an advisor in the College of Engineering, said the software “will allow time for more in-depth conversation” in the advising process, which could include discussion about careers, internships or how advisees are doing in general with their studies.

The program’s elements allow students to plan their academic futures more easily, according to Campeau. He added that another goal of the software is to improve communications between students and administration.

Although a full launch is planned for March, the Registrar’s Office will continue to seek student input afterward. “We need students to use it and provide feedback,” Campeau said, adding that his office is planning to remodel the program over the summer and add new features.

The Registrar’s Office is hoping enough students will use the software to allow staff members to plan for the needed number of class sections.

Haskins stressed the importance of students taking advantage of the software when it becomes fully available, stating, “Students, go look at [your profile] before you see your advisor.”

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