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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA to launch program allowing students to track degree process

Students who are wondering if their course history fits into their major needn’t worry; the UA will have a tracker for that.

Launching this summer, Degree Tracker will allow students to create their own personalized graduation plan based on their current major. The tracker will be accessible through UAccess.

“We have spent the last three years replacing the core student systems, like creating UAccess, to have students pay bills and register for class. Now that we have that system in place, we are able to extend it out to some other new features like Degree Tracker,” said Michele Norin, executive director of University Information Technology Services. “I’m very excited to roll this out and see what the students think about it.”

The program will also address other aspects of degree progress by giving students the chance to see what previous and current classes fit into their major and showing them how long it will take for them to graduate. The program will also notify students if they veer off of their graduation plan.

Currently, Degree Tracker is in its trial stages, giving some students like members of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona a chance to see the new program and give suggestions.

“For Degree Tracker, we are envisioning that students will be able to use that in conjunction with their advisers to basically set their plan,” Norin said. “It’s a way for students to really get a look at their next four years and be on the same page with their adviser.”

Degree Tracker will also give colleges and departments a chance to plan classes more efficiently, because they will be able to predict how many sections will be needed for a particular course based on the program, Norin said.

“If we know half of the sophomore class needs to take English 101, hopefully we will be able to accommodate that,” Norin said. “That should guarantee our ability to provide the right classes at the right time.”

Degree Tracker follows the September 2011 launch of Degree Search, which allows users to view the number of requirements needed for a particular college or department visually with status progress charts. The Degree Search webpage is also interactive, giving people the opportunity to gauge their progress or subject interest with a “handlebar,” a slider that students can adjust to reflect their math and language course history (or desired course history) to show users which degrees they are elegible to enroll in.

“The decision to create the Degree Search project really came from the desire to help students understand the degree paths the UA offers,” said Rachel Beech, director of New Student Services and and co-director of Degree Search. “We wanted it to be more personalized in ways that can help to identify what major is the best fit for a student.”

There are around 250 different majors for students to pursue at the UA, according to Beech, and Degree Search is designed to help students limit their search to a more digestible list of majors that reflects their interests.

“It’s about arming the student with more information,” Beech said. “I think a lot of times, especially in the student orientation, students are not really sure where to start or how to move on to the next step. Degree Search can be used in a way to help them in finding a degree path.”

After the launch of the program, Beech said it averages about 1,000 new users a day and is emphasized as a tool for prospective UA students.

“It’s clearly getting some traffic, which is really exciting,” Beech said.

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