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Student Planning replaces WebAdvisor
When University Registrar Joshua Berry arrived on campus 18 months ago, he immediately saw a place for improvement in his department: WebAdvisor. This student advising and registration tool had been in place for years at Quinnipiac, and some students said it was antiquated and confusing.
Prior to Berry’s arrival, the university had purchased a new program known as Student Planning, which is produced by the owner of WebAdvisor, Ellucian. Ellucian is “the leader in higher education technology,” according to its website. Since Berry was hired, his office has been working to implement this tool, which was released to the entire student body on March 1.
When using Student Planning, the Quinnipiac community will notice that it isn’t the same as WebAdvisor.
“The look and feel is drastically different,” Berry said. “It is a much cleaner application.”
When browsing for courses, Berry said students will have a much easier time finding an open course than they did using WebAdvisor.
“[Student Planning] allows a student to view information concurrently rather than in just one location,” Berry said.
Students can now view planned courses next to their schedule, making it easier to visualize a potential schedule. Sections are now organized by showing which class level is open and by clicking on that class, the students will see a list of sections available, making it easier for students to find open courses.
“As soon as you login, you’ll be able to see if the class is open or not,” Berry said.
Students are also able to view how many seats are left in a course while browsing the course catalog, rather than simply seeing “Open” or “Closed.”
Other than a more modern look and feel, Student Planning offers an exciting new feature that is right in the name: planning.
Berry explained that students will now be able to add classes to future terms, which will allow students to plan as far ahead as their final term in graduate school.
The course catalog now allows students to list all courses offered by the university, whether or not they are being offered for an upcoming term, along with the frequency that the class is offered. For example, this will allow students to add a class that is offered in the fall semester every other year to their schedule a year down the road, however, this won’t be an official registration for the course even if a student adds a course to their plan. They will still need to register for their classes each semester.
Faculty have been able to access the program for several weeks and, according to Berry, feedback has been mostly positive, despite a few challenges.
“The ability to see what a student sees in comparison is a big win,” Berry said. “WebAdvisor looked different for different roles. Now the students and faculty have very similar or the exact same views, which will help mitigate any kind of confusion when planning courses.”
As this program was purchased prior to his arrival, Berry does not know the exact cost of this new software. However, the program had a one-time cost when purchased, followed by an annual maintenance fee. This model is common for enterprise software provided by Ellucian and other vendors.
The Chronicle was given early access to the program on Feb. 25, and showed the program to several students, who had positive reactions to Student Planning.
“It looks a lot cleaner,” freshman J.T. Castellanete said. “In [WebAdvisor], everything is hidden behind a bunch of links and you don’t know where to find stuff, this lays it out a lot easier.”
Sophomore Katie O’Neil had similar criticisms about WebAdvisor and praise for Student Planning.
“I always feel like I can’t find my GPA, and it’s right there [on Student Planning], making it a lot easier,” she said. “You always have to go through so many steps on WebAdvisor.”
Many students are excited about the more modern look and feel of the program.
“I think it looks a lot more helpful, it’s more open and planned out and looks a lot more organized,” freshman Alex Segar said.
According to Berry, the only part of WebAdvisor that will remain for students is the option to find their registration dates as well as a few other minor features. These will be phased out over the next few years.
In addition to an informational video, the Registrar’s Office will be holding three open-door information sessions to help students learn to use the new software.