GW to improve advising system

Officials are working on an electronic undergraduate advising system that will allow students to view their requirements and course options more clearly. The system – Curriculum, Advising and Program Planning – is scheduled to be implemented next year.

The program will initially be available only to academic advisers but will eventually be integrated into the GWeb system for student use. It will provide advisers with two types of reports – the shorter informs supplies an adviser with classes a student took and which need to be taken; the longer report details all classes that would fulfill a specific requirement. For example, all humanities classes at the University would be listed if a student needed to take a humanities course.

“First and foremost, (the program) is designed for academic advisers to track student progress in fulfilling their degree requirements,” said Craig Linebaugh, associate vice president for Academic Planning and Special Projects.

Linebaugh said there were “rare instances” in the past in which advisers misdirected students or miscalculated degree fulfillment. When such a situation occurs, advisers can apply for waivers. Linebaugh said each case is dealt with on an individual basis.

“An advantage of (the program) is that it relieves students and advisers of the need to maintain detailed paper records … so their time can be more effectively spent discussing course selection, internships and future plans,” Linebaugh said.

Although all major advisers will eventually have access to the program, the system will first be phased in by major. Officials are currently testing programs for the “most popular majors” in the Columbian College of Artsand Sciences, Elliott School of International Affairs and School of Engineering and Applied Science. Such majors include political science, history, psychology and computer science.

Other majors will be phased in during the subsequent semesters.

CCAS students can currently request a course balance sheet which lists the all requirements students have left, in the student services office. It takes the office about three weeks to return the sheet to students.

The University hired two professionals in summer 2000 specifically for the project, said University Registrar Dennis Geyer.

Officials said program development was a complex task and that rules must be written for each requirement, including General Curriculum Requirements, majors and minors.

“(The program) is a very complex system approaching artificial intelligence,” Geyer said. “There is a lot of potential for this tool.”

“The key to accuracy is testing. So far we have had mixed success,” he added.

Linebaugh said the program was a “substantial investment” but did not provide a specific figure.

Officials implemented the program for the Law School last year , noting that the school’s requirements are fairly straightforward and that instituting it in the Law School first was a good way to begin understanding the system.

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