The Office of the Registrar released its new app, Degree Tracker, to music and communications majors at the beginning of March with the intent to create a simpler way for students to plan for their degrees. In the month following its launch, it has been opened up to all majors and made mandatory for students to use it for upcoming academic registration.
In the past, MyVU has proven to be difficult when it comes to planning classes and registering, but Degree Tracker is intended to give students all the functions of MyVU and more.
According to the registration guide sent by the Registrar, the app will be able to plan all aspects of a student’s degree, allowing them to add courses to their “timeline,” otherwise known as the four-year plan, and as register for their courses. They will also be able to view course descriptions, communicate with their advisor, view their progress (including both units completed and pending) and test out different options for future courses or majors.
The app was designed by core team of three people in the Registrar’s office: Judy Hamilton, David Paltza, and Paris Clark. According to Paltza, the team created the app in response to the requests made in student surveys, where students were asking for newer technology that would make registering and tracking their progress easier than trying to navigate MyVU.
“It’s good for us as a university to stay up with the times, but obviously that means that means money and budget and resources and the personal to fill it out and of course just being sure that it’s the right technology and not just doing it for the heck of it,” Paltza said.
Though the app was introduced to the communication and music departments first, according to Paltza, it was always the Registrar’s intent to open the app up campus-wide this semester. These two majors were chosen to be the test group because both advise sooner than the rest of the school, plus both advisors are very hands-on throughout the process. Additionally, the size of the communication department and the complexity of music major’s schedules gave a diverse spectrum to make an ideal test group, Paltza said.
Students and faculty alike have responded optimistically with the new technology. Although understanding how to navigate may take a moment, students and faculty alike have been warming up to the change. Chair of the English department, Professor Warren Doody, had his reservations with the app at first, but overall he believes it is the best development for Vanguard.
“If we don’t keep up with the technology, we’re perceived as being a university that is sort of antiquated, behind the times. I have a love-hate relationship with technology…Usually, I have a knee-jerk response, ‘this is annoying’, ‘why do I have to do this’, ‘I don’t want to do this’. I was happily surprised that I did not have that attitude with the degree tracker, and that’s the trend,” Doody said.
Students seem to be liking the app despite struggles understanding it fully. Sophomore communication major Maddie Bertrand is especially excited about how the app will show what classes you have left and the layout of your class schedule.
The Degree Tracker seems to be a good step in technology for Vanguard. For those who still have confusion or trouble navigating the app, Registrar is offering tutorials for both students and faculty.