UTSA Academic Advising and the Office of Information Technology OIT Promote DegreeWorks to Aid Student Success

August 17, 2016



by Nicole Duff at 2:27 PM in NewsInteresting, ProductivityStudent Info

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In the fall, incoming and returning 'Runners will be greeted by banners, digital signage, and other promotional materials highlighting DegreeWorks, as part of the UTSA Academic Advising and the Office of Information Technology's effort to increase awareness about the interactive degree planning tool. This user-friendly software is available 24 hours a day for FREE to all registered UTSA students, and allows them to clearly map out their individual pathway to graduation.

DegreeWorks offers students and advisors a holistic view of degree requirements, and allows students to build customized semester-by-semester plans to help guide them toward graduation. With this tool, students and advisors can view completed as well as outstanding courses to gain a clearer picture of what courses are left in a student's academic career.

"It's a great tool for students to be able to know their progress toward their degree," said Barbara Smith, executive director of advising. "Students can plan out from their first semester of enrollment to graduation, which can help them stay on track."

Students can choose between creating a blank template and using one provided to help them select courses and map out their plan. Although a student can work individually to develop these plans, DegreeWorks is intended to supplement rather than substitute advising appointments. Students, are, therefore, encouraged to collaborate with their advisors on these plans, as it is critical for students to have an active locked plan, for which only advisors have permission to lock.

"In collaboration with their advisors students will create and lock a semester-by-semester plan starting their first semester at UTSA until graduation," said Sylvia Mansour, director of Interdisciplinary Education Advising. "Students have the option to adjust the plan if needed and electronically submit a new plan to their assigned advisor.  The advisor will review this new semester plan and if approved, lock the new plan as active. Communication between advisor and student is crucial to ensure student stays on track for a timely graduation."

In addition to its planning component, DegreeWorks also contains a progress bar which helps motivate students and allows them to monitor their progress toward degree completion. Students can also explore other degree options and requirements if they decide to change their major, with the 'What If' feature. This feature enables them to see how any changes to their major will impact their current degree completion time and process.

UTSA Academic Advising in conjunction with the UTSA Office of Information Technology (OIT) implemented this software in the fall of 2014. As one of the technologies supported in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) grant, DegreeWorks is intended to help further streamline the advising process to better serve students.

The iPASS grant also supports the communication of DegreeWorks, an essential component for successful user adoption. In addition, it supports the marketing and integration of this tool, including the creation of banners and provision of promotional items for students as well as launch efforts with advisors primarily through training.

"This tool gives the university an idea of when students anticipate taking particular courses, so that we can be more efficient at offering courses they need in the semesters they want them," Smith said. "This will help students stay on track and graduate in four."

 

To access DegreeWorks, visit http://my.utsa.edu/ and click on DegreeWorks near the Student Resources tab or http://utsa.edu/advise and click on the DegreeWorks image.

For DegreeWorks tutorials, visit the Academic Advising YouTube Channel.