The VPM Blog

Why DegreeWorks Just Doesn't...Work

Posted by Rachael Gamlin on Nov 3, 2014 9:29:00 AM

Here at Auburn, there is a system for students to be able to monitor their progress toward their degree(s). This program, known as DegreeWorks, allows you to “check your status” to make sure you’re on track and in the right classes. In principle, it is supposed to act like a quick advisor if you don’t know where you stand in your progress to your degree. And it’s a great tool to principle.

The system however, is flawed and difficult to navigate. The interface itself is not very intuitive because it is divided into several different sections with unclear symbols to show which courses have been completed and which ones students have to finish. Honestly, the main page looks like one you’d find in the early 2000s, and for college students, that just doesn’t cut it.

Because of its confusing nature, DegreeWorks can often send students into a panicked frenzy when it appears to have misplaced classes or says there are still classes that haven’t been fulfilled. Often times, certain credits don’t show up or don’t appear as completed, especially if they are AP or transfer credit, which ultimately confuses students even more.

The problems with this program emphasize the need for great advisors across different schools and colleges within a university. I’ve talked to a lot of my friends who are unhappy with DegreeWorks and don’t get everything cleared up about their schedule until they can directly speak with an advisor, thus taking up time with simple questions that could be virtually answered if the system was better.

However, one thing that the program is really good at is giving students a sense of which courses they still have to finish in order to receive their degree. Next to an uncompleted class, there is a list of classes that can be taken to fill this gap. Although the list only includes the course numbers and not names, it is still beneficial to students who are unclear on which classes to register for.

The concept behind DegreeWorks is great -- a virtual advisor that you can check anytime, anywhere. It can inform those students who wake up sweating at 3 a.m and start freaking out that they’ll never graduate. But as it stands, DegreeWorks would simply terrify that paranoid student even more. If the site itself were to improve, it could definitely be a great asset to students and would probably result in substantially fewer panicked advisor visits.


photo credit: gadgetdude via photopin cc

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