Degree Works upgrade problem a hiccup on the road to improvement
By Madison Campbell-
For the past five years, Tarleton State University’s students have been able to receive online advising, view degree requirements and check previous course grades through the Degree Works software.
Over the winter break, Tarleton implemented an upgrade for the system which Registrar Susan Stoker said creates a more “consolidated and simplified look” compared to the previous block format.
Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Management Dr. David Weissenburger said the needed upgrade will bring the software up to date. “We were many versions behind and missing several features,” he said.
However, during the transition from the old 32-bit to the new 64-bit software, students’ course substitutions became “unhooked” as Dr. Stoker explains. Although course substitutions are seen at the bottom of the degree evaluation, the exception is not enforced.
Aware of this problem caused by the upgrade, the registrar’s office is working on re-enforcing the substitutions that impacts every current Tarleton student. Though they are working daily on inserting the substitutions for each student, the office expects the date for completion is still months away.
Weissenburger says he “greatly appreciates the patience” from students and academic advisers during this time. “We are aware of the problem and have been working on a solution.”
Weissenburger recommends that students visit with their advisers to ensure the problem is addressed as soon as possible. Stocker said every student who took a course again for a higher grade should take a detailed look into the degree audits because, even though a substitution is applied, it may not be the correct one.
Although the new upgrade is fresh, Weissenburger and Stoker continue to think about improvements for the future. Currently, the registrar’s office is meeting one-on-one with each department head to ensure accuracy of course descriptions and exceptions.
Tarleton will soon transfer the current three-digit course number to the four-digit Texas Common Course Numbering System (TCCMS). According to the TCCMS website, 115 Texas colleges and universities are using this system of identical course descriptions and equivalent numbering rubric aiding in the process of transfer credit.
Weissenburger also said that Tarleton will soon also introduce Course Schedule. This software presents possible class schedules for individual students depending on their own personal preferences. The program will filter out class sections that do not coincide with the student’s preferences and produce possible schedule options that students can choose from.
The registrar’s office is working to join together this new software with the current class register program so students can choose the schedule they wish and can register for all the sections with one click of a button.
In addition, the registrar’s office plans to create a more realistic concentration plan for students. Currently, under the ‘What If” feature of Degree Works, every possible concentration appears even if the university does not allow it. This update would provide more specific concentrations available for selected majors.
Weissenburger and Stoker encourage students to take a proactive approach when it comes to their education by being aware of course substitutions, communicating with their adviser and checking their student email.