aids in academic advising
By LIZ ZANONI
Notre Dame is finalizing new software that will enable faculty and students to have access to information on degree requirements for graduation, said Charles Hurley, the University's assistant registrar.
The new software is designed to make professors experts on the requirements within their departments so they can better assist students with advice. This will be especially useful for Notre Dame's diverse undergraduate program which often experiences quick changes and expansions in required classes, Hurley said.
The Web version of the degree-audit program will enable students to have access to their personal academic records. Students who are thinking about changes in their majors can compute which credits will count toward completing new requirements.
"It will be flexible enough for computing requirements as strict as in the College of Science and liberal enough for ones in the College of Arts and Letters," Hurley said.
Faculty will be able to use Notre Dame's new degree-audit system to compute grade point averages and degree requirements "within split seconds," Hurley said. The program's ability to grab information and data off the mainframe will be five times faster than the current software.
Professors can then use this information to advise students on registering for courses.
"The software will free up the advisor so that they can help students out not just with course requirements, but with information on overall education and life," Hurley said.
Where computing grade point averages, researching academic history and finding appropriate courses can take up the majority of meeting time with students, advisors will now have the freedom to advise students on career possibilities and graduate work.
The current system requires students who want to receive reports charting their progress toward meeting degree requirements to go, in person, to the registrar's office and request the written report. Many universities such as Notre Dame are abandoning these more outdated and inconvenient ways of finding and distributing information, Hurley said.
He said that creating the new program involved the partnership between Notre Dame and Software Research Northwest (SRN), a software manufacturing company who has had a long history of working with Notre Dame software programs. The partnership between SRN and Notre Dame has created a way to reveal an abundance of detailed information on a single Web screen without making the program excessively complicated.
Hurley pointed out that the new software will still demand communication with advisors and faculty about degree-requirements.
"The software is meant to help with advising, not replace it," he said. The deans will make final decision over who has fulfilled the proper requirements for graduation.
"No computer program will tell a dean what the curriculum is and who graduates," Hurley added.
The "self serve" degree audit program is currently being tested by faculty members and should be available for student access through Irish Link sometime next year.
All News Stories for Wednesday, November 17, 1999