The Office of Student Success (OSS) announced the University’s Academic Planner web tool will be terminated on Oct. 14. Degree Works will be the primary method for students to plan their classes ahead of advising.
According to the Office of Student Success Director Brian French, the platform, created by a UM web team back in 2009, just can’t function the way it used to.
“The primary issue and reason it’s being taken down is that it’s no longer maintainable. The data is no longer accurate as a result, and it’s only a matter of time before it literally breaks,” French said. “And that’s not in anyone’s best interest.”
French said OSS plans to send more information to students and advisors in the upcoming weeks, mostly about transferring upcoming semester plans to Degree Works and providing instructions for navigating the Degree Works platform. The idea is to encourage students to connect with their advisors and create graduation plans together, said French.
IT Director Gordon Pace said OSS, IT and the Office of the Registrar made the joint decision to terminate Academic Planner and replace it with the Degree Works tool. As the Academic Planner platform grew older and older, and the original IT members who created it moved away, terminating it was the best option, said Pace.
“We don’t have that same level of staffing on our web team anymore,” Pace said. “So that’s one of the issues IT has been facing: deciding whether you build systems or you buy them. Part of the challenge of building them yourself is you have to be willing to continue maintaining and supporting them.”
Degree Works is located in a student’s Cyberbear account, and in the past it has been mainly advertised for its “What if” feature, which allows a student to run hypothetical academic progress scenarios based on different classes they might be interested in. The software generates the percentage of class requirements a student has accomplished as well as what is left as a requirement.
French said Degree Works is also a better platform because students can transfer an entire semester plan directly into registration, rather than copy-pasting course registration numbers, or CRNs, from Academic Planner into Cyberbear registration.
The Office of the Registrar has more information about Degree Works on its website, including an FAQ and instructions for using the platform. Students can expect a series of emails in the upcoming weeks about the transfer as Academic Planner is phased out and Degree Works is phased in.