Online audit system to be implemented in January, streamlines scheduling

Students will be able to eliminate some of the stress that comes with scheduling thanks to the implementation of Central Michigan University's new online audit system.

The program began phase one testing Oct. 8 for more than 70 faculty and staff volunteers. The first stage of testing allows for the online audit of general education requirements for undergraduates, the master of science in administration degree for all students in the program and an advising workbench where faculty and staff can access student demographic and academic information.

“It sounds like a good plan to me,” Professor of Geography James Pytko said. “Having been a student here myself, I know how scheduling conflicts can go. Hopefully this can help make things easier.”

University Registrar Karen Hutslar said students will now be able to determine exactly where they stand in the progress toward their degree. The program will show a detailed list of what courses have been satisfied, what is in progress and what requirements are unmet.

“Access to this information is a valuable resource,” Hutslar said in a news release Thursday. “It serves as an ongoing audit for individual students and allows for better course decisions, the planning of classes and fulfilling all requirements for graduation.”

Hutslar was unavailable for comment on the audit system or the costs of the project.

The final version of the program is scheduled to become available to students in January 2013 through CentralLink. Students should receive an official notice about the project within the next several days.

“I hope this program doesn’t entirely eliminate in-person auditing,” Marysville senior Kurt Fitzgerald said. “I know that a lot of people think it’s a real pain to schedule an audit, but the option still needs to be available. I think the program will be good for students who have been in college for a while, but face-to-face meetings can’t be entirely replaced with an online program – at least for new students.”

Lynn L’Hommedieu is an academic advisor in the Towers Success Center and one of the beta testers of the program.

She said she’s not worried about a potential negative impact on current academic advisers in terms of being replaced by this automated system.

“Even if the program ends up offering only general education requirements, this frees up so much more time for advisers for substantial conversations about student goals,” L’Hommedieu said. “This will hopefully improve how students view scheduling, streamline the process and generally make it more clear for everyone involved.”

However, not everybody is as enthusiastic about the implementation of the system. Associate Professor of Art and Design Clark Most said it's important to be aware of funds involved in the project.

“I haven’t looked into the software that they’re using, but it could make things a lot more efficient for students,”  he said. “(But,) if it’s anything like the recent $600,000 website we’re using, it could be different, though. We don’t want to have anything we don’t need.”
Progress has also been made to add additional degrees, majors, minors and graduate programs in accordance with the 2011-2012 academic bulletin.

The degree audit team will also be working directly with departments and plan on developing these additions on a rolling basis as they are tested.


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