As students prepare for Advising Day next week, this will be the last semester that GUXpress will be used.
Gannon University introduced Student Planning, which will replace GUXpress.
This project started because the software that runs GUXpress is being discontinued, so Gannon had to transition to a new system.
Amanda Washek, a tech specialist and academic adviser in the Academic Advising Center, was part of a committee that was comprised of various faculty and staff across the university.
They provided perspective from an academic advising point of view. She also played a role in training.
This project has gone through three pilot phases so far.
The first phase pilot began in November 2017 with students and faculty from the radiology and industrial engineering programs and the criminal justice department.
The phase two pilot, which started in March 2018, expanded to the biology and computer science departments and 15 programs within the education department.
The third and final phase occurred in November 2018 within the psychology, philosophy, mechanical engineering, chemistry and biomedical engineering departments and the Dahlkemper School of Business.
Washek said there are significant advantages to using Student Planning including that students now have the option to plan all four years of courses at once to see the trajectory of their degree.
“This allows more insight into what will happen if they fail a course, have to take a course a different semester or what it would look like to change their major and plan the new requirements they would have to meet,” Washek said.
This planning feature also allows the university to forecast how many sections of a course will be needed ahead of time based on how many students plan in advance to take that course in a particular semester.
In addition to that planning feature, Student Planning introduces a wait listing function, which didn’t previously exist in GUXpress.
This allows students to join a waitlist for a course and then be alerted when it is their turn to be added from the waitlist. It has led to new sections being created when there is a need based on how long a waitlist gets.
With GUXpress, the university didn’t know how many students wanted to take a course that had been filled already, and adding classes involved emails and paper forms.
In a recent survey, which Tim Dell, a senior programmer analyst in ITS, administered, both advisers and students in the pilot phases reported significantly higher levels of satisfaction with Student Planning versus GUXpress.
There were three in-person student trainings held last fall as well as numerous training sessions for the faculty in the pilot as well as training videos and supplemental training materials.
The university is still developing additional student training videos and is in the process of planning open training sessions as well for students who have not been in the previous three pilot groups.
Although Student Planning is available, students will still use GUXpress this semester to schedule.
Julia Mack, the director of the criminal justice department, has been very active since phase one and said she loves the new Student Planning software.
“It has been extremely beneficial when planning out students’ schedules for their entire time here, rather than thinking about their schedules one semester at a time,” Mack said.
“It allows students to examine how their coursework work falls into other curriculums if they are thinking of changing their major.”
Mack said she guesses that most students who have used GUXpress since they started at Gannon will love the new software even though it’s something new that they would have to learn how to use.
“One important note to students is to make sure they still register for their classes on their specified date and time,” Mack said.
“I have had a few students fail to register during their specified time and lose out on some of their planned courses.”
In terms of Advising Day, there shouldn’t be too much difficulty transitioning. Mack said it just takes a little getting used to. Students should still test out the new software, so they are at least a little familiar with it prior to Advising Day and scheduling for next semester.
Mack’s recommendation to students would be to plan out your schedule for the fall prior to meeting with your adviser on Advising Day, which will allow advisers to look over the planned schedules more quickly so that they can spend more time mentoring their students.
Danielle Kowalski, a junior interdisciplinary studies major, wanted to test the new software prior to meeting with her adviser.
At first, she liked how she could see if the classes she was trying to take would overlap with each other. But for some of the courses, it wouldn’t let her scroll down past where it says when it’s typically offered, and you need to in order to add the course to your plan.
“Some of it is easier to use than GUXpress when you can view your progress and quickly switch to looking up courses,” Kowalski said.
“However, one thing that became frustrating is when it would say a course is offered in both fall and spring, but it still won’t let you add it to any semester.”
Another thing Kowalski noticed was that even with typing in LFIN, for example, to search for the liberal studies core fine arts courses, other subjects would be shown between the available LFIN courses, which made it a little confusing.
The courses are also not listed in ascending numerical order like they were on GUXpress.
Kowalski said she thinks it would be helpful to make a few more adjustments to fix these minor problems, it will probably make the software even more efficient in successfully helping plan out the rest of students’ time at college.
Overall, though, Kowalski said that the new Student Planning option is easy to navigate, and she doesn’t think students will struggle with the transition to it.