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New degree audit system based on graphics, not text

The Degree Audit Reporting System will be undergoing a major overhaul next semester, the first step in a larger consolidation of advising and career services on myBGSU.

The change to DARS is only the first step in an overall revamping of the career and advising services offered on myBGSU. John Ellinger, University chief information officer said the new system, which will be called the Falcon Advising Career Engagement System, or FACES, and will bring all BGSU career and advising programs together under one interface.

“There are about seven or eight different programs around this University that are into the advising and the career management system,” Ellinger said. “We’re trying to pull all those together into a common interface.”

The new interface will be completed by the next fiscial year and will be based more on a graphic representation of the degree audit, rather than the text-based interface that is present now.

This includes the ability to click on a part of the graphic summary, which will take the student to the part of the degree audit they are interested in, courses completed versus ones that are still required and the student’s GPA.

The change in DARS is aimed at making it easier to access and navigate, Ellinger said.

“It’s a little easier to understand,” Ellinger said. “All the information’s there, the problem is it’s in writing. So why not get a graphical interface?”

Ellinger said the decision to change DARS came primarily out of input from the provost and advisers, who he said hear what students want.

Senior Paul Dority agrees with the change in the degree audit system and said accessibility is the main issue.

“It’s not really student accessible,” Dority said. “I had to take at least a year to learn it. It seems to be more for administrators than students.”

However, not all students consider the current degree audit system to be bad. Senior Christy Zapiecki thinks DARS does everything it should do already.

“It’s very effective in the sense you can open [it] up and check what you’ve fulfilled and what you need to fulfill,” Zapiecki said. “It’s been something I’ve been able to figure out [since I was] a freshman.”

Some students are skeptical toward the prospect of FACES.

“Let’s just hope it turns out better than canvas has,” Dority said.

Canvas is the online gradebook system that recently replaced blackboard, and Dority said it was adopted quickly because students were already accustomed to blackboard. The instructors, he said, also do not have much experience with it yet.

In response to FACES, Zapiecki said the new system might prove to be convenient.

“I think [FACES] would make it a lot easier,” Zapiecki said. “It it’s all in one place, it’ll be easier to obtain.”

Ellinger said the new system is aimed at doing exactly that.

“A lot of this, quite frankly, is the connecting of various systems and putting this integrated front door on it,” Ellinger said. “That’s the work, because everything’s sitting there.”

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