Student Services is preparing to roll out new online tools this spring to aid students in their education planning by implementing new virtual counseling software.
Both programs, Degree Works and Intelliresponse, are geared toward getting more vital information to students’ fingertips. Degree Works, which was purchased with the Banner software that students know as LancerPoint, “is a comprehensive academic advising, transfer articulation and degree audit solution,” according to the company’s website. Students can use it to create their own education plans, see plans that counselors have made for them in one-on-one sessions and see completed coursework and what courses they need to reach their educational goals.
This is a huge improvement on the program that counselors are working with now, said Myriam Altounji, one of six counselors on the Degree Works support team. The current program doesn’t include the ability for students to incorporate their education plans into their LancerPoint account.
“The way that it’s set up now, the system that we have currently—although great—isn’t accessible to students,” said Altounji. “It’s only for counselors and all we can do is email students their plans.”
Students can even create “what if” scenarios with the tool, accessed through LancerPoint, in which they can choose different areas of interest and see how their current coursework applies to that interest and what they’d need to complete to achieve that goal.
“So, as a student you could pursue your various interests and look to see how many more requirements it would take to change your interest,” said Cynthia Olivo, the associate vice president of student affairs. “Which I think many students are going to like.”
Intelliresponse, which costs $80,000 and was funded entirely by the Student Equity Initiative and Student Success, Support and Planning Initiative, is a much simpler tool. It tracks the search queries made by students on the college website and populates a “top ten” list of the most searched topics. This list regenerates regularly, ensuring that it is always reflecting what students are most interested in at any given time.
Next fall, Olivo said PCC plans on implementing a class scheduler tool that takes data provided by the student and Degree Works and uses it to provide students with a list of courses that fit within their schedule and contribute to their educational goals and suggests the order in which to take them.
Student Services is also working on adding other tech tools to help students manage their education plan, like transcript evaluation software for transfer students and revamping the current two-and-a-half-hour orientation video, which has been viewed over 92,000 times, to be more interactive.
PCC currently has a student body of about 30,000, creating a great demand for counseling services. Olivo said that she hopes these new tools provided to students will help the 21 full-time counselors, 25 adjunct counselors and two transcript evaluators allocate more of their time to students who need a little more one-on-one time.
“One way to increase student success is to provide the tools,” said Olivo. “So that the students who can be self reliant can take that information and run with it and then we can focus on the students who need our support.”
Just like with the student-named LancerPoint, PCC is holding a contest for students to name the Degree Works program. Students interested in participating in the contest can submit their suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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