Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

DegreeWorks brings the utility of advisers to student computers

UTSA’s new online DegreeWorks program promises to help students track the progress of their degrees. The university introduced the program this semester as part of the UTSA academic advising system overhaul.

According to Executive Director of Advising Barbara Smith, there are two main sections of the DegreeWorks website — accessible via a link under the Student Services tab of ASAP. The first section is the planner component, which allows students to work with their adviser to develop a personalized semester-by-semester degree plan that advisers approve and access 24/7.

Smith hopes that having a personalized semester-by-semester plan will afford students a better understanding of course sequencing and allow them to plan and register for courses, add and drop classes and even change majors.

The website’s second section, “Worksheets,” helps students audit their degree progress to ensure they are on the path to graduation.

On the landing page of the worksheets section, student users can track their progress on a timeline as well as consult a list of required classes. A key and disclaimer, which warns that the online evaluation is not an official degree evaluation, can be found at the bottom of the webpage.

The first worksheet in the section is the ‘What-If’ worksheet, which gives a student the ability to do a ‘what-if’ analysis if they are undecided or considering changing majors. Smith explained that the worksheet enables students to see where their credits hours would apply and what they have left to complete for each major.

The second worksheet, ‘Look Ahead,’ allows students to select courses and see how that course could fit into their degree plan. A student will need to know the subject and course number to complete this section.

Smith stated that “there are still tweaks to be made” to DegreeWorks.

For example, the program is not compatible with course catalogs before 2010.

Additionally, students with more than one major, like political science and psychology double major Anthony Mendoza, have experienced errors such as courses being applied to the wrong degree plan.

“DegreeWorks is definitely useful, but until errors have been fixed, I would still rely on a course catalog rather than the new program to check whether I have completed my degree requirements accurately,” said Mendoza.

While some have not had the best experience, others find the site quite useful. Electrical engineering major and freshman, Ramon Ruiz, uses the program and highly recommends it to other students.

“I liked that it very clearly shows what your plan should be and where you fall on it and the pace at which it should take you to finish,” said Ruiz. “You can tell what you need to do to be on time.”

Ruiz plans to use the link again whenever he meets with his adviser. “If you don’t have an idea of what classes you should be taking right now, I would recommend going there not as a replacement to visiting your adviser, but more of a guideline,” he said.

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