Thursday, April 28, 2011

Students Can Track Degree Progress in OLSIS~by Jeff Bell 2/8/2011

Anthony Underwood

by Jeff Bell
A new audit system within the Online Student Information System (OLSIS) will help students track their degree progress while selecting classes. The audit system for online majors, phase one, released in November 2010. This rolling release has allowed the staff time to work out any problems encountered at the start up.
The primary problems are being encountered within the Banner system. Banner and OLSIS use the same database; Banner is used to input and manage data whereas OLSIS is used simply to view the data
The new Banner system caused small glitches to occur within the online audit system when first initiated.
“These problems have all been worked out,” said vice president for student services. Anthony Underwood, “The program will simply be another option within the OLSIS menu.”
The student will need to select a major in order to use this system. OLSIS will then, using the current class catalog, list the classes yet to be taken to attain the credits needed for the degree field selected. Students will still be responsible for checking class availability and registering.
The system is scheduled to be almost completely rolled out by Mar. 31, after some field testing is complete. Phase two (Associate’s degree listings) and phase three (four-year programs) will complete the audit options. The final sections of implementation will be the transfer student class equivalencies. Each class from an outside institution will have to be accredited and hand entered into the system, which will take immense amounts of time, before a database is established.
WVU Parkersburg Registrar Leslie Sims and Debra Lockhart are the persons credited with the dedicated hard work and progress of the actual implementation of this system; however, staff members from Institutional Advancement as well as Workforce and Community Education have volunteered some of their work hours to aid in the task of building this database. "Their diligence is keeping the costs of implementation low, for the audit system is already part of OLSIS," Underwood said. “The work hours involved in the implementation and the building of the database are basically the entire cost,” said Underwood.
  After Mar. 31, training sessions will be held for advisors and divisional secretaries.
Underwood said, “It is so easy to use, it borders on self-explanatory; however, if needed, the Records Office will help students with use.” This system will be free and available for use by every registered student.
“This program will also help with student retention,” said Underwood. “A student struggling with a chosen degree field can easily check accreditation toward another field.”  This means a student can easily change degree direction, field of study or complete major instead of getting discouraged and simply dropping out, thus making academic advising more effective.
Academic advising will be greatly improved, allowing the advisors to focus more on mentoring and guidance rather than class registration.
Advisors will be capable of quickly and easily showing the student all options available and students can make educated decisions with all information easily available to them.
            Information on this program is available at the Student Services office website or calling the office at (304) 424-8209 or the information desk at (304) 424-8000

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