DegreeWorks software errors cause confusion

With spring in the air and graduation on the horizon, many students are repeatedly checking their degree progress.

DegreeWorks, a program offered through UCC’s Self-Service Banner is how students can keep track of degree requirements.
According to the UCC’s DegreeWorks manager Kendy Jones, “ A lot of students like DegreeWorks and like seeing the degree move forward.”

Since DegreeWorks debut around 2007, it has been a go-to program for colleges and universities that want to integrate more technology in students’ day to day life.

However, the progam is not without its problems. This year, several students have reported seeing confusing changes in DegreeWorks. It is unclear just how many students are affected, but Les Rogers, director of the Transfer Opportunity Program, did file a complaint because of the large number of T.O.P. students affected.

Some students saw their classes change into different sections, meaning they no longer had their section requirements met.
Other students were confused because DegreeWorks did not match program pre-requisites.

Still other students found that credited work experience, CWE, automatically applied the maximum number of credits with no easy way to fix the error.

Students concerned about their degrees should first check their student records then make sure that the information displayed in DegreeWorks matches and is sorted into the right attributes or categories.

The program works by taking the degree checklist for a student’s desired degree and organizing the audit much like a to-do list. For example, an AAOT student is categorized on DegreeWorks AAOT degree checklist. As the student fills the different requirements they can see their progression as well as holds on their account, the name of their counselor, their G.P.A., a G.P.A. calculator, and any plans the student or counselor has made.

But what happens when the student takes a class like WR 123 which can fulfill a writing requirement or an elective if the student has taken WR 121 and WR 122? UCC’s DegreeWorks program is having some trouble properly organizing these types of classes in degree audits, and it’s affecting some students’ ability to graduate.

Since many classes have the ability to fill more than one requirement, the program is having difficulty properly categorizing all classes without glitches.

This is because DegreeWorks will sort classes with the most logical attribute, not the intended one. The University of Wichita experienced this problem in 2015, so the problem is not just local.

Jones, UCC’s DegreeWorks manager, says that the program “uses many different programs behind it . . . and a lot of information to sort classes.” Jones also said that although she didn’t think previously that she would get involved in the computer field, she is excited to have the opportunity for a full time DegreeWorks position. Currently she works part time in the library and part time in UCC’s IT department while the DegreeWorks position description is being redefined by the administration.

Jones’s predecessor, Elizabeth Baskett, left the position in December for a position in administration and left Jones to play catch up in learning how the program works. But the DegreeWorks program is not simple or easy for operating staff.
When there is a problem outside of Jones’s hands, she has praised the Ellucian/DegreeWorks support system as well as UCC’s IT department. As far as the degree audit errors of the students affected, Jones has shared that the errors don’t take long to fix. “As soon as I get the email, I can pretty much look into it. It usually takes a few minutes unless it’s an unusual circumstance.”

DegreeWorks is currently paid for by grants which will run out in September of this year. Cynthia Corkey, UCC’s Title III coordinator, is in charge of renewing the grant.

If something seems unusual, students are encouraged to meet with UCC advisers on campus who can then send an email to Jones to make the changes in the program manually.

To get to the DegreeWorks planner, open the college website, log in to Student Self-Service with your 800 number, go to “Student,” then “Student Records” and then “Degree Audit and Planner.”

Additional information about DegreeWorks can be found at: https://www.umpqua.edu/degree-works-faqs.