PA Advising Groups Go Paperless, Switch to Online Course Selection For Winter Term Classes

After months of anticipation, the Online Advising System is finally available to students and advisors for Winter Term course selection. According to Paul Cernota, Scheduling Officer, the implementation of the Online Advising Program will make scheduling, course selection and academic advising a more accessible and efficient process. The online program will notify students about scheduling problems, class availability and course prerequisites. The system will also allow academic advisors to check in more frequently with their advisees and receive notifications when students need to make a course change. Cernota said there have been no serious technical problems with the program, but he expects it will take time for the community to fully adjust to online course selection. “There have been some minor issues that we didn’t expect, but we figured them out after a few days. Overall, the program is working well,” said Cernota. Academic advisors have been trained in using the system and are able to meet individually with Cernota for further help. According to Cernota, the Online Advising System is currently in a “transition phase.” “We wanted to launch [the system] this fall so that people can get accustomed to it before the spring term free-for-all,” he said. Korn said the goal has always been to launch the program during the 2009-2010 school year. “It’s been launched already, so, if anything, we’re ahead of schedule. That’s thanks to what I would describe as heroic work,” she said. Korn gave credit to Kathryn Dolan, Assistant Dean of Studies for Advising, Paul Cernota, Scheduling Officer, Kim Wegrzyn, Senior Applicant Developer and Project Learner, Judy Hoyt, Associate Director of Information Systems and members of the Technology Office and the Dean of Studies Office for the timely launch of the program. Before releasing the program for school-wide use, the Advising Council, a group of veteran advisors that meets to discuss advising issues, conducted a series of tests last winter to screen the program for potential problems. Some student advising groups also piloted the online course selection system last spring to make sure it was ready to launch. Advisors who have already used the system felt it was a promising improvement. Reverend Anne Gardner, Director of Spiritual and Religious Life and an advisor to Junior girls said, “The beauty of the online catalogue is that it gives you an accurate and up-to-date listing of all courses available. It’s a really good tool to use during an advising meeting.” Elizabeth Washburn, an advisor and a house counselor in Tucker House, said, “So far [the online course selection system] seems to be working well. I think they’ve put a lot of work into getting more information to the advisors so they can make the best decisions.”