Degree Progress Report needs to change


By Aaron Brooks

Why are advisors so busy during Thanksgiving? Because students do not know what the hell they are suppose to take for classes.

The Degree Progress Report, located on MyNIU, frustrates students’ enrollment processes. It misrepresents class necessity: technological error. It also is a Neanderthal in terms of aesthetics and interaction: fundamental error.

My solution, endorsed by Jill Boersma, director of undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, can be acted upon within the university immediately.

The DPR on MyNIU should categorize degree requirements. Within these subsections of the page, a student would be able to select classes by selecting a department then a class from drop-down boxes. Only the classes that will fulfill that specific categorized degree requirement will be shown. Once classes are selected, the DPR should calculate what has and what has not been taken, then limit future choices based on this projected map to graduation.

Small corrections will be needed with time; because a system cannot exactly project what classes will be available in a specific semester, but can be designed with the expectation of that class being offered at least X number of times within a year.

Such a proposal would allow students to understand their senior schedule in their freshman year. An interactive, forward-looking system would also allow students greater ability to succeed in their course work.

For example, this coming semester I am taking 15 credit hours and have to study for the Law School Admissions Test in June. If an advisor would have told me that my junior year would be hectic, I could then, with my proposed upgrade to the DPR, been better able to tailor my semester with electives; rather than a semester with 300 and 400 level requirements.

There is also no reason why students cannot create this for us. From within us comes the creator of If approached and given the opportunity, I am confident that we have competent students who can lead us out of the dark ages by designing a more intelligent interface.

As by my writing, I am not fluent in programming lingo, so programmers need to write in. Can you design something better?

Administration: You know that I know that you are busy, but you must take time to address this issue. I do not think that this request is an unreasonable one, seeing that it is our future at stake. As much as we love NIU, it sure would be nice to walk confidently toward graduation; instead of praying that we get there on time by chance.

Luckily, I can still decipher my scribbled over four year plan, so my future does not rely on the DPR. For if I had to plan a degree on the information made accessible to me, I would earn a degree playing the guitar.