Sophia Liu/Mustang News

The Mustang Success Center is currently holding PolyPlanner workshops for students, specifically targeting residence halls. Two have already been completed, including the above workshop held at Cerro Vista on Tuesday.

Suha Saya
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PolyPlanner — Cal Poly’s newest registration tool — is now available for students to use.

The mandatory course demand analysis tool will allow students to plan schedules for their remaining time at Cal Poly. The system will signal departments and colleges of how many students need to take a specific course, Associate Registrar Debbie Arseneau said.

“It’s a planning tool for both the students and the university,” she said. “We want students to go on PolyPlanner every quarter because we’re going to be pulling in this data to give to academic departments.”

Right now, course demand data is very hard to predict, Arseneau said.

“It’s very difficult to know the future and guess what classes students need at a given time,” she said. “But if students follow their flow chart, look at what they need and what they have completed and plan remaining courses accordingly, the system will improve.”

On PolyPlanner, course recommendations are given based on degree flowcharts that indicate when students should take certain classes. With the help of those recommendations, students can drag courses over to place in a specific term.

The Office of the Registrar will send out targeted communications to students letting them know when they will need to plan a specific term.

“We encourage students to plan for one year at minimum, but they can plan all four years depending on where they are in terms of graduating,” she said. “Incoming freshmen are going to have the largest terms to plan for, but if you’re a senior, you’re only going to have a couple quarters to plan.”

Students will be required to log into PolyPlanner during a set time during the registration period each quarter. If they log in once a quarter during registration, they will have met that requirement, Arseneau said.

PolyPlanner will also work alongside PASS in Fall 2014, according to Arseneau. Students will be able to see what courses they’ve planned for when the time comes to register for that specific quarter.

The Office of Registrar hopes students update PolyPlanner when their future plans change.

“You’re going to be registering for spring soon, and what you register for and what you end up with at the end of that add/drop period won’t always be the same — class availability or time conflicts may change your plan,” she said. “When this happens, we hope that you go back into PolyPlanner and change things, so it shifts everything else and remains accurate for the future.”

Cem Sunata, the university registrar, indicated that PolyPlanner does not set future class schedules in stone.

“There are some elements PolyPlanner cannot resolve — timeslots, time conflicts with students’ demand, faculty preference — so students will also have to be flexible,” he said. “It will not be a guarantee that those courses indicated will be available, but it will give us something to plan around.”

Shannon Stephens, Mustang Success Center director, agreed.

“If students are expecting that as soon as they use PolyPlanner this term they’re going to have all the classes they need next quarter, that’s not going to happen,” Stephens said. “Over time, though, they’ll start to see trends that can then influence departments … people are going to have to be a little more patient because we’re going to have to collect data first before making a difference.”

Sunata acknowledged that the Office of the Registrar is making the system mandatory in order to ensure accurate demand information.

“As long as students use this process faithfully, give us accurate information for future quarters and adjust their demand information accordingly, degree progress should become easier for students and they should have better access to classes,” Sunata said.

The Mustang Success Center is currently holding PolyPlanner workshops for students, specifically targeting residence halls. The center has 10 workshops planned, with two already completed, Stephens said.

Two open forums about PolyPlanner will also be held each month through April. The forums will be available to all students and will also include a workshop. Additional forums will be held for faculty and staff as well, he said.

“The university has a level of responsibility in helping students get the classes they need to graduate, and the students have a responsibility when it comes to planning, too,” Stephens said. “This particular tool can hold both the university and students accountable, and has the potential to reduce issues we have with registration.”

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