Registration is changing at Cal Poly.
The first change involves graduating seniors.
Those who are graduating in spring or summer 2014 will be provided spring 2014 priority registration, according to an email from the Office of the Registrar. This is to help them get the courses they need to graduate, according to the email.
Another change deals with determining course demand.
The Office of the Registrar Information Technology Services has been developing new software called Poly Planner for nearly two years, University Registrar Cem Sunata said.
“We want to be able to know the courses that (students) need to graduate,” Sunata said, “because sometimes course demand can be a problem at Cal Poly.”
Poly Planner is a course demand analysis tool, Sunata said. The plan is to give students “roadmaps” based on their major, and if applicable, concentration, he said.
Much like the degree progress report, Poly Planner will show students what courses they need to take to complete their degree, as well as what courses they have already taken and what they still need to take.
However, the new software is interactive.
Poly Planner allows students to click and drag their remaining courses to the future quarters they hope to take them. When 17,000 to 18,000 current undergraduate students do that, it gives the Office of the Registrar and the colleges demand information for those courses, Sunata said.
Sunata called Poly Planner an “unprecedented effort.”
“I think students will really appreciate the fact that, for the first time ever, they have a say in creating a class schedule of the institution that they are attending,” he said.
The current plan is to release Poly Planner in Winter 2014, Sunata said.
However, the demand data will not affect registration for Spring 2014, and probably won’t affect Summer or Fall 2014 either.
“But it will give the departments the opportunity to tweak those (course offerings) based on the demand data,” Sunata said.
The winter release will allow students to become acclimated with the new software. Sunata compared the experience to online banking.
“It’s kind of a laborious process the first time around, setting it up,” he said. “But the next time you go to online banking all you do is just make a payment. You schedule a payment and get out.”
Sunata said he wants students to become familiar with the software and give them an opportunity to ask questions if they have them.
In April or May 2014, Sunata said the office will tell students they will pull the data on a particular date. That data will be used to influence Winter 2015 schedules.
Despite the data, the colleges will not be able to accommodate 100 percent of the demand, Sunata said. Reasons include resources, not having faculty for a class or simply more students wanting a class than it can hold.
“It’s not going to be a perfect world,” he said. “It’s going to be a major improvement in what we do have, which is nothing.”
Additionally, the university is currently discussing different methods of revamping the registration appointment system, Sunata said. However, no decisions have been made yet.
“We want to make it more meaningful to students and less mysterious, so to speak,” he said. “It will be decided very soon here as we go forward.”