New web tool unveiled in time for registration

As registration for the Spring semester gets underway, most Baldwin Wallace students are using the university’s new online schedule system for the first time.

The New Student Planning System became available for all Baldwin Wallace students on Oct. 1, expanding from the original rollout to just the new class of first-year students.
The new site is very easy to navigate with many new and improved or streamlined features, said Verlyn Mol, director of Administration Computing.

The system is also expected to get better, Mol said, as the company is set to release new updates every three months, meaning students will see some new features in the future.

“With the next release, you will actually be able to drag and drop classes, which was highly asked for,” said Mol.

The new site will allow students to better plan their schedules, said Greg Flanik, BW’s chief information officer. In addition to allowing students to see what courses they have or have not taken yet, the system will recommend which courses students should take to help them graduate and finish their degree the quickest. The system also tells students when a problem with their schedule occurs and recommends the best options for the next semester.

“It’s basically just giving you flags of here is what needs to be taken,” said Flanik.

Additionally, he said, students can now see the prerequisites for classes with no extra work involved. If these prerequisites are not already met, the new site will no longer let you plan to register for that class.

Another new aspect is that students will have a visual schedule builder to show what classes they have planned to take. This gives them an idea of what their next semester will look like by showing them what time and day their classes will fall on, allowing them to see if their classes fit well together.

“This allows you to visually see how your day is shaping up while scheduling classes,” said Flanik.

The schedule builder can also flag you when things don’t seem right, such as double-booking classes or taking two classes that overlap.
The new system will also allow the Information Technology Department to crunch data on classes and registration to help academic departments plan for future semesters, Flanik said. While this will take some time before there is enough data, the goal will be to effectively estimate anticipated demand for particular classes.

“It’s going to take us a couple years to build up to say, ‘here is the demand,’” said Flanik.
According to Flanik, a student will still need an advisor to review and release them to go register for classes, though the new site now features an easy method of indicating that a student is ready for review. In the past, Flanik said, advisors have had to jump through hoops to be able to see an advisee’s schedule, but now they can see it in real time.

“When a student meets with an advisor they can see everything right there on the screen,” said Flanik.

In addition, communication between advisor and student is easier on the system, he said, because of a new notes feature where they can message back and forth without sending emails.