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New App Helps Create Personalized Graduation Schedule

November 8, 2013

The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) has unveiled a new app designed to help students build a personalized graduation schedule. The Graduation Planner allows students to map out a semester-by-semester plan to complete their degree, avoiding common pitfalls such as pre-requisite violations and planning to take a class in the spring when it is only offered in the fall. 

“We see a fair number of cases where students take only a semester-by-semester view of their enrollment choices and end up with graduation problems later on because they did not take the long view,” said Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies David Petr, who oversaw the development of the app for the New Student Seminar (EECS 101). “Even though a student could always manually map out a graduation plan, few chose to make the effort, and even if they did, there was no guarantee that their plan was valid.”

Currently, the app is available to students in the incoming class of 2012 and 2013. Before spring advising, the incoming class of 2011 will be added.

In building the Graduation Planner, EECS sophomore Derrick Harms combed through the EECS Handbook to ensure he had the proper perquisites and sequencing for each major before moving to functionality. A drag and drop feature allows students to move courses easily to semesters, and a change of color alerts them to ppotential problems. Students can save their schedule and load it to make changes.

The new Graduation Planner allows students to map out a semester-by-semester plan to complete their degree.
The new Graduation Planner allows students to map out a semester-by-semester plan to complete their degree.

 “It has been an incredible learning experience that has allowed me to apply my knowledge and develop new skills in the creation of an app used by EECS students,” Harms said. “We wanted to build an app that allowed students to explore their options, whether that is adding a minor, studying abroad, or planning for a difficult semester.”

To see a demo of the app, go here.

Ryan Feehan was among the nearly 250 EECS 101 students to use the app this fall. An interdisciplinary computing major on a pre-med tack, Feehan compared 10 different schedules for his complicated degree plan. He was able to shave off a semester from his original plan, become eligible for the MCAT after his junior year, and select the best semester for study abroad.

“I'm positive that I would have never found this schedule without the Graduation Planner. It is an awesome tool for EECS students,” said Feehan. “It is helpful for students to be able to create a customized graduation plan.  Not everyone fits the cookie-cutter plan in the handbook.”

Emily Smith said the app was helpful in alerting her to potential problems, such as classes out of order. Smith, who is majoring in interdisciplinary computing with a focus in physics, will need to take 16 EECS and 12 physics courses along with general requirements and electives. The demanding major requires long-term planning. 

“While I had done this [plan to degree] before, I found it helpful to double check my courses,” Smith said. “You no longer have to worry about what you are going to take next semester. You know what is coming.”  

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