Scheduling software aims to simplify registration

Emily DeLetter

Priority registration for class scheduling for the Spring 2018 semester began on Monday. This is the second semester that WKU has used a new software called Schedule Planner to aid students in the course registration process.

Associate Director of the Academic Advising and Retention Center Jennifer Markin said in an email that registration for fall 2017 courses was a test pilot for the Schedule Planner on the student side only.

Registration for spring 2018 courses will be the first time that all aspects of Schedule Planner are live.

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According to the WKU Academic Advising and Retention Center, over 11,000 unique users have utilized Schedule Planner since it was implemented last April. They also estimated that more than 900 new users used the software this month.

The software gives students the opportunity to optimize course selections and schedule needs, which are then sent to their TopNet accounts for registration.

WKU offers step-by-step instructions online to show how to use Schedule Planner. Students are able to add courses, add breaks, generate multiple versions of their possible schedules and send their preferred schedule to the shopping cart. Their selected schedule sits in the shopping cart until their registration day, where students only have to click one button to sign up for their courses.

Morgan Harris, a senior interdisciplinary studies major, said she noticed a big difference with the Schedule Planner software.

“I’m able to see my options in real time and build in breaks for work,” Harris said. “It’s a one-step process that can be less stressful.”

WKU is also in the process of hiring senior academic advisers. These advisers, which were first approved by former President Gary Ransdell, will aid students trying to change a major, minor or area of concentration.

“These [adviser] positions could be a really good resource to help freshman and people switching their majors from getting overwhelmed,” Harris said.

Andrew Hartley is a senior biology major and said he thinks the Schedule Planner is a really good system for freshmen and younger students.

Hartley said he did not find the course scheduling process to be stressful once he declared his biology major, but the process was much more difficult when he had a general exploratory studies major.

“I remember scheduling to be a bit of a rush,” Harley said. “It was hard to wake up at 5 a.m. not knowing if you were going to get into all the classes you needed. Foreign languages, like Spanish, were always the hardest because they filled up so quickly and were necessary to have.”

Students like Jeffersonville, Indiana, junior Christy Lester, who is double-majoring, found complications going through the advising and scheduling process.

Lester, who has a double major in communication disorders and Spanish, said the shopping cart feature’s convenience eased a lot of her stress.

Lester said she has two different advisers with whom she has to communicate and coordinate course schedules.

“It allowed me to get organized, save my classes ahead of time and register at the click of a button,” Lester said. “I didn’t have to wake up early, look for each [Course Registration Number] and enter them individually.”

Reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emilydeletter.