The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Graduation planning a bit easier with new DARS

In an effort to simplify the registration and graduation process, CSUN unveiled a new interactive version of its Degree Audit Reporting System May 26.

The new DARS Interactive Audit, now available for students on the CSUN Campus Web Portal, utilizes interactive graphics that highlight individual classes a student still needs to complete, and identifies classes that a student still needs to take in order to obtain a degree.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What can we do (for students) to make it easier to read and understand?'” said Bob Stark, director of application development at Information Technology Resources. “It’s now like a one-stop shop.”

The new interactive audit uses color-coded graphs to assist students in charting their academic progress and grade-point averages in both general education and major-related coursework.

The new system also features new graphics and pop-up displays that provide detailed information from the university catalog and the schedule of classes.

“(The new system is) more colorful,” Stark said. “It’s got some sizzle that the old one doesn’t.”

The DARS Interactive Audit lists each student’s courses and marks them with either a green or red “X,” which indicates the course’s completion status. The interactive DARS also lists all classes offered in each course section, along with a link directing the student to a full description of the course.

Students who elect to continue using the previously paper-only version of their DARS report can still obtain a hard copy from individual academic departments upon request.The DARS Interactive Audit was developed by ITR, who asked for the opinions of CSUN students during the development process.

Amanda Batts, sophomore psychology major, has accessed her DARS Interactive Audit.

“I love that I can see how many classes I have taken on the graph, instead of having to count every class myself,” Batts said. “I think (the new version) is much easier to follow than the old version. It makes it easier to keep track of my graduation requirements.”

According to ITR, the DARS Interactive Audit is the first of several online academic planning aides scheduled to appear on the Internet within the next year.

The interactive DARS will eventually allows students to choose their desired classes and select which semester they plan on taking them. Students will then be able to build a course plan that maps out the next four to five years of their college career.

“We call it the ‘degree completion plan,'” Stark said. “We are allowing a large (number) of students to look ahead and figure out what they want to take next semester, and the semester after (that).”

Stark said in addition to the benefits of the degree completion plan, the DARS Interactive Audit begins to address the issue of overcrowded classes by encouraging students to plan for and complete courses in a pre-established period of time.

“If a student commits to a plan like this and will be done at a normal graduation rate, we will make sure the student will get that required class (during the) requested term,” Stark said.

The degree completion plan is scheduled to launch in less than a year.

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