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New Computer System At Colorado State University Helps Students Track Progress Toward Graduation

Tuesday, May 5, 1998

FORT COLLINS--A new computer system introduced at Colorado State University will help students and faculty advisers monitor progress toward graduation.

The GUIDE system, or Gateway to University and Individual Degree Evaluation, is a degree tracking program that was launched this spring. The program uses a computer printout to show students how completed course work fits into their degree programs as well as which course requirements remain. This spring, 10,200 students, including all juniors and seniors, received printouts to help them achieve their academic goals. GUIDE has been in development since 1993, and will be sent to all academic departments, juniors and seniors at the end of each term.

"This system will help students understand requirements and will encourage faculty and student communication," said Steve Dahl, associate registrar. "It enables students to see at a glance where they stand and what they need to do to complete a degree. With GUIDE, students and advisers will be able to focus on achieving goals and spend less time on paperwork and record keeping."

Training and brochures will be provided to each department that chooses to participate in the GUIDE system. "Only 13 departments are not yet using GUIDE, our hope is that all departments will be participating within a year," Dahl said.

The GUIDE system compares a student's completed course work against the catalog program requirements for each major, minor and concentration the student has declared. The forms show courses and credits completed, grades and grade point averages, course options for needed credits and progress toward meeting university, college and departmental requirements. The forms are designed to give students an early warning and an understanding of requirements.

"GUIDE is a tool that does not replace advising," said Kenneth Blehm, associate professor and director of undergraduate education in the department of environmental health. "New advisers or advisers who are unfamiliar with new requirements will have information at their fingertips. It is provided to aid advisers and students in their decision making and long-term planning. Advisers will benefit as much as students in time savings."

With GUIDE, departments will no longer need to manually update check sheets and calculate grade point averages each term. These processes will be computerized and will happen automatically each term.

The introduction of the GUIDE system is part of the university's effort to use technology to better serve students, faculty and staff.

"GUIDE greatly advances our mission as a university to help our students achieve their goals," said Don Hesser, director of Information Systems at Colorado State. "Students and advisers will continue to benefit from GUIDE technology as it incorporates more and more functions."

A secondary function for GUIDE is being developed to help students who are considering switching majors. This new function will compare students completed course work with requirements of any available major. This function will show student's what additional course work would be needed to complete a different degree program. This additional service will be available within a year.

Future plans also include putting the GUIDE system online within a year. Students will be able to access GUIDE through a web browser whenever they want to look up their current status.

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