Scheduler and Graduation Cap Icons
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 1:18pm

New tools in MyUI, the student portal to the University of Iowa’s student-information system, let students map out which courses they plan to take years in advance. This will help students chart their path to graduation and provide information to help colleges plan for course needs.

The system has three components: Schedule Builder, which builds conflict-free schedules based on student preferences and provides one-click registration; Sample Plans of Study, a centralized repository of recommended coursework for various majors; and MyPlan, a student's individualized plan of study.

“Together these tools allow students to effectively plan their academic career and significantly streamline course registration,” says Registrar Larry Lockwood. “We also believe data from the system will assist colleges with resource planning—for example, they could offer additional sections of a course if they see that a lot of students are interested in taking it during a specific semester.”

Schedule Builder was piloted during orientation for fall 2017, and was available to the rest of campus for spring registration. During the latest early registration period, it had a 97 percent adoption rate.

In Schedule Builder, students can create up to 10 schedules without time conflicts, set filters for course location and/or distance learning, and block times for work, practices, or other activities. Schedules can be built and saved ahead of registration time, and advisors can view saved schedules.

Nearly 17,500 students saved at least one preferred schedule in Schedule Builder ahead of the last registration period, and on average they saved three—it’s a good idea to have alternates in case a course fills up before the student’s turn to register.

“Schedule Builder has changed conversations between students and advisors,” says Assistant Provost and Academic Advising Center Director Lisa Ingram. “We can focus on discussing courses needed rather than spending time finding schedules that work.”

Building upon the success of Schedule Builder, Sample Plans and MyPlan were introduced this fall.

The Office of the Registrar worked with undergraduate programs to develop the new repository of Sample Plans, which outline the recommended coursework and sequence for programs of study.

Sample Plans can be exported to a student’s MyPlan as a starting point for long-term course planning. They are publicly available so prospective students can also use them. The next step is to add Sample Plans for minors, certificates, and graduate programs.

MyPlan, which debuted Sept. 11, allows students to chart out semesters for their entire UI career with a handy drag-and-drop interface. It integrates with degree audit, which checks to see if students are on track to meet graduation requirements. It also alerts for prerequisites and allows envisioning “what if” scenarios to see how completed courses would fit if a student changed or added a major or minor.

“As advisors meet students this fall to talk about plans for future semesters, we’re excited to introduce them to these new tools that will make planning their academic career even easier and could help them graduate in their desired timeframe,” Ingram says.

Development of these three curricular planning tools began in 2016 when the project was selected as a strategic initiative budget opportunity, with executive sponsorship from the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Registrar, Academic Advising, University College, and Information Technology Services (ITS). The UI Strategic Plan 2016-2021 specifies the creation of technological tools and cohesive four-year success messages that empower students to chart their course.

The project was managed by Lead Application Developer Bill Evanson and Senior Application Developer Rebekah Tjelmeland of ITS, and Executive Associate Registrar Julie Fell.

Mike Noel, senior director of ITS Administrative Information Systems, noted that this is the biggest change the university has made to its registration system since it moved to the web 19 years ago.

“All three of the tools can be used independently,” he says. “But the real power is using them together.”


Informational sessions for curricular planning tools:

  • Thursday, Sept. 20: 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Big Ten Theater, IMU
  • Wednesday, Sept. 26: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Big Ten Theater, IMU
  • Wednesday, Oct. 10: 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Theater, IMU
  • Tuesday, Oct. 16: 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Big Ten Theater, IMU
  • Wednesday, Oct. 24: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Big Ten Theater, IMU