UT System launches MyEdu partnership to increase efficiency

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The UT System announced a partnership Tuesday with the interactive website MyEdu to increase online advising efforts across UT institutions. 

The partnership is part of UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s Framework for Excellence Action Plan, which focuses on trimming costs by increasing university efficiency. The goal for implementing MyEdu is to increase graduation rates by helping students better understand how to navigate through their degree plans with online advising. UT-Austin, UT-Arlington and UT-Permian Basin will be the first to receive the MyEdu platform, although officials did not announce an exact date when the decision was made. The MyEdu platform will expand to all other UT System institutions in 2012.

The MyEdu platform will include a “graduation road map enabling students to visualize their time line to graduation” in an effort to minimize “planning mistakes that leave students extending time in college to complete required courses,” according to a press release.

Journalism senior Janet Herrgesell said as a first-year interest group mentor she gets asked many questions from students about their degree plans.

“Sometimes I can forward them to a link, but they need more help that’s less standardized,” she said.

Herrgesell said some students accidentally take multiple classes when completion of one class would fulfill the credit they need. She said she suggests students in her First-year Interest Group utilize the interactive degree audit, an online progress report of class requirements, when they cannot meet with an advisor.

“I think what would really help students is less software and more one-on-one time, but if [MyEdu] were to establish a more intimate connection to your advisor it could be helpful,” Herrgesell said.

Another dimension of the platform is a “credit management system” to allow incoming students see the impact of AP credits and check transfer credit options for other academic institutions or online classes. Herrgesell said this feature could improve the credit petitioning process.

“It’s kind of a convoluted process at the moment,” Herrgesell said. “If they take you through the process then that’s definitely helpful for a lot of students.”

At the meeting, UT System Board of Regents Chair Gene Powell said MyEdu will help improve graduation rates by making the advising process more interactive.

“When a student signs up for a course that doesn’t fit into their course schedule, it flags their advisor,” Powell said.

He said he expects it to improve career opportunities because companies can better communicate which degree plans they would like students to complete in preparation for a job with their company.

“Employers are tracking kids now from their freshman year to graduation,” Powell said.

The state Oversight Committee on Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency met on Monday with current and former chairs of the state university systems. Committee co-chair Dan Branch, R-Dallas, said four-year graduation rates need to increase across the UT System.

“If you guys don’t improve this in a rather dramatic fashion in the near future, I fear for our state,” Branch said.

MyEdu will also offer a “college financial planner” to calculate the monetary effects of changing a major or attending a specific school and a “schedule planner” which will use class evaluations and availability to help students plan their schedules, according to a UT System press release. Another aspect to the platform is a “student-faculty workspace” for online collaboration.

Printed on Thursday, October 20th, 2011, as: Online advising enables efficient degree planning