Can I swap this class to meet that requirement?” is an all too familiar request from students and, because Carolina has rich and diverse academic offerings, departments occasionally allow students to substitute courses for specific major requirements.
In the past, processing “adjustments” meant additional steps for the directors of undergraduate studies. Adjustments were made by completing an online form in SharePoint, which was then manually processed by a team member in the Office of the University Registrar. Once processed, the change was reflected in the Academic Advisement record (The Tar Heel Tracker) and visible to the student. This manual process was both cumbersome and time-consuming, and we wanted to find a more efficient way to make the experience better for our faculty colleagues and our students.
As it turns out, we were not the only university grappling with this issue and seeking a more student-centric option. Finding a simpler way to make requirement adjustments seemed a long way off until a strong collaboration between ITS and the Office of the University Registrar, along with some advice from colleagues at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) made this goal achievable. Enter the ConnectCarolina Student Administration team, led by Candy Davies, Director of ConnectCarolina Campus Solutions, with Kim Jackson, Lead Applications Developer and Yaping Du, Senior Applications Developer. They successfully applied the UCSC modification to the Tar Heel Tracker, creating our new self-service adjustment system called the Requirement Adjustment Module (RAM).
RAM bypasses the SharePoint online form and allows academic departments to complete course adjustments directly in Tar Heel Tracker. The adjustments are completed in real-time, which means directors of undergraduate studies and students immediately see the impact on degree requirements. RAM expedites the process and enables students to clearly see all adjustments.
Security is an essential component of RAM. Directors of Undergraduate Studies can only adjust majors or minors in their department, and academic advisors who have access to RAM have a limited number of options for the types of adjustments they can create. RAM is being piloted and is currently accessible to a select group of users for initial testing. Online training for all campus uses is being developed and will be rolled out in the coming months.