CPP launches new academic planning system, replaces MyPlanner

Cal Poly Pomona’s Office of Student Success and Enrollment Management & Services launched a new academic planning system for students on Oct. 2, designed to replace MyPlanner.

Rebranded as the CPP Connect Planner for student use, the EAB Smart Guidance Planner is being released in phases, initially allowing students to select and arrange their courses on a term-by-term basis using updated student data.

“The EAB Smart Guidance planner is built for usability,” said Joseph Hackbarth, director of enrollment management data & operations analytics at CPP. “It has a much more user-friendly design, courses will be drag and drop, backed by roadmaps and it’s all going to be tied into the advising system.”

Eddie Rangel | The Poly Post

Soon to be eliminated altogether, the MyPlanner system situated in BroncoDirect since fall 2016, currently acts as a semester organizer largely based on outdated course listings and lacks interactive components, according to university advising.

Erin DeRosa, interim director of university advising, said, “We just hit the ceiling of what we could do with MyPlanner, it helped us get through semester conversion which was a big hurdle but now that we’re past it we have this opportunity to expand and push beyond that and this new tool will allow us to do that.”

The Office of Student Success encourages the 6,000 students who utilize the MyPlanner service to save their academic plans to their personal devices, given that the tool will no longer be available after Dec. 14.

Incorporating 10 years’ worth of analytics, including course passing rates and registration patterns, the university’s switch to the Smart Guidance program has facilitated the construction of newly updated curriculum sheets, degree roadmaps and course catalogs — all condensed into the CPP Connect system for student access.

While students are able to track their progress toward graduation and receive feedback from their advisors in almost real time, the new system is not equipped with a course scheduling component for this semester. However, Enrollment Management and Services confirmed that one is set to replace CPP’s Schedule Builder in the near future.

According to university administrators, these modifications are expected to improve the advising process on a larger scale than just the CPP campus. Jessica Wagoner, senior associate vice president of enrollment management and services, underscored that CPP will pioneer this program for the California State University system.

Originally one of the few CSU campuses without an innovative planning system capable of further feature enhancements, CPP is one of the first to adopt the Smart Guidance Planner that is now being “modeled” by other CSUs.

Explaining the reason CPP was selected to pilot this change, Wagoner said, “First, we volunteered, but the Chancellor’s Office was interested in our campus because we were the only campus who didn’t have an external vendor planner… we had a fresh start.”

Multiple CSU campuses have begun the transition to the Smart Guidance Planner since the start of the collaborative initiative among the CSU Chancellor’s Office, CPP and the EAB company in spring 2018.

Hackbarth added, “I’ve been working with the developers pretty much daily on extracts, interfaces and data elements just getting the program to work for Pomona as well as the entire CSU. I really think it’s going to put us out there.”

Funded by the CSU Chancellor’s Office throughout the program’s first two years of implementation, CPP Enrollment Management and Services declined to comment on the contract cost of the new resource.

With the intention of transforming standard student advising into a more integrated experience, the Smart Guidance Planner will eventually broaden to one-click schedule building and registration as well as a CPP Connect mobile application.

Cecilia Santiago-Gonzalez, assistant vice president of strategic initiatives for student success, ensured that aside from simply upgrading CPP’s schedule building tool, the program would simultaneously integrate a proactive method of accurately analyzing future course enrollment which could potentially solve class shortages and lengthy waitlists.

“Because we are populating this dynamic roadmap to students, we’ll know about class demand in a really easy way,” said Santiago-Gonzalez. “It gives us more data so we can make sure we have those seats available for students or that we inform students that they can take a class the next semester.”

Although the implementation of this updated planner is mainly tailored to incoming first year and transfer students, all CPP students, including those dealing with semester conversion conflicts, can utilize the Smart Guidance planner within the CPP Connect suite.

In accordance with the program’s release plan, the beta version of the CPP Connect Planner is now available to all students this fall semester.

A more complex course scheduling and app experience is expected by the upcoming spring semester, and a combined scheduler and registration feature by the 2021 fall semester.

More information regarding CPP Connect’s services can be found here.

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