DegreeCat Project

The University is replacing a series of older, University-built custom tools related to degree planning and catalog and curriculum management. The goal is to find and implement solutions in the marketplace that provide better service than our homegrown solutions. The belief is that a competitive market-driven approach can lower the University’s total cost of ownership and improve the performance on MPact 2025 metrics. 

UMN Degree planning tools — Graduation Planner and Schedule Builder — will be replaced with Stellic.   

UMN Catalog & curriculum management tools — ECAS, PCAS, and the public-facing catalog — will be replaced with Coursedog.

Note: in May 2022, the University paused work on the Stellic implementation in order to focus efforts on Coursedog. A decision will be made in January 2023 on how work will proceed on degree planning tools for students. 


Overview

Top project objectives

  • Implement Stellic — a semester and long-term planning tool. 
  • Complete the RFP process for a course management and curricular program management tool that meets or exceeds to the current needs being met by ECAS and PCAS.
  • Implement Coursedog (the tool selected by the RFP process) – a catalog and curriculum management tool. 
  • Establish an ongoing user community and governance related to short- and long-term planning. 
  • Establish an ongoing user community and governance related to catalog and curriculum management. 
  • Connect users in different roles. Build empathy and  a common understanding of the shared value of data integrity at all levels of the system.

User research-driven process

Prior to starting the project a lot of work was done to understand the needs of students, faculty, and staff. Through numerous user research activities, we learned that there is a vicious cycle with our systems. They can be cumbersome to update with opaque processes. That leads to unreliable data and negative experiences. Those negative experiences lead to a lack of trust and low usage of tools such as Graduation Planner. That low usage means we don't have the data we need to inform future curricular planning. 

The DegreeCat project aims to improve systems and processes so that there is reliable data in planning tools, more students using those tools, and better data on plans and schedules. 

  • Faculty should be able to understand what is needed for course and program proposals, making it easier for students to find their courses.
  • Staff should feel like systems are working for them and that making updates is easy. 
  • University leadership should have the data they need for future planning. 
  • Advisors should be able to encourage use of planning tools and have more focused advising appointments. 
  • Students should be able to easily plan for timely graduation and find the classes that interest them.

 

 

 

Timeline
Calendar Year Project Focus
2021
  • Stellic planning, integration, and data mapping
  • RFP process and project planning for catalog and curriculum management tools
2022
  • Stellic planning, integration, and data mapping
  • Stellic implementation for wave 1 schools
    • Crookston: entire campus
    • Duluth: Labovitz School of Business and Economics
    • Morris: not participating in wave 1
    • Rochester: entire campus
    • Twin Cities: College of Biological Sciences
  • Stellic implementation for remaining undergraduate students
  • Stellic data integration for graduate, professional, and other programs
  • Begin implementation of Coursedog
2023
  • Complete Stellic implementation for graduate, professional, and other programs
  • Complete Coursedog implementation

 

Stellic

In May 2022, the University paused work on the Stellic implementation in order to focus efforts on Coursedog. A decision will be made in January 2023 on how work will proceed on degree planning tools for students. 

Stellic is an integrated long-term planning and schedule generating tool. The company was founded by Carnegie Mellon undergraduates after getting frustrated by the tools they had been provided to plan their degrees. The name Stellic is in honor Mark Stehlik, an advisor who inspired the team. 

Stellic will replace Graduation Planner and Schedule Builder and will be integrated with degree audit systems (APAS and GPAS) and the registration shopping cart in MyU. 

Students will have one integrated system for both long- and short-term planning. Long-term planning includes the ability to plan for a degree requirement without selecting a specific course (e.g., a Liberal/General Education requirement).

Advisors will be able to view and comment on plans of their advisees. Depending on the college and program, advisors may also be able to apply a template (called a "Pathway") to a student. This can contain suggestions on when to complete coursework. 

 

 

Coursedog

Coursedog is an integrated course and program approval workflow system and will replace ECAS and PCAS. It will also be used to generate the public-facing University catalog. 

Highlights of Coursedog :

  • An intuitive design with course and program workflow approval systems in the same interface with data deeply connected
  • The ability to upload PDFs (e.g., syllabi) or other documentation
  • The ability to publish accurate curricular data beyond the official catalog (e.g., department and collegiate websites, Admissions, major exploration tools, reporting tools)
  • A product design approach that makes it easier to implement configurations and handle University complexities
  • The ability for University staff to easily configure workflows and forms without vendor support
  • A Robust reporting interface with features that allow for better reporting and data analysis
Connect

For the most recent updates on the DegreeCat project, view our project status dashboard.

Join the DegreeCat Google group to have monthly status updates and invitations to community events sent directly to your inbox. Just click the "joining the group" link on the group page!

For questions, please contact degreecat@umn.edu.