Small change planned to simplify KAPS reports

Allen Hines

The Office of the University Registrar is working to change the way majors are labeled in the Kent Academic Progress System.

When students log on to KAPS, which tracks their progress toward attaining degrees, they can select a degree program other than one they have declared. In the drop-down menu where students choose a program, a label is added to the beginning of the actual degree program title. For instance, the Applied Conflict Management program is labeled “A BA ACM – APPLIED CONFLICT MANAGEMENT.”

The proposed labels are added by the program KAPS is based on, which comes from Miami University’s Degree Audit and Reporting System, or DARS. B.J. Brooks, an administrative assistant with the registrar’s office, said Kent State academic rules and policies for degree requirements are added on top of the DARS base program. The base program adds the excess letters to the degree program title.

University Registrar Glenn Davis said his office has asked Miami to fix DARS so it doesn’t add the excess letters to the degree programs.

Many students have found KAPS difficult to use.

During a demonstration, even Brooks, a KAPS specialist, had difficulty adding a class to the Planned Courses function.

The Planned Courses function allows students to figure out the grades they need for future courses and plan which courses to take in subsequent academic terms.

Adding to the Planned Courses involves placing courses into the Course Cart, then selecting the courses and labelling them planned.

Brooks added the course JUS 12000 to the Course Cart but failed to make it planned.

The Course Cart component of KAPS allows students to put courses into the system to see what they need to graduate and plan what classes to take in the future.

By planning with the Course Cart, students help the university determine course offerings, KAPS specialist B.J. Brooks said.

There are a few steps to planning with the Course Cart:

• Log in to Web For Students and click KAPS under Student Records.

• Another window will pop up. Click the KAPS link near the bottom of the screen.

• Select either a declared major or choose another program and click “Submit A New Audit.”

• Click “Refresh List” if no audits appear on the page.

• Click the most recent audit.

• The Course Cart is on the left-hand side. In the text box, type the department abbreviation and number for the course. From the drop-down menu, select “Add to cart” and click “Go.”

• Repeat the previous steps as necessary.

• Select the course from the list created above the text box and, from the drop-down menu, select “Make courses planned” and click “Go.”

• See planned courses by clicking “View Planned Courses” below the Course Cart.

After working with the system for a few minutes, Brooks left the room to get someone to help her. Together, they figured out the problem.

Brooks said she never uses the Web version of KAPS.

“You have to spend some time with it,” she said. “You really do.”

Davis said there was no problem with KAPS itself, but how it was used.

“(Brooks) attempted to do something that she rarely would do, and that was to interact with the system as a student by using the Web product,” he said.

Davis insisted students must learn to use the system.

“I will agree that this demonstrates how easy it can be for a student to become frustrated with this aspect of KAPS,” Davis said. “Training and frequent use of the system are the keys.”

Davis said his office is willing to make changes to KAPS, but students have to learn how to use it so they can accurately describe the flaws with the system, not operator errors.

The registrar’s office wrote a help file, available on the KAPS Web site, to assist students. The office also offers an e-mail help system.

Davis said he would like to create a frequently asked questions Web page based on student feedback.

“I would say mostly students are confused because they don’t work with it. They don’t like spending time reading the help,” Brooks said. “They don’t spend time reading it, they look at it and, they just don’t use it.”

He said that hearing negative things about KAPS will reinforce students’ aversion to the system.

Davis suggested a contest with awards up to $200 for “students who can articulate the longest list of positives about KAPS and why they are glad they have it.”

Contact student affairs reporter Allen Hines at [email protected].