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Academic Planning Advising

CONTENTS

By working on plans directly with your students, you can offer timely guidance and prevent scheduling mistakes that cost them time and money. How deeply Planning integrates with your advising workflow depends on whether your institution also uses Civitas Advising.

You can open the plans for a student by searching (by ID or any portion of the name) along the very top of the page. As an advisor, your search returns academic as well as plan information about your student, so that you can spot issues, Add to watchlist, and reach out quickly.

The top panel displays the student with their photo, name, preferred name, student ID, and email link:

Shows Student profile summary information

PLAN

Each time you open student plans, scan for these visual alerts:

  • The star ⭐  flags the student's primary plan. Only one plan may be primary (active). The primary plan should be the student’s current, chosen plan. 

    • Take action: If you see courses on the primary plan that don't match what the student is enrolled in, reach out to them.

  • Change Log — A pulsating red dot near View Details means that the student made one or more changes for you to review. Open View Details and select the Change Log tab.

  • Scheduling — A green banner will appear under the plan title to alert you if open registration has begun, which means the student should start scheduling now.

  • Comment — A yellow NEW marker next to a Comment link means that new content needs your review. Open the Comment link.

Switch Plan — Use this drop-down list for quick actions on behalf of this student:

  • Open another plan that they have

  • Create a new plan for them

  • Apply a template to their plan

To edit any of these plans you can make your changes directly by adding or removing a term, or adding, removing, or moving a course. A good practice is to add a comment explaining why you made the change, which will help inform the student if they see such changes to their plan.

Best practices

  • Be aware that there is no undo, and that changes are saved immediately. If you know that you need to make significant changes, first copy the plan (select the Copy Plan icon), which can become the new primary plan as needed. 

  • Use the Reset Plan and Delete Plan icons with caution: these actions cannot be undone, which is why dialogs will prompt you to confirm your choice and select a new primary plan if needed.

Sample Workflow

Arya wants to show her student Ty how he might squeeze in a Government minor and still stay on track for graduating on time. She types "tyrone'' in the top search box and finds him quickly from the list of Tyrones currently enrolled. She selects his PLAN tab and scans for any new changes or comments. Seeing none, she selects the Copy Plan icon from the command bar and updates the plan Title to include the minor. She adds the courses and the additional summer session that it would take. Ready to propose this to Ty, she selects the Send email to student link, which is the envelope icon next to his name.

Non-Course Items

Non-course items are added to templates to hold suggested activities, such as internships and program applications. On your student’s plan, add non-course items to record the student's personal scheduling requirements, such as extracurriculars, practices, or part-time employment.

To create a non-course item, select Add item on the planning canvas and type your own entry. As you type, fewer and fewer results will populate in the dropdown list, so you can then select the text you entered and this non-course item will then appear on the term.

Placeholders

On both templates and individual plans, placeholders are visual flags to prompt the student to take action and select an appropriate course option. When the student clicks the placeholder, they can type to search the course catalog. Once a course is found and added, the placeholder goes away.

To add a placeholder to their plan, add a non-course item and click the Is placeholder checkbox.

Course Locks

On both templates and individual plans, you can lock and unlock specific courses and placeholders. Students cannot delete or move any locks: they must discuss it with you and have you release it.

To add or remove a lock, click the lock icon.

The Lock Item checkbox visually puts a lock on the plan item and prevents the student from deleting it

Course Alerts

Planning sends the same alerts to advisors and students. There are several types of alerts (flagged with red) that Planning offers to head off scheduling trouble:

Alerts appear in red at the top right of a term tile

Course requirements — For each course added, Planning uses alerts to warn you about any and all requirements that could block them from taking a course:

  • prerequisite — something they must complete first or test out of, such as an introductory course 

  • co-requisite — something they must take at the same time, such as a required lab section for Biology

If you add or view a course that has dependencies, you will see all of the requirements highlighted. The student can opt to remove that course or take action to meet the requirements (complete the prereq or add the co-req).

Tip: If anyone chooses to Dismiss the alert message, the course requirements will still be visible.

Duplicate courses — Planning alerts you if you try to add a course that already appears in another term of your plan. You will see the alert on both instances of the duplicated course. To get rid of the alert, delete the course from one of the terms.

Tip: If the student is still deciding which term to take the course, they can opt to Dismiss the alert, which dismisses the warning.

Unavailable courses — Planning alerts you if their planned term includes courses that aren’t available for scheduling in the current term. These alerts kick in when registration for the term opens, which means the actual courses and sections are now official. The alert will warn you that the course may not be available for that term, to give the student time to adjust the plan before scheduling and registering.

Course no longer active — Sometimes courses are no longer offered at an institution. When a course no longer has an effective Status of “active”, it’s no longer available for the student in the future. If a new version of this course is available, we will update the course accordingly. If not, this alert will be surfaced to prompt you to help the student decide on another course to take in its place.

Commenting on Plans

Comments appear below a given term, and they are stored (and deleted) along with the plan that holds them.

The purpose of comments depends on where they are created:

  • On a template, comments are for general advice, reminders, and cautions.

  • On a student plan, comments let you communicate personally with the student in a way that is visible to everyone involved with that student's plan.

Comments appear in real time, like chat messages: you never need to refresh the page to see new comments. Just as with messaging, notifications about new comments remain visible on a plan until they are opened.

Important: No external notifications (such as email) are available currently. Urge your students to contact you directly if they have time-critical plan comments needing your quick feedback.

Visibility — Keep in mind that the student and every staff member who can access the student can see the comments, as well as everyone with whom the plan is shared. Never put possibly sensitive information on a student plan: restrict them to Advising notes for the student.

Requirements (Audit)

Use the Requirements tab on their plan to research degree progress and find optimal choices. The auditing system that fills out Requirements defines critical information, such as which courses satisfy requirements and whether there are course prerequisites and corequisites (classes must be taken together in the same term, such as a science lab portion for a lecture course). 

Exception — If your institution has a custom or unsupported auditing system that the Requirements tab cannot import, it will link you out to the page that must be used for audits.

Important: If what the Requirements show looks wrong, check the auditing system. The authority determining their degree progress is the auditing system, not Planning.

SCHEDULE

You have access to the student’s current schedule. If no schedule appears here, it means that the student has not yet begun schedule building and selection for registration.

Tip: If you know of helpful activities, such as weekly tutoring hours, that this student should access, you can add this to the Breaks section of their schedule, to reserve that opportunity. The student is free to delete your suggested breaks.

COURSE HISTORY

While the plan focuses on the student's future, the Course History tab covers their past and present. It charts and lists the details of their total activity toward their credential:

  • Current courses

  • Completed courses

  • Transferred courses

  • Waitlisted courses

  • Withdrawn courses

Progress Summary — The chart tracks their GPA over time, and it summarizes their course totals at right. All of the information on this page is current as of the Last Updated date shown in blue, at top. Hover over points on the chart to see the details:

Course history chart and download report

Course History — Below the chart is their complete Academic Course History list. You can download their complete history, and you can change the list to see just what you want:

  • Click a column header to sort by that column (click it again to reverse the sort order).

    • Example: Click on the Number header to sort by the course codes (ACCT-1012)

  • Click a Filter (▼) icon to narrow the list, such as to a specific term or only online courses.

    • Example: Filter the Status column to see only their Transfer courses

  • Click the Add Columns () icon to add or hide columns of information about their courses.

    • If your institution has tied in their class activity data, you might also see their grade averages and LMS logins.

Tip: When you select Download Report, you get a "CSV" (comma-separated values) file. It's just a simple text-based spreadsheet format. Open it directly in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, where you can format it as you like and print it.

Planning + Advising

If your institution is using Academic Planning alongside the Advising features of the Civitas Platform, you have greater reach for helping students. 

These are the additional capabilities you have:

  • Optimize your effort by identifying those students who need you most via the reports on the dashboard

  • Share plans with groups, leveraging static and dynamic groups for sending plans to multiple students

  • Share plans with teams, having your students' plans be visible to other advisors in your group, when they search for students in the Advising view

  • See full student profiles, pulled from the SIS (student information system)

  • See extra course history information and grades directly from the LMS data integration

  • See collected notifications for new comments on your students' plans

  • Capture plan comments into advising notes, so that the concerns and decisions are added to the advising history 
    On/off plan and caseload reporting for planning will roll up into Advising


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