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Course recommendations offered while registering

By ALEXANDRA WHITE | Staff Writer

As the academic year is coming to an end, many students are actively trying to register for summer classes, as well as preparing their fall 2011 schedules. This year, APSU has added something new to the registration process.

The addition of the Course Recommendation System has been gaining recognition across the country.

The recommendation system is designed to work in the same way Netflix or Amazon does when making suggestions about a purchase or a recently viewed video that encourages other similar items to be bought or viewed.

The new system is part of the commitment to students’ success at APSU.

“The system combines hundreds of thousands of past students’ grades with a particular student’s transcript to make individualized course recommendations,” said Tristan Denley, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.

The recommendations apply directly to a student’s program of study and the strongest recommendations are courses that are essential for a student to graduate.

The system also predicts which courses a student will be most successful in. The new system is able to share information with faculty to help with the advisement process and to help students move through their academic process.

Denley, in part with President Tim Hall’s goal to focus on students retention and success are responsible for the recommendation system. Denley has been designing the underlying configurations to make it work.

After Denley created a preliminary model, he began working with Robb Betts, Mark Jarrell, John Lander and Anna Murray, all from the university’s Office of Information Technology, last fall to code and implement the tool, turning it into a functional web system.

While only being launched at the beginning of the advising process, the new software has been gaining recognition already and was recently featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a Washington, D.C. based weekly publication for college and university faculty members and administrators in its Sunday, April 10, issue.

Many students have already started to enjoy the advantages of the new software, such as sophomore psychology major, Daniel Smallen.

“I think it’s cool, although it’s weird that it says I will perform well in nursing classes without me being in nursing school yet,” Smallen said.

“I don’t think it will replace having an adviser, but it is still nice to have.” TAS

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