Students at Oregon State University who major in computer science must choose between two routes: systems or applied. Those who decide to pursue the applied option may create a custom plan of courses to complete in order to graduate. The applied option allows students to select courses that total to at least thirty-two credits, that focus on some area of interest. The current system of creating and reviewing these custom applied plans can be confusing and time consuming.
Our team's goal was to produce a web application that simplifies both the process of creating and reviewing these custom applied plans for both students and advisors. We wanted to offer students a platform to easily explore and select courses for their applied plan, as well as create a better method to communicate with their advisors about submitted plans. For advisors, we wanted our application to offer them an easier solution to review and leave feedback on plans.
Students can use our application to view information about courses offered at OSU, create new plans, see the current status of plans, and discuss plans with advisors. Advisors can search for plans, leave feedback on plans, and update the status of plans.
Our web application relies on a back end that consists of an API server and a MySQL database. The API server handles all user requests and the database stores plan and course data. Users login using OSU's Central Authentication Service, which prevents the application from having to store user passwords or other confidential data.
When a user attempts to submit a new plan, the plan is checked against a list of constraints. If any constraints fail, then the user is given a detailed error message that explains what changes need to be made to their plan. If a plan is accepted by the system, it becomes available for advisors to give a final review. The automated review process helps to give the students instant feedback on issues, while also reducing the number of plans that advisors have to review.