Background

Currently, all undergraduate students at Rutgers University have access to a degree tracking tool called Degree Navigator. This system gives students the ability to view the status of their degree progression in addition to planning and searching for future courses. Graduate students in the Master of Library and Information Science program however, do not have access to this tool. A team and I investigated how graduate students in the Master of Information program track their degree progress at Rutgers. 

My Role

As a Researchers, I investigated how graduate students in the Master of Library and Information Science program currently track their degree progress and proposed system recommendations after usability testing.

Key Methods

  • Surveys

  • Prototype

  • Moderated usability test

Results

We learned that graduate students currently don't have no central tool or system to track their degree progress and could benefit greatly from a degree tracking tool. In our usability test, participants completed 100% of task in less than 10 seconds. This study proves how effective, efficient and useful a degree tracking tool like such could be for graduate students. Recommendations were passed on the Dean of Students in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University.

The Process

Survey

 

In designing the research plan, ​​​we approached the problem space by defining our goals. The goals set for the study were to 1) understand the pain points graduate students face when tracking their degree progress, 2) understand how graduate students currently track their degree progress, and 3) gauge the level of interest for a degree tracking tool. 

After defining the goals for our study, we created an online survey consisting of 10 questions that were aligned to our three goals in addition to collecting demographic information. The survey was created via Survey Monkey, with password encryption and protection, and circulated to students in the Masters of Information program.

After analyzing the survey results, we concluded that tracking degree progress is a major pain point for the students. Majority of students were also interested in a degree tracking tool, which confirmed our assumption that students would be willing to use such a tool. The survey results indicate that having access to a system for tracking degree progress could positively benefit the students. After our assumptions we validated, we discussed how to best design a system that allowed students to achieve their goals. After our discussion, our lead designer created a prototype. The prototype was an enhanced design of the current Rutgers degree tracking tool that is only accessible for undergraduate students. 

Original design of Rutgers Degree Navigator

Our Prototype of Rutgers Degree Navigator

User Interviews

 

After our prototype was designed, we invited five participants who took the survey for follow-up moderated remote usability tests. The study consisted of six user tasks.

1) Find your GPA

2) Find your graduate electives

3) Find your course summary

4) How many more semesters it will take to complete your degree?

5) How many electives do you have left to take to complete the program?

6) Locate the concentration?

Results

  • 100% of user tasks were completed in under 10 seconds.

  • 100% of users found the design useful.

  • Task 6 took the most amount of time for all users to complete.

© 2019 by Tyreek Houston.

  • LinkedIn - Black Circle
  • Twitter