The College recently replaced the Searchable Schedule with Kenyon Compass to allow students to find information in a single online system. While students will still use Banner, a platform for registration, Compass will serve as a search and planning tool. The change was met with some criticism.
President Sean Decatur presented this idea in 2014 as part of the Kenyon 2020 Plan, according to Vice President for Library and Information Services Ronald Griggs. “Information to help students make the most of their Kenyon careers was not all in one place — it was very scattered — and not every student was able to find it or take advantage of all the things that they could do,” Griggs said.
The College worked with Pragya Systems, a startup company based in Cambridge, Mass., to design the new program. In addition to displaying courses, Compass will also list internships, study abroad programs, on-campus employment opportunities and information about majors. “The goal is to have [all the features] all done by 2020, [but] right now, it’s the course information,” Griggs said.
Reactions to the new software have been mixed. While some students praised Kenyon Compass for streamlining the search process, others complained that the program was too confusing to be useful.
“It’s not really intuitive,” Charles Cutler ’19 said. “It took me like half an hour to figure everything out. It didn’t seem like it was designed by someone who would use it.”
Lucia Irwin ’20 said the new system makes it easier to locate the information for her classes. “I find it easy to use,” Irwin said. “Especially as a double major, it’s hard to find that stuff in the same place. Now it’s easy to find it all in one place.”
Under the current plan, both staff members and Kenyon students will have a role in designing Compass. “I kind of think that Kenyon Compass is an ongoing project, which is actually really cool because it’s never going to be totally done,” Char Dreyer ’19, one of the library student workers involved with the project, said. “Because it is so open-ended and allows for so many different platforms, we can almost always be adding to it as the needs of students change.”
To facilitate the transition, the library is offering a series of workshops to students and faculty members, along with a number of tutorial videos available online. Griggs noted that not many people attended these sessions. From the reactions he has heard, students seem to struggle most with logging in.
Over 900 students have logged onto Compass and only two people have contacted Helpline for assistance, according to Griggs.
Dreyer noted that although Compass is now being presented as a course catalog, it is capable of much more. “Looking forward, Compass is going to become a part of student life here, and I think it is going to be really useful,” Dreyer said.