Section: Opinion

Staff Editorial: Compass lacks direction

Next Thursday and Friday, seniors will register for their spring semester classes. For many of us, this means the tedium of looking through the type-writer font schedule of courses put out by the Kenyon Registrar, perusing faculty and program webpages and trying to piece together, a la Sherlock Holmes, some idea of what courses with broad or ambitious names like “No Comparison,” “Sick Society” or “Quest for Justice” are actually about. And all of this to avoid the incredibly frustrating Kenyon Compass.

The last time we can recall having the ability to search for courses, read course descriptions and verify that one of the courses we want to take does not conflict with one another is when the searchable schedule, discontinued in April 2018, still existed. Almost three full semesters later, it remains unclear how Compass is in any way better than the searchable schedule that it replaced. Compass, of course, purports to do all of the things that the searchable schedule did and more, but we are confident that we at the Collegian are not the only ones who have found Compass frustrating, time-consuming and difficult to navigate.

For one, the searchable schedule was located in My Banner, the same platform we use to register for classes, check our grades and record our working hours for on-campus jobs. For the sake of streamlining and ease of access, it does not make sense to separate the schedule searching and planning tool from this platform. Having registration, course information and a widget where you could sample different potential schedules all within a few clicks simply made sense.

Of course, when the College unveiled and implemented this program, a library student worker promised that Compass will never be “totally done” because of its adaptability. Its features were supposed to be ever-expanding to accommodate student needs. On the webpage that displays Kenyon Compass’s mission statement, some of Compass’s stated special features include the ability to “share ideas with advisors or peers, explore Major Guides, search for job opportunities, and much more.” Who at Kenyon shares ideas with advisors anywhere but in email or in person? Who explores major guides outside of each discipline’s webpage? We would wager very few. And if anyone has scored a job through Compass, please, please let us know.

A proposed course of action: If Compass really is better, if it really is capable of doing more than the searchable schedule and accommodating student needs, then LBIS and Student Council need to do more to solicit student input and prove that this input can then be reflected in the program they expect us to use.

In the meantime, perhaps someone should request that Coursicle, a program that helps create an alternative schedule planner, help us out. Students from Harvard, Yale, The Ohio State University and Williams rely on Coursicle—maybe we should, too.


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