Tracking student success with Seawolf Tracks

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Seawolf Tracks, which launched on Aug. 1, aims to help students gain access to a variety of tools and services in order to stay organized and succeed. Photo credit: Cheyenne Mathews

Seawolf Tracks, an app created to help students with advising, financial aid, navigating campus and more launched on Aug. 1.

From the app, students will be able to access a directory of university events, programs and advising, as well as be notified of registration holds and ways to resolve them.

The project was led by Claudia Lampman, whose role was to oversee the process, help build content, promotions and decide on when to launch it.

“The student mobile app is a newer [Education Advisory Board] companion product that we learned about last fall. We decided to adopt the student mobile app too and have branded the two products (advising platform and student mobile app) Seawolf Tracks. The app (called Guide-College Simplified in the App Store) is designed to help orient students to the campus and student services,” Lampman said in an email.

“It uses 10+ years of historical data from UAA to let the [adviser] know how the student is faring and how to best help them by recommending services on campus or helping to make a change to a different path or major,” Lampman added.

Julia Vizcaino, a residence coordinator with the department of Residence Life, has been leading the content development team for Seawolf Tracks since April. This summer, she’s been building content that will appear on the app alongside her team, which is made up of professionals from various departments on campus.

“There are so many amazing resources offered by the university, but in order to navigate all of them, you kind of need a few years, generally, to figure out that these things are even available to you,” Vizcaino said.

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She said that the first iteration of the app is geared towards incoming first-year students. The team built the content knowing that they would get the greatest number of downloads from New Student Orientation. The second iteration is to build the app out for specific constituency groups, like veterans or the online student population.

“I think there are a lot of features that we are not going to turn on right away because we are still developing them. It’s a long process,” Vizcaino said.

The app asks students questions based on who they are and what their hobbies include. Vizcaino said that there are questions asked for students specifically living on campus, and as someone who lives on campus, there are certain requirements students have to meet.

Seawolf Tracks keeps everything organized and creates a chronological list of to-dos for students. The app even gives step-by-step resolutions so students can stay organized.

“[Students living on campus] have to finalize their meal plan, they have to complete their roommate agreement, they have to attend a community meeting. All of those things can get lost in the shuffle… It relies heavily on the students’ ability to keep all of that information organized,” Vizcaino said.

She also said that there are two sides to the app. The first is “student-facing,” and the other is the adviser side. Advisers will be able to check a student’s GPA, current grades, major and other features.

“Hopefully by October, we will be scheduling advising appointments through the app,” Vizcaino said.

Valerie Robideaux, the director of First Year Advising and Success, was hired for her current position in the midst of app development. Since then, she’s been working with the EAB, which is coming to UAA on Aug. 21 and 22 to train the advisers on the advising tool and make sure they understand the appointment scheduling feature. The company has over 500 universities that utilize either the app, adviser portal or both.

“[Students] can soon, hopefully, schedule an appointment with their adviser, they can see their class schedule, it can load directly into their calendar, their phone calendar, they can look at campus resources and be able to see who they need to talk to or where they can go for certain things,” Robideaux said.

To download the app, download “Guide College Simplified” from either the Apple App Store or Google Play. Students can log into Seawolf Tracks by logging in using their UA System username and password.

“We want students to feel welcome, connected and prepared. That’s kind of our theme for advising, for first-year advising,” Robideaux said. “Hopefully, it’ll take a lot of guessing out of their experience.”