Planning for the Future(s)

Digital Planning Provides Flexibility for Students and Advisors
Max Gulick
Senior Academic Advisor, Ohio State Newark
gulick.24@osu.edu
At a Glance: 
  • Newark advisors use the Ohio State: Discover app to help students create flexible degree plans.
  • The app allows students to create multiple plans which the advisors use to help them envision multiple paths to achieving their goals.

Academic advising is both an art and a science. Advisors navigate course schedules and academic requirements as part of a successful degree plan while they contend with the changing nature of plans. Students may discover a new passion and add a minor or their degree paths may adjust as they switch campuses or majors. A good plan is flexible to these realities. 

As an Ohio State Newark Academic Advisor, Max Gulick helps first and second-year students navigate it all using the course planner feature of the Ohio State: Discover app to simplify and add greater flexibility and options to their degree plans. 

When Max Gulick meets with students, his primary goal is to help them identify a path for their next semester so that they can schedule courses successfully. Prior to the Discover app, this could mean a barrage of papers and difficult-to-track notes following each meeting. With the course planner tab, he now creates the plan digitally on the iPad using ‘course search’ to select courses and drag them into semester categories, easily sharing this with students and saving it to his advising notes.

“Even if a student comes in and doesn’t have their iPad I can plan it out with them on mine and email or AirDrop it to them and then save it to their OnCourse notes,” said Gulick.

But even when setting this plan, he acknowledges that changes happen and utilizes course planner to adjust the schedule to meet new realities. 

“The fact that the course planner tab is malleable is super useful,” said Gulick. “We take the plan and we can tweak it, so if we plan in the middle of fall semester to take your next math course but then we get to the end of the semester and math hasn’t gone so well, that’s okay because we can go to the app and change our plan for next semester. It lets us easily adjust to change.” 

In addition to creating flexible plans, Gulick and the Newark advisors use the Discover app to help their students think about multiple paths that can lead them to achieving their goals.

“A lot of our students plan to apply to competitive majors, but because these tracks are competitive they don’t always get in. There is more than one way to get to your dream job, you just have to find the best way to get there,” said Gulick. “We use the Plan 1 & 2 feature in our survey course to create an assignment where students build that parallel plan. We’re trying to prevent students from having that ‘now what?’ crisis moment by making this parallel plan so they already have their next step ready to go.”

Final words of advice from Max Gulick?

"Dare to try new technology—some it you will keep, some of it you will discard, but from all of it you will show your students that you are invested in their educational experience. In a world where people feel increasingly disconnected because of technology, your students will appreciate your efforts to connect WITH them through technology."

Try it Yourself

The Discover app is available for download on iPad through the Apple app store. 

Visit the Teaching and Learning Resource Center to find helpful guides for digital tools provided by the university and workshops you can attend to learn more about leveraging technology in your course. ​