The Online Beacon

The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

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As the school year began, a technological change swept the MCLA campus, with an uptick in the usage of programs such as Navigate, a program allowing for better connections between students, faculty, and staff. 

Navigate is a program used by over 800 colleges and Universities, with students, faculty, and staff all using the program. Navigate is a success program, built to help faculty and staff have increased communication, and to provide support to their students.

Kayla Hollins, Executive Director of Student Persistence, also a key factor in the addition of Navigate onto the MCLA campus, says what drew MCLA to the program is its app, which focuses on a “student-facing” platform. In addition to the app allowing for more accessibility to the program, Hollins claims that the app allows students to “take charge of their success through appointment scheduling, hand raising,” and, generally, “connect with resources that are in place to foster their success.”

One of Hollins’ favorite features is the “study-buddy feature,” a feature allowing students to join study groups with peers in one’s class, a seemingly useful feature. However, this feature requires other students to join the study groups, something that simply isn’t happening. For one class of 14, there are only 2 “buddies” in the study group, which is only 14% of the class. This is similar among courses, with an average of only 10% of students using the program. 

While one might think of 10% as a decent percentage of students using the app, it’s important to note that Navigate is an app that improves student usage: the more students using the app, the better this resource is. Because of this, the study groups are small and leave students with limited options. 

Hollins claims that, with an increased usage of the Trailblazer Tutoring Center, this program gives “organic study opportunities for students.” While this is true, it begs the question: Why spend funding on Navigate? 

In addition to this, another favorite feature of Hollins’ is the “Major Exploration Quiz,” which helps undeclared students find a major that fits them. Despite the possibility of this becoming an amazing resource, it falls into many major pitfalls that most ‘major-deciding’ quizzes fall into—generic and short quizzes rarely lead to accurate answers. 

One English major the Beacon interviewed received the answers of “Elementary Education, Arts Management, and Undeclared,” while a Performing Arts major received the answers of “Arts Management, Undeclared, History and English.” An Environmental Science major was told he’d do best in the field of “Arts Management and Art.” 

There are obvious pitfalls with this quiz, as students weren’t given the majors they’ve been passionate about for years. Because of this, it is obvious that many students won’t be given the true best major for them.

Despite these flaws, the program does have the potential to be successful, with its most helpful page being the Schedule Page. 

Hollins hopes “students realize that Navigate is a tool that can help them manage their academic journey.” 

Despite this, her fear of students ignoring the program seems to be true, and that the majority of students don’t use Navigate. Most cite this to the fact that Navigate lacks information many other MCLA websites use. 

Despite this, Hollins’ would like to remind students that this program is new to the MCLA community and that faculty are working to improve it daily.

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Madi Ogorzalek, Staff Writer

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