Ducks on Track will support students’ degree progression

A new online tool has launched to help University of Oregon students better navigate their degree programs and stay on track for graduation.

Ducks on Track allows undergraduate students to access information on their required courses and graduation requirements early and often. The application also lets students run “what-if” scenarios to explore the potential impact of changing their degree type, major or adding minors, and how those changes may affect their graduation timeline.

Easy, self-service access to that information is critical for students throughout their academic journey and can help them stay on course for a timely graduation, said Grant Schoonover, interim vice provost for undergraduate education and student success.

“Empowering students with a sense of control over their course choices will help them be successful,” he said. “This tool is user-friendly and we are hopeful that it will help with our institutional priorities of improving timely graduation rates.”

The Ducks on Track application officially launched on June 24, and it is now available to all undergraduates. It is replacing the UO Degree Guide program, although that application will remain live during summer term for undergraduate students to ensure a smooth transition. 

Graduate students will continue to use UO Degree Guide next year, although the university plans to add them to Ducks on Track in future phases of the project. 

Undergraduate students will receive information about the new tool during IntroDUCKtion and at the start of fall term in a variety of ways. There is also video and written instructional content for using it on the new Ducks on Track landing page. Additionally, academic advisors will receive training for using the tool and will have access to other resources to provide guidance to students.

“Ducks on Track has created a comprehensive and interconnected database for all degree planning and progress tracking,” said Julia Pomerenk, associate vice president for student services and enrollment management and university registrar. “Students can use this tool to help plan their entire academic path, from day one to graduation.” 

Among other outcomes, Ducks on Track will:

  • Create a better, clearer self-service experience for students with increased access to their degree progress information.
  • Provide reliable and comprehensive course requirement information to assist students with scenario planning and facilitate on-time graduation.
  • Support student-centered academic advising and graduation planning.
  • Allow the institution, over time, to centrally track course scheduling trends and bottlenecks.

Supported by strategic funding from the offices of the president and provost, the project launched in mid-2023. It has been co-led by the Office of the Registrar, Division of Undergraduate Education and Student Success, and Information Services. The university added four new permanent positions to support implementation of the technology and to maximize the UO’s investment.

Following extensive collaboration between the Office of the Registrar and academic departments to verify and encode the UO’s existing course catalog and degree requirements in 2023, the project team have been focused on functional and technical trainings, digital accessibility and load testing in the final weeks of spring term. 

“We’re excited to have launched this application and to have students start experimenting with it,” said Melody Riley, associate chief information officer for enterprise solutions. “The focus for this project was accessibility and user-friendly navigation, as well as creating a complete, accurate and standardized tool for tracking our students’ degree progress.”

Anyone who needs technical support with the new application can submit a ticket at Ducks on Track support request in the UO Service Portal.