Penn InTouch’s replacement, Path@Penn, is set to go live on March 14, in time for fall 2022 advance registration. Here is what you need to know about the new and improved platform.
Path@Penn, which was created by Next Generation Student System, will be a renovated version of Penn InTouch and offers many changes that students have been asking for. Updates include permission request forms for classes, graduate and undergraduate class course filters, and calendar functions that allow students to map out non-academic conflicts.
“It’s basically a jumping off point to resources like registration, academic planning, financial aid, and student accounts,” Next Generation Student System User Experience Project Manager Deborah Long said during a Feb. 3 Zoom information session.
Penn InTouch and Penn.Pay will be down from March 3 to March 13 to transfer students’ academic and financial records to Path@Penn. In an email sent on Feb. 2, Student Registration & Financial Services encouraged Penn students to declare or make changes to their major or minor selection by Feb.18. SRFS also recommended to request a transcript before March 1, if needed, before the system outage. Canvas will not be affected by the outage.
On March 14, all Penn students will have access to Path@Penn, but students will only be able to search for classes starting on April 4. Advance registration for fall 2022 will start on April 18. Path@Penn will not contain spring 2022 course information until final grades have been submitted in mid-May.
Path@Penn’s registration and planning section will contain two main options to organize course selection: Cart and Plan.
“The Cart is a place to put specific sections of courses in order to request registration during advance registration or register for courses during course selection,” Rob Nelson, Executive Director for Academic Technology & Planning, said in a written statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian. “The Plan is where you will put courses you want to take in future terms. When registration for future terms arrives, you will be able to add those courses to your cart for that semester.”
Advance registration will also change with the advent of Path@Penn. Students will have the ability to request multiple alternatives for their courses rather than just one, swap classes seamlessly, and see how many requirements are left to complete their major.
“We think this is an improvement because typically students want alternatives for specific courses. Students will also be able to indicate the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, etc. choices for their requests, but if they do not, the system will look at classes harder to get into and prioritize them to assist in obtaining the most optimal schedule,” Nelson said in a written statement to the DP.
A swap feature will also be included on Path@Penn. It will be a conditional add/drop system that solves the problem of students dropping one course to add another one, only to lose both classes.
“There was always the possibility that someone would grab that [open] spot in class,” Nelson told the DP. “Swap guarantees that won’t happen. You will only actually drop the class if you get into the class you want.”
Another service that has been added is Path@Penn’s progress bars that will help students see how many requirements are left for their major.
Some Penn students are eager for the addition of the progress bars, including College senior and incoming Penn Dental Medicine student Adam Rose.
“I’m a [biology] major and have two minors, and I can’t tell you how many times when I’m registering for courses I had to go to different department websites to make sure I was checking everything off. To have everything built into the registration system is really nice,” Rose said.
Path@Penn will also transition all classes to be labeled with four digits instead of three. Students can search courses with the old, three-digit code or the new, four-digit code. Penn Labs will also make adjustments to Penn Course Alert and Penn Course Review to accommodate these changes.
Financial aid information will be embedded into Path@Penn, allowing students to choose an award year, track their financials, and contact financial services staff.
“When you’re planning for the present and past, you’re going to be looking at the current system: Penn InTouch. When you’re planning for the future, you’re going to be looking at the Path@Penn site,” Adam Sherr, Penn's Senior Advisor and Lead Functional Analyst, said at the Zoom information session.
Path@Penn also hopes to prevent crashes from happening on popular registration days by using performance testing.
Next Generation Student System offered virtual information sessions throughout the fall and spring semesters. Online guides on how to navigate the new system will be available on Path@Penn and the SRFS website by March, according to Nelson.
“The initial release of Path@Penn in March is really our foundation,” Long said in the Zoom information session. “We plan to collect feedback so that we can make changes and enhancements as soon as the summer and into the future.”