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Development Of An Ad Hoc Curriculum Advising Tool To Improve Student Progress Using Cpm And Pert Analysis

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Creative Engagement and Developmental Tutoring Method

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.416.1 - 13.416.11



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Paper Authors

author page

Virgilio Gonzalez University of Texas-El Paso Orcid 16x16

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Development of an Ad-hoc Curriculum Advising Tool to Improve Student Progress Using CPM and PERT Analysis


The paper demonstrates the application of two project management tools designed to help the students complete their curriculum sooner. The first tool provides a visualization map of course sequences, customized for each student, making advising adjustments that will optimize the time to obtain the degree under a constrained set of resources. The second tool collects information from multiple students through several semesters and can be used to identify bottlenecks in the curriculum using probability distributions for the time to finish the program.

Students that attend commuter campuses many times suffer delays in the completion of their courses due to an inadequate selection of classes each semester. In addition those students can’t take the ideal workload because of other external factors. Therefore the use of their time and resources has to be optimized to decrease the time needed to obtain their degree. The advising process could be enhanced by modeling academic programs as complex projects that require constant management to be completed on time. The methodology is inspired by the use of project management (PM) tools from operations research.

A complex project requires two phases, planning and execution. The planning phase establishes a series of major tasks and continues breaking them into smaller parts. The next step identifies dependencies among the tasks creating the critical path where the two major constraints are time and resources required. The Critical Path Method (CPM) is used to identify the vital chain of events to finish a project. The Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) were developed to expand CPM capabilities. The innovation included a probabilistic model using best, worst, and expected times to complete each task. Therefore, PERT produces an estimated completion time of the project, within a probability distribution.

The execution phase of project management monitors the progress of each task and the use of resources. The art of project management consists of the reassignment of resources when the events deviate from the original plan. Historical data collected in this process is used in future cycles to generate better plans.

The critical path and time required to finish the program curriculum can be estimated using the CPM and PERT methods. Students will be advised better to allocate limited resources and finish the program in the shortest time possible. The application of operations research techniques to student achievement records will provide information that becomes a series of longitudinal descriptors that permit the evaluation of the program curriculum and help its improvement.

Gonzalez, V. (2008, June), Development Of An Ad Hoc Curriculum Advising Tool To Improve Student Progress Using Cpm And Pert Analysis Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3913

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