Moorpark College integrates new scheduling program for counseling appointments


Student consults counseling reception in fountain hall. Photo credit: Alec Kamburov

By Alec Kamburov

Moorpark College will be one of eight community colleges in the state using a new interface to assist the appointment-making process.

The Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) is developing a new online software that will allow students to schedule counseling appointments. Soon, students will be able to access a program linked to their portals that will allow them to book with the counselor that is right for them.

“Our counseling department is planning on ‘strengthening education management’ through the website,” said Counseling Department Chair, Traci Allen. “About a year since the idea’s conception, it’s becoming very close to manifestation. The service will be fully available to everyone ‘hopefully’ sometime during our upcoming spring semester.”

Students will be able to access the website through a link embedded in their VCCCD portal. From there, they can plan an appointment for up to three weeks in advance. The web page will have access to a student’s class schedule and major, giving them their specialized counselor at the right time.

This is contrary to previous scheduling which was based on the next available appointment, with a counselor that may not be categorized in the student’s major. This was Allen’s main goal by introducing the program.

“By making sure every student is aligned with their corresponding counselor, we have a better chance of clarifying educational goals,” said Allen.

Allen also encourages students to update their majors and refer to their general ed patterns to ensure it will work best for them.

Freshman student, Carly Prati, in the criminal justice program said that she had booked one of the only two available times left to see a counselor from her program. She also exclaimed that the online appointment-making process would have helped her and her friend both secure a spot with the counselors they need.

“I am taking 17 units my first semester here, so being able to schedule it online would have been very helpful,” said Prati.

Everyone’s schedule is different, the program is designed to adhere to each person’s individual needs.

The third-party company, Starfish, is currently working with the IT department at the district to make everything suitable for a multi-school format. This is what they would describe as a normal-to-larger-sized project, according to Mike Rose, District IT Director. Starting with just pure data analysis, they focused on the needs of all staff involved to bring them exactly what they need. It became clear that a network embedded within the student/staff portals would be the best option.

“[With this] they’ll be fully able to schedule meetings and also contact a person of interest,” said Rose. “In unison with the student system integration, the program will have each individual schedule and academic history matching students to counselors or whomever that will be perfect for them.”

Full deployment and training will be launched in the summer so that every department can start using it to connect students in the next fall semester.