New Zealand Herald, 9 March 2011
By Mark Webster
New Zealand company Graduate Factory, which is based in Otago, has come up with a solution to one of the most important decisions in a person's life: What should you major in at university?
No Major Drama is an internet-based tool that enables users to create personalised rankings of majors available for Bachelor (under-graduate) degrees in the US and Canada. Each user's ranking of majors is based on their own personal selection criteria, related to their skills and interests, and their own personal weights on the criteria.
With so much (time, expense ..) riding on the decision, this new software may be a blessing. William Henry Harrison High in Cincinnati was the first US school to trial No Major Drama. Steve Barnes, WHH's guidance counsellor, reckons it's "Finally a tool that is quick, easy and useful for students and provides counsellors with valuable data."
With over 5000 colleges and 18 million students in the US in any one year, NMD's creators are hoping to help lots of people to maximise their academic (and career) prospects, and in the process 'save the world'. "Education's social and economic importance cannot be underestimated," says Dr Paul Hansen, one of NMD's inventors. "And given the scarcity of educational resources, the decision of what to major in has great national significance."
Dunedin-based student Jamie Parkinson-Wisely from John McGlashan College describes NMD as "really awesome, incredibly easy to use and fun as well. The results I got were mostly things I wanted to do with a couple of new ideas worth considering," (according to a company press release).
No Major Drama has been created by the Graduate Factory Ltd, an EdTech company associated with The Distiller Lab at the Centre for Innovation, University of Otago, Dunedin.
NMD was inspired by the success of Otago Choice, which is software to help students choose from the 106 majors available at the University of Otago. Since going live in 2008, Otago Choice has been used over 50,000 times (60 uses per day, on average). Based on this experience, Graduate Factory created No Major Drama for the US and Canada.
No Major Drama is completely free for individual users and schools.
- Mark Webster mac-nz.com