WaterlooWorks in the Spotlight

Bryan Mailloux - 3A Mechatronics
Posted on: March 10, 2017

Co-op rankings for first round are finally over, and hopefully most of you have a job lined up for the next co-op term. If you don’t, don’t be discouraged! There’s still plenty of time to get employed. I didn’t get my first job until the beginning of May – I guess the good thing about getting a job really late in the term is that you can be completely committed to finding a job after finals finish up.

One of the things that can be frustrating with the job search is when the WaterlooWorks interface doesn’t work the way you expect it to. We’ve previously written about some of the things that we didn’t like with the new system, such as the search options that are not quite as user-friendly as Jobmine was, and some things we did enjoy, like the option to not rank a job if during the interview if you found out that the job wasn’t quite what you expected. I’ve never used it, but the Send A Message functionality seems pretty useful too – you can send a message to other people interviewing for a job if you have a conflict, or to your co-op advisor if you have any issues. It is definitely easier than finding out who these people are and searching the Waterloo White Pages to find their email addresses.

The latest issue seems to be with the ranking display page: the first thing I noticed was, though there is a link to show your rankings on the WaterlooWorks dashboard, it seems like that link is the only place on the site where you can access your rankings. I feel like it should be a link in the sidebar, like the Jobs / Applications and Interviews links. Also, anyone who interviewed during the main round but who didn’t get ranked by any jobs was not allowed access to the rankings page. This caused a lot of confusion among students, who weren’t sure whether WaterlooWorks was just glitching or whether it was meant to work that way. Word got around quickly that this was in fact the intended behaviour of the site, but a lot of students felt that this was an issue that should have been foreseen by the website designers.

It isn’t all that hard to find someone who has some criticisms to make about WaterlooWorks – if you have something you think could be improved on, you should let CECA know by filling out their feedback survey, which can be found on the WaterlooWorks dashboard. CECA is actually starting to outline some of the WaterlooWorks design decisions they had originally taken which students didn’t agree with, and what they’re doing to change that functionality, on their WaterlooWorks Functionality Spotlight page, available here: https://uwaterloo.ca/co-operative-education/waterlooworks-news/waterlooworks-functionality-spotlight. Currently, the page only talks about the application status and job status fields and what those mean, and changes to the job application limit (you’re allowed up to 250 applications in the continuous round!), but hopefully there will be more information up there soon. Providing CECA keeps the page updated, it should answer a lot of questions about WaterlooWorks design decisions that didn’t make sense to students.

In other news, WaterlooWorks cost almost 3 million dollars to develop and has been in progress since Fall 2011. On March 1st, CECA released data (https://uwaterloo.ca/co-operative-education/news/data-released-cost-waterlooworks) on the cost of WaterlooWorks, including a high-level breakdown of what the $3 million was used for. Also mentioned on the page is that the “second phase” of the WaterlooWorks project will feature additional functionality and continuous improvements, though what these entail isn’t specified. Though $3 million isn’t a pleasant number to look at when considering all the frustrations we’ve had with the final product, it’s great to see that CECA has actually published the data, as unflattering as it might be. I’m hoping this transparency will translate over to updates to the Spotlight page, giving the student body a little more information about why WaterlooWorks’ quirks are the way they are.