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CWU Receives US Copyright for Computer Software Application

Nearly three years ago, the CWU administration decided streamlining was needed for the student academic planning process system. The result was the development of Central’s Academic Planning System, known as CAPS+.

CAPS+ is a customized application that seamlessly integrates with the university’s student information system. It’s an application that is so efficient and unique, that it has now received a copyright from the United States Copyright Office. It’s one of only five copyrights that CWU has received over the past 40 years.

“Since it was developed on site and was a large investment of staff time and resources, it was important that it remains the property of Central Washington University,” said Robert Kempel, CWU Information Services (IS) enterprise integration manager.

He added, “We looked at other planning tools, but an analysis showed that if we moved forward with a product from an outside vendor, we would likely need to either heavily customize it to meet our unique needs, or maintain a second system with a robust set-up. Keeping two robust systems in sync is a tall order and, eventually, the decision was made to develop an application in-house which could leverage our existing system.”

That’s important since it mitigates risks associated with erroneous data duplication or entry errors. CAPS+ allows students to have online access to review the classes that they have taken and those they need to earn a degree in a specific discipline, along with the most up-to-date class schedules. It’s all presented in a user-friendly manner, that can be saved or printed, and can even be reviewed on a mobile device.

“We like to say it was developed for Wildcats by Wildcats, as most of the members of the [development] team were internal and many were alumni. So, it was important to protect the interests of CWU,” said Charlene Bane, IS project manager.

CWU’s Ellensburg students first had access to CAPS+ in fall 2017, though, at that time, it was specifically introduced to incoming freshmen.

“This fall we were able to make it available to students at our University Centers and instructional sites, and also to our graduate students,” Kempel pointed out. “CAPS+ is also an easy way for departments to review the accuracy of their course information. It supports the data integrity of the class schedule that is presented to students.”

While the atypical—and, now copyrighted—functionality of the system is unique to Central, other institutions have expressed interest in it. Because of that CWU is exploring the commercialization of CAPS+.  

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

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