CourseRank, an academic planner and course review system for colleges nationwide, started a Princeton-specific page in late December to serve as an additional resource for University undergraduates.
Created by three Stanford students in 2007, CourseRank is now available to students at 20 colleges across the nation, including Cornell, Duke and Stanford, CourseRank CFO Idan Koren said in an e-mail to The Daily Princetonian. Twenty more schools will have CourseRank by the end of January, Koren said.
The Princeton CourseRank website offers a variety of tools, including course reviews, course ratings, class schedules and grade distributions for each class.
Many of the features of the Princeton CourseRank website overlap with the University-hosted Student Course Guide. Both websites, for example, provide basic course reviews and ratings. With the Student Course Guide, students can review and rate courses by their content and workload and their professors by their organization, accessibility and appeal. Students can also review and rate courses on CourseRank, but can only give a one- to five-star rating for each class.
The most popular courses on the Student Course Guide include PHI 202: Introduction to Moral Philosophy, POL 240: International Relations and ECO 100: Introduction to Microeconomics.
The highest-rated courses on the Princeton CourseRank website are COS 423: Theory of Algorithms, JPN 101: Elementary Japanese I and CWR 203: Creative Writing (Fiction). Still, since CourseRank was made accessible to Princeton students only recently, the number of ratings per class remains relatively low. Currently there are more than 300 ratings for Princeton courses.
Unlike the Student Course Guide, CourseRank provides students with the opportunity to virtually plan out all four years of their undergraduate studies with an online tool. In addition, CourseRank allows its registered users to submit their grades in a class, which are then anonymously available to the Princeton CourseRank community.
Princeton CourseRank’s main form of publicity has been its Facebook group. At the moment, there are hundreds of registered users on Princeton CourseRank, though that figure may include University faculty and administrators since registration only requires a Princeton e-mail address.
Koren said he has been pleased with the reception of CourseRank among Princeton students. Though there are only three written course reviews on the website, he explained that about 12 percent of Princeton undergraduates have already become registered users of Princeton CourseRank in its first few weeks.
“I am incredibly impressed with the pace that Princeton CourseRank has spread virally,” Koren said. “There is much enthusiasm for CourseRank from the feedback we have gotten thus far, and Princeton students seem to be really receptive to the idea of a new software.”
USG IT Committee chair Michael Yaroshefsky ’12, who is responsible for the maintenance of the Student Course Guide, said in an e-mail to The Daily Princetonian that it is too early to comment substantively on the launch of the Princeton CourseRank website, since the USG has yet to officially endorse or publicize it.
“I admire the CourseRank team’s level of commitment to the project and look forward to seeing how it progresses,” said Yaroshefsky, who is also the USG president-elect.
Koren said he hopes the Princeton CourseRank website will eventually be supported by the University.
“We would really like to integrate better with Princeton, and it will take a few weeks for us to tweak the software to give Princeton students the data input they truly need,” Koren said. “We realized that Princeton has its own course guide, and while we in no way want to replace it, we believe CourseRank is an additional tool that will help students in the future.”
Yaroshefsky said he sees great potential in the future of Princeton CourseRank.
“I am excited at the possibility of replacing the SCG [Student Course Guide] with CourseRank if it becomes the system that students prefer,” he said.
“The project is still young,” he added, “but it looks promising.”