During the course selection period for fall classes, many University students have moved away from defunct course-scheduling applications like the Integrated Course Engine and easyPCE andhave started using newer applications like TigerHub andReCalinstead.
As of Thursday, Polly Griffin, the University registrar, said that93.9 percent of active students had built a course plan on TigerHub, the University’s course-scheduling portal. She added that designing the application, which contains a calendar to arrange the courses and the portal to add and drop courses, was a very large undertaking but that it has proved useful and easy to use.
ReCal is a new course-scheduling tool thatwas launched on April 3 by Maxim Zaslavsky ’17, Dyland Xue ’16 and Naphat Sanguansin ’16.
ReCal is different because it also consists of a mobile app component. Being able to select courses from a phone is important to them because it is “what we want as users,” Sanguansin said. In general, the whole system and user interface is faster, sleeker and more efficient than TigerHub, the creators explained.
One third of University students currently use ReCal, Zaslavsky said. ReCal has over 10,000total page views, and the average usage time is 5 minutes, Xue said.
ReCal was a project that was conceived before TigerHub, Xue said, adding that the original team members met in COS 333: Advanced Programming Techniques last year.
“We know how to make a good course selection tool,” Zaslavsky said. “[Compared to TigerHub], we think we do a better job there, because we’re actually students and we know what course selection requires, and we built a nicer version of it."
The main motivation behind ReCal was to make something that would benefit both the creators and the students on campus, Sanguansin explained.
“We want to build something that we ourselves want to use,” Sanguansin said. “We’re probably the biggest users of ReCal.”
ReCal has no plans to merge with the Undergraduate Student Government, Sanguansin said.
“If we keep ReCal separate and grow it as a platform, then we can give a better experience to the students,” Sanguansin said.
The three ReCal teammates are not concerned about keeping ReCal alive, and maintaining the domain is not a problem.
“We want to add as much as we can in our time here, and then we’ll think about how to make sure that this survives,” Zaslavsky said.
The ReCal founders said they were disappointed that easyPCE had shut down, which was first launched in COS 333, as a project that John Whelchel ’15 began working on with Yacob Yonas ’15 and Matthew Haake ’15 during the spring of their sophomore year.
“We looked at all these course reviews online and they were really hard to utilize,” Whelchel said. It was difficult to compare classes, semesters that classes were offered and who was teaching a class, he said.
Although it was “fun to do” and great for students to pick classes, Whelchel and his team decided that it was not worth it to keep paying for it on their own anymore, he said.
“We’re leaving and we’ve had enough frustrations already,” Whelchel said. “It remains to be seen [whether easyPCE will return.]”
EasyPCE was complementary to Integrated Course Engine, also known as ICE, Whelchel added, as the website helps students select which courses to take, while ICE schedules it.
Several crucial features of easyPCE include filtering by PDF or non-PDF courses, average ratings, top classes in a department, professors and distribution courses.
The founders said they wanted easyPCE to be part of USG TigerApps from the beginning and had spoken to the USG in spring 2013. However, USG had already agreed to sponsor another group that was working on a similar project, according to Whelchel.
Whelchel and his team decided to launch easyPCE on their own, he said, and within a day it had gone public with over 1,000 netIDs using it.
They continued to ask USG for support in their junior year.
“Once again it doesn’t really come to much and we don’t really make any progress and by this point we’re kind of sick of it so we just don’t care anymore,” he said.
USG president Ella Cheng ’16, said she has been in contact with easyPCE and ReCal in the last several weeks and she is looking to find a way to adopt their tools and “make sure they are institutionalized.”
Cheng is a former staff writer for The Daily Princetonian.
When student coders graduate, they do not have the same access to institutional information, such as up-to-date course reviews, and then the system cannot be maintained, Cheng explained, who said she is working with the IT committee on a protocol to decide which projects to adopt.
She said she hopes to preserve the valuable student-created applications and she believes USG can help make these apps last beyond graduation.
Recently, another TigerApp called Princeton Pounce has re-launched. The app allows students to receive texts or emails notifying them when courses have openings.
TigerHub still has improvements coming and continues to receive feedback from students, Cheng added.