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As web apps age, TigerJunction promises course selection with fewer glitches

Students are walking to their respective classes.
Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian

Students eagerly planning for next semester’s courses now have a new app to craft their schedule. TigerJunction, created by Joshua Lau ’26, plans to integrate three different apps — ReCal+, CourseGenie, and ReqTree — into a single platform. Using the application, students will eventually be able to plan their semester schedules, map out prerequisites, and create four-year course plans. ReCal+, the semester course planning tool, is currently the only functional portion available for users. 

TigerJunction comes as some of the most popular applications on TigerApps — a platform run by Undergraduate Student Government (USG) for student-built programs — continue to age. PrincetonCourses, an app to view course reviews, and TigerPath, an app to map out degree requirements, were COS 333 projects in the spring of 2017 and the spring of 2018, respectively, while TigerBook, a directory with student pictures, is currently being rebuilt. Lau is also a developer for TigerApps. Notably, Lau’s app began as a COS 333: Advanced Programing Techniques project in the spring of 2014. 

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According to Lau, TigerJunction had about 400 users prior to the release of spring course offerings, and the application now has about 900 users. 

The initial inspiration to create TigerJunction came from deficiencies that Lau noticed in ReCal, one of the most popular course selection tools among students. For example, many students have experienced difficulties loading ReCal in their browsers leading up to the course enrollment deadline. TigerJunction, however, intends to resolve these issues by using a serverless hosting style. 

“The way ReCal is currently hosted is it has its own dedicated virtual machine, which means that once the resources of that machine fill up, it stops working and someone has to manually increase the size of the machine to make it work again,” Lau said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian. “When nobody is using TigerJunction, the server essentially does not exist, but when a thousand people are using TigerJunction at once, the server scales up to meet the requirements of all of those users.” 

Beyond resolving technical issues, Lau also incorporated additional features into ReCal+, such as searching by classes without schedule conflicts. 

“The reason I started using the app was because it was very inconvenient for me to transition between multiple different sites while selecting my courses. TigerJunction provides a central location for the different sites I use like Princeton Courses, the registrar, and ReCal all combined into one,” said David Wang ’27, a user of the ReCal+ portion of TigerJunction.

Other users enjoy the ability to customize the interface of TigerJunction by switching to ‘dark mode’ and making their own theme. 

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“I love how you can turn on night mode and make the screen background dark,” Helena Richardson ’26 told the ‘Prince.’ “I also really enjoy the filters, and it’s less glitchy than ReCal.”

Besides ReCal+, TigerJunction is also based on features from the existing TigerApps of TigerSnatch, TigerMap, TigerPath, and Princeton Courses. Lau saw an opportunity to consolidate all their features in one app to make the student experience of selecting courses easier.  

CourseGenie, the portion of TigerJunction that will allow students to create four-year plans based on their intended majors, minors, and certificates once it is released, was primarily inspired by TigerPath. While the first phase of CourseGenie will be similar to TigerPath, Lau said that the final version will allow students to filter out classes that students don’t have the prerequisites for and “recommend students courses they might enjoy based on courses they’ve taken before. According to Lau, an “AI-driven course suggestion” will also be incorporated into CourseGenie within the next few years. 

“I think the CourseGenie part could be useful so that I don’t accidentally not graduate,” Alex Picoult ’26 said.

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“By collecting data over the years about which courses students liked and which courses students didn’t like, as well as things like course ratings and evaluations, I want to create a system that essentially acts like an academic advisor,” he said. “It could ask students questions, and with that provide them with courses that not only match their potential plans but also match what they might enjoy in a class.”

ReqTree, the third portion of TigerJunction, will help students visualize relationships between class prerequisites. ReqTree is also planned for release in January.

“Let’s say you want to take a certain certificate, but this certificate has a requirement that you need a bunch of prerequisites for. Right now, it’s hard to envision all of the prerequisites,” Lau said. “RecTree is going to visualize what your prerequisites are, so if you have your path, it will show what prerequisites you need to get to that path.”

Since TigerJunction’s launch, Lau has been working to incorporate feedback from users.

“Something I added very recently was integrated professors, so you can now see professors in the advanced search settings,” he said. “That was something one of my friends requested. I always want to be adding new features.”

Ava Fonss is a News contributor for the ‘Prince.’

Please send any corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.

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