Assembly launches course guide
By Grace Afsari Mamagani, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Student Assembly will replace the student-run online Course Guide with the privately-owned CourseRank web site as the main vehicle for student course assessment, according to several members of Student Assembly. In an effort to modernize the course assessment process, the Assembly hopes to achieve a complete transition to the new site by the end of Spring term, according to Assembly spokesperson Will Hix ’12.
“The Course Guide web site was developed in the early 2000s by an ’02,” Student Body Vice President Cory Cunningham ’10 told The Dartmouth. “We’ve had some issues with communication in the past and it’s kind of a ridiculous situation that we don’t have access to our own site.”
The Assembly’s executives began to consider the change when they were contacted by the Delaware company, which already maintains course review sites for Duke, Stanford and Cornell Universities, according to Hix.
CourseRank enables student users to rate classes on a five-star scale, write reviews and browse classes by popularity, according to Academic Affairs Committee co-chair Kamisha Hyde ’12. The site also includes a feature for academic planning, allowing students to keep record of their courses and grades over time, Hyde said. The Assembly hopes to include book lists on CourseRank in the future, in response to federal legislation requiring colleges to release book lists at least a term in advance, Hix said.
“I personally find [CourseRank] easier to navigate and use,” student life committee chair Uthman Olagoke ’11 said. “It also looks much more appealing.”
The new assessment tool creates color-coded weekly displays of class schedules and permits students to sync information with computer calendars as well as Facebook accounts, according to the CourseRank web site.
“You can tell pretty quickly that the CourseRank site is a lot newer,” Hix said. “It’s got really cool features that we can’t offer [otherwise,] and it’s run by an outside company that does a lot of independent development that we don’t have the manpower to do right now.”
“Students will have to take anything they see with the understanding that it’s unofficial,” he said.
The Academic Affairs Committee is working with Computing Services to transfer the reviews currently posted on Course Guide to the new client, Cunningham said. Although no timeline has been set for the transfer of past reviews, Winter term courses are currently available for review on the CourseRank site, he said.
The site, which currently has 142 registered users, is compiled by CourseRank, Inc. free of charge. The company also offered to fund campus initiatives, such as raffles, to market the site, Cunningham said. Cunningham is a former member of The Dartmouth Senior Business Staff.
Members of the Academic Affairs Committee are in talks with company representatives in order to tailor the site to meet Dartmouth-specific needs and offer the best possible resource for Dartmouth students, Hyde said.