Meet the New Course Explorer

This article was created by a Technology Services student employee. Our student employees attend, engage, and report on campus events that feature technology. Students provide a unique perspective on how innovations in technology affect campus life.

By Sara Abdeljalil, Economics '18

Thanksgiving is over, finals are almost upon us, and snow (or at least cold rain) is in the air. What do these things point to? It’s time to register for Spring 2017 classes.

This past fall, the University rolled out its new Course Explorer page. Filled with a slew of new features, the University hopes that the new Course Explorer will make registering for classes a more pleasant experience for students.

The new Course Explorer page has many new features. These include being able to check your registration eligibility, see which classes you have taken each semester since your first semester of college, and view time conflicts. In addition, you can type in a subject, like “Economics” , and see every course and professor in that field.

New Course Explorer interface

Browsing Economics classes 

Searching for Accountancy classess 

The goal of these new features is to make registering for classes easier. As Isaac Galvan, a web applications developer with Technology Services, explains, they wanted there to be less clicks involved. “Our developers and stakeholders agreed that we could decrease a student’s required page loads by adding a way to quickly jump between subjects from anywhere in the application.”

In the old Course Explorer,  students would have to scroll down to find the subject they wanted, click on it, go to a page with a bunch of classes listed, then click on the class they wanted to see what  time it was at and who was teaching it.

As Meagan McCoy, a junior majoring in English, remarked, the old Course Explorer page was very time consuming. She explained how she used to have to physically make a sheet on printer paper to have a solid visual of the classes she was picking up. Everytime she would want to pick up a class, she would have to write it down on her graph, but that was just a messy and time consuming process.

Now, all you have to do is type in the subject and the classes, professors, and times and dates are all listed. In addition to that, you can also see a layout of your class schedule to see if there are any overlaps. Previously, it was all left up to fate: you had to first pick up the class and see if it would allow you to add it or not. Now you can see a physical schedule, which makes it easier to avoid time conflicts.

Galvan explained that, like so many great ideas at the University of Illinois, the new Course Explorer was actually created by students.  

The Registrar’s Office has a committee of students who are dedicated to listing all the changes they want to see happen. From there, the University used their feedback to actually make change happen. These changes have been effective, and the response has been pretty positive so far, but will probably see a peak right after the term starts.

While the original registration options are still available, the new Course Explorer will make the dreaded process of picking up classes and making a schedule a little less stressful.