University News

Brown to unveil new course registration site

New mobile-friendly system to ease process of registration with improved navigation

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The redesigned course scheduler site will feature new sliding decks that will make it easier for students to view courses. Additionally, using a model similar to Netflix and Amazon, the site will recommend courses for students based on previous selections.

The University is creating a new website for scheduling courses that will replace the current online course scheduler tool. The new system will be ready by summer 2016 and will make it easier to search and register for courses, have a mobile design and feature a modern, user-friendly interface, said Robert Fitzgerald, University registrar.

A non-functional prototype of the new site, “Courses @ Brown” can be found at: Students cannot register for classes yet but can explore the site.

One of the main features of the tool is “sliding decks,” which make navigation and viewing courses easier and more functional on mobile devices. Another prominent feature is modeled after sites like Netflix and Amazon: The site includes recommended classes and a “students like you also took” viewing option, Fitzgerald said.

The University hopes that the featured courses component will make the breadth of the open curriculum more accessible to students, said Dean of the College Maud Mandel. The project is being developed in conjunction with the Registrar’s Office and the Office of the Dean of College.

The Registrar is incorporating student feedback they have received since 2008 and is currently testing the tool with a student focus group. Fitzgerald, who is the lead designer for the project, said that he has received a lot of positive feedback from students.

The Office of the Dean of the College is bringing in feedback from students, faculty and advisors. Mandel said the most exciting aspect of the tool is its ability to mimic the old course booklet the University printed and distributed in past years, which many advisors miss. The new website can be like an electronic version of flipping through the book and randomly landing on a course, she said.

The tool makes searching for courses much easier, Fitzgerald added. Students can filter searches by “courses I can take,” by concentration requirements or by “courses not in my cart.” Conversely, a new keyword search box allows for broader searches beyond the department, title, instructor and course number searches featured on the current scheduler.

The new design also streamlines registration. When a student adds a course to the cart, they can immediately enter an override code, rather than having to navigate to a different area of the site. Further, students can select which particular courses from their cart to register for, as opposed to registering for all classes in the cart. Courses will also have warning icons to denote whether or not a student qualifies for them.

The new tool also better integrates ASK Advising Sidekick and the University Bulletin, allowing students to directly import courses selected through ASK into their cart and more easily view course requirements for a concentration.

Some students noted shortcomings about the current scheduling system.

Michelle Lin ’17 said one aspect of the current system that bothers her is the inactivity sensor, “You’ll be searching for a course and flip departments, and it will kick you out.”

“There are a lot of things in the schedule that I have but aren’t showing up in Banner, like my sections. … It would be better to have everything in one place,” said Lauren Shin ’19.

Rebecca Townsend ’19 said, “What I don’t like is how it reacts to having like two classes in the same slot.”

A common issue with the legibility of overlapping courses is also addressed on the new website. Courses appearing at the same time will be displayed like topographical maps, Fitzgerald said. With more classes overlapping, the classes appear more red, and students will have the ability to scroll over the courses and see the descriptions below.


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  1. dissapointedpoint5er says:

    long time coming

  2. Hehehehehehehehehehe says:

    A banner day it will be.

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