This pre-registration, students will have access to a new student-created website, Burnt Out @ Brown, which lists the weekly time commitment for various University courses to help students evaluate which would be a good fit for them. The project, led by co-founders Leyton Ho ’24, Jared Dunn ’24, Kevin Cox ’24 and Isabelle Sharon ’23.5, was first developed in the 2022 Hack@Brown hackathon in January and has since reached more than 1,000 users, according to the group.
According to Ho, the creation of the site served as a way to ensure that students are taking a manageable course load each semester and have adequate guidance in their registration.
“Shopping period is really hectic,” Ho said. “There are so many moving pieces, and there always seem to be students looking for ways to construct a balanced schedule, even myself.”
Ho said that he and his co-founders considered this a shared experience among students and wanted to find a solution that would allow students to make informed decisions on course selection based on weekly time commitment.
The site obtains the majority of its data from The Critical Review and Courses@Brown. Cox said that Burnt Out @ Brown acts as an intersection between the two sites with more comprehensible data. Using data from the sites, “we rank all of the courses by the average number of hours and display them on the website where the user can filter them by department.”
Although the Critical Review has been a helpful resource for Burnt Out @ Brown, Cox explained that there are limitations on the information that it provides due to the inconsistent amount of feedback it receives for each course.
“The main limitation of our website is that we only obtain data involving hours and time commitment from The Critical Review, and many departments use (The Critical Review) a lot less than others,” Cox said. “It would be nice to add the feature of self-reporting courses so that courses not on The Critical Review could be featured, but that data would be a lot less reliable and consistent than what we obtain now.”
Despite this challenge, Burnt Out @ Brown has managed to more directly compile course data, Cox said. Cox added that he was particularly excited by the site’s ability to order courses by time commitment so that students could compare them to one another more easily.
“There is a gap between having access to the data in The Critical Review and actually being able to easily interpret it as a student during course selection,” Cox said. “There was no way to see a ranking of difficulty, so the only way to find a class on the harder or easier side was to do a linear search over every course, which we’ve done and reformatted on Burnt Out @ Brown.”
Dunn said that Burnt Out @ Brown has plans to expand its data to include specifics regarding individual professors as the site continues developing to condense as much information as possible for users.
“I'm hoping that we can get more data on professors so that you could look up professors by average amount of work rather than just courses,” Dunn said. “It would be cool to release helpful information for students on professors even when The Critical Review does not have that data.”
Additionally, the founders plan to implement a search filter to provide information on courses in specific concentrations and classes that satisfy the University’s WRIT requirement.
To maximize the number of students Burnt Out @ Brown can reach, the team has utilized various social media platforms and word of mouth to increase its levels of engagement, Sharon wrote in an email to The Herald.
“The more information we include, the more helpful it’ll be for students,” Sharon added. “We’re really just hoping that students find it useful and tell their friends.”
According to Dunn, since its launch in January, Burnt Out @ Brown has reached over a thousand students and has seen increased usage among students as course pre-registration for the fall semester begins.
“The initial response has been great,” Dunn said. “I think we've had a surprising amount of traffic, which means that it’s not just our friends who are looking at it.”
The team has also received positive feedback directly from the site’s users, Ho said. “We even heard from some students who ended up registering for classes that they found through the site.”
“I also heard of people unaffiliated with the project discussing Burnt Out @ Brown, which was amazing,” he added. “ I also have a couple of friends who were able to explore courses that they wouldn't have taken otherwise, like MUSC 0640: ‘Ghanaian Drumming’ and BIOL 0150D: ‘Techniques in Regenerative Medicine.’”
Mason Mead ’25, who is currently preparing for fall preregistration on April 21, said that Burnt Out @ Brown has been the simplest yet most helpful resource detailing course demands that he has used since arriving on campus.
“The site is so user friendly but still full of information,” Mead said. “It genuinely has acted as the deciding factor for a few of the courses I’m planning on registering for in just a couple of days.”
As the site continues growing, its founders said they will continue working toward their vision for the site’s use.
“Students are welcome to use the website however they'd like, but we don't envision students visiting our website and taking the four classes we've determined have the lowest average workload,” Ho said.
“I want students to use the site not because of any potential for profit, but because I know it is a tool which can save a lot of time and facilitate the process of being the architect of your own education,” Cox added. “Our ultimate goal is to increase the accessibility of information available to students.”