What began as a homework assignment at Stanford University has now spread to 21 universities nationwide and is receiving growing support at the University of Minnesota.
CourseRank.com is a student planning platform that blends planning and class evaluation services provided by sites like Schedulizer.com and RateMyProfessors.com to aid students with class selection.
“CourseRank’s role is to keep info up to date with what students want and what students need,” said CourseRank Chief Financial Officer Idan Koren.
CourseRank also plans to expand its services to include used book sales on its site. Its services are offered free of charge to university students, and it is run through each university’s student government.
“[CourseRank] said they would like to bring this Web site to the U through the student government,” said Drake Nimz, the Minnesota Student Association officer in charge of CourseRank for Minnesota. “All we had to do is market it.”
Nimz’s advertising approach has been through Facebook. He set up a group and began inviting friends soon after the Web site launched at the end of last semester.
There are around 2,000 University students on the site, and Nimz said MSA hopes to reach their goal of 4,500 members by the Jan. 26 deadline to add or drop classes.
The site currently provides course reviews, grade distributions and tools to build students’ schedules. Users are also able to post course schedules to their Facebook page.
“It is a useful tool,” said James Kellison Jr., a senior cultural studies and comparative literature major.
Kellison welcomes CourseRank to the University but worries that the University will make administrative decisions based on the evaluations, which he feels are inherently biased.
“People will say things online that they won’t say face-to-face or on a written evaluation,” he said.
Kellison also feels the site carries the same biases as other sites like RateMyProfessors.com.
“Doing a survey is a science,” Kellison said. “When I read up, I am able to make decisions about who is being vindictive.”
Other University students are embracing the new service because of what it offers in comparison to other sites.
“I think there are other sites that do the same thing,” said first-year biology major Kayla Roden. “But I think I like this one the best.”
MSA will continue marketing the Web-based service via Facebook and plans to use one of the limited University-wide e-mails allotted to MSA to advertise the service.
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