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A new version of the Penn Course Review website launches today, just in time for the start of the advance registration period.

“This new website will make the search experience so much easier for every student, whether it’s a freshman looking for a freshman seminar or a senior trying to fulfill a requirement at the last minute,” said Michael Roberts, co-editor-in-chief of PCR. The website’s new facelift and features were designed by PennApps Labs, which received funding from the Office of the Provost and the Undergraduate Assembly to spearhead the redesign.

“It’s much better organized so that you can understand what you’re being told and really make an intelligent decision about the classes you’re going to take,” said Amalia Hawkins, the marketing and operations director of PennApps Labs and a former Daily Pennsylvanian staff member.

One update to the website is the addition of an autocomplete feature, which makes it easier for students to search for classes, teachers and subjects. When students begin typing in the name of a course or a professor, the site will drop down a list of any course containing those letters. Students click on the course or professor they are interested in and are taken to that page.

The new site also allows students to specify which ratings they want to look at. “I definitely think one of the best parts that we now have is that you can select only the columns you’re interested in seeing,” Hawkins said.

The new site also provides average ratings for professors based on the ratings for all the classes they’ve taught, as well as average ratings for a course over time. “If you want to take a class with professor ‘X’ and he’s taught the course eight times in the last 10 years, you have the ability to look at the recent data — just like you would on the old site — but you also have the ability now to look at the average of all of the courses he has taught for that course code,” Roberts explained.

PCR was sold for $12.95 an issue in the Penn bookstore until it first went online in 2002. Since then, however, the website had not undergone any major changes in design. “We were brought on to bring it to the current standards for web technology,” Hawkins said. “The PCR team does a great job of taking all of the data, the numbers and the comments and aggregating them into one place. But, the old website didn’t accurately reflect their work.”

Hawkins also explained that the new site has a feedback form and they are very open to suggestions from students. “We don’t want to leave it stagnant for another 10 years. We really want to keep it continuously evolving and make it even easier for students to look through data.”

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