The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

The new version of Penn Course Review has officially replaced its predecessor.

Despite glitches in course listings which led the student-run website — which lists professor and course ratings — to be rolled back last week, Penn Course Review was up and running on Tuesday.

The new website includes an autocomplete feature and allows students to see average ratings for each professor and course.

The new version was taken down on Nov. 1, a day after it was introduced. In an email to the English Department, Undergraduate Chairman Max Cavitch pointed out that a number of English courses were listed under the wrong professor and often the wrong course title.

He wrote that many instructors in the College will be performing their own “informal review” of Penn Course Review listings, in both the original and new sites.

“[We] will report the results to the SAS College Dean’s Office as necessary,” he wrote, adding that instructors had been assured that “future dissemination of corrupt data” would be prevented.

PennApps Labs — a student organization dedicated to promoting student-run technologies — worked with the Office of the Provost, the Undergraduate Assembly and Penn Course Review to redesign the site.

The errors occurred because many departments reuse course numbers for different classes, said Editor-in-Chief of Penn Course Review Michael Roberts, a College senior.

Penn Course Review had the same problem with listings a number of years ago, but “forgot to mention” the issue to PennApps Labs when they redesigned the site, said UA Representative and Engineering junior Matt Rosenberg, who also worked on the project.

In his Daily Pennsylvanian column on Thursday, PennApps Labs leader Alexey Komissarouk, who worked on the project, expressed displeasure at Cavitch’s reaction to the incident. He wrote that the professor’s actions were “not productive” and feedback could have been provided in a more civil manner.

Engineering junior Amalia Hawkins, who is the PennApps Labs’ Marketing and Operations director, agreed with Komissarouk: “We welcome feedback, but we prefer if it happens in a less aggressive manner,” she said, adding that they had received less public complaints from a number of students and faculty.

PennApps Labs has “made searchability a thousand times better,” Rosenberg said, adding that the new website includes “essentially all the same data in a format that’s easier to use.” Graphs of ratings for classes may be introduced over time, he added.

PennApps Labs is working with Penn Course Review to improve how cross-listed courses are presented on the site, Hawkins said. She also indicated that pages for department-specific ratings may become a reality.

College junior Esther Saks, who received Cavitch’s email, thinks Penn Course Review is useful but agrees with him, saying that it can sometimes be “misleading.”

“So far its been pretty good in preparing me,” Saks said, adding that the new website was easier to use. She particularly appreciates the autocomplete search bar, since “you don’t have to know specifically what classes you’re looking for.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.