November 15, 2006

Students Find Flaws In Schedulizer Site

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With course selection for next semester well underway, many students remain confused about how to make Schedulizer and CoursEnroll, Cornell’s enrollment system, work for them. While Schedulizer enables students to input their class selections and see various scheduling options, some students feel that there could be improvements to make the software more user-friendly especially as it aims to expand to other schools.

Operated independently of Cornell and CoursEnroll, Schedulizer was launched in the fall of 2004 by former Cornell student Ross Skaliotis ’08. Initially only 1,000 students registered to use the site in 2004, but currently two-thirds of undergraduates use the site to assemble their schedules, according to Skaliotis. Part of the appeal of Schedulizer is that “it’s really a site by a student, for students,” Skaliotis said.

However, what many students fail to realize is that while Schedulizer does allow an individual to see all possible scheduling options, increasingly many students have discovered that classes listed on Schedulizer’s roster do not correspond to the official class roster provided by Cornell. This can be especially problematic as students are able to fit a class into their schedule on Schedulizer but then go to register on CoursEnroll and find that the class is offered at different times or even worse a different semester than the times posted on Schedulizer.

But Skaliotis contended that this is not the case.
He said, “The site automatically updates itself when there are changes to the course roster. The affected users are notified by email to the relevant changes when they occur.”

If there is an error between Schedulizer and CoursEnroll, then it is the fault of the University as “the roster data is obtained from Cornell’’s public website,” Skaliotis said.

Nevertheless, this is why some students choose to create their schedules by hand because Schedulizer is not officially operated by the Cornell.

Hannah Kern ’08 said, “I see no real need for Schedulizer. I can just do it by hand, and it is easier to visualize that way.” While this approach may work for some students who take classes only offered at specific times, it remains difficult for others to put a schedule together consisting of various lab times, recitations and sections.

Despite these discrepancies, most students find Schedulizer helpful and are willing to take a gamble that their schedules will correspond to the particular time slots set up through CoursEnroll. Yet, some students would like to see Schedulizer feature new sorting options beyond the typical categories of “Starts the Latest” or “Ends the Earlier.”

Michelle Zheng ’10 said, “I wish they had an option such as ‘most chunked together’ or ‘least free time’ between classes. I wish I could select two sorting options at once to maximize my time instead of getting 80,000 scheduling options to choose from.”

Within the past few months alone, Skaliotis has expanded the program to five other schools beyond Cornell and Ithaca College, including Ohio State University, Penn State University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
It is important for students to remember that Schedulizer is not actually operated by the University. Rather, it is a way to organize one’s schedule. While many students have successfully navigated this system, JC Sheppard ’10 advocated using Schedulizer first to consider one’s scheduling options then uploading them onto CoursEnroll.

Currently, Cornell is in the works to launch a new version of CoursEnroll in March 2008 which will redress some of the issues that forced students to turn to Schedulizer in the first place.

Ultimately, Sheppard concluded, “You have to be careful with Schedulizer because sometimes they list classes not actually offered that semester, so always cross reference your courses of study book!”