Like a careful game of Tetris, students in the College of Arts and Science meticulously craft their schedule each semester so that it is both fulfilling and diploma-worthy. This can be tricky, especially with the college’s abundance of distribution requirements.
Hoping to help the pieces fall in place more easily, Cornell seniors Constantin Miranda ’20 and Barron DuBois ’20 created the DUST Report application as an alternative tool to the College’s existing Distributed Undergraduate Student Tracking report, which can be found on Arts & Sciences’ website.
The application allows users to input the courses they have already taken based on the semester and year it was offered. The app then generates their DUST report on-demand, displaying the number of major credits, college credits and distribution requirements the aggregate courses fulfill.
The idea came to fruition when Miranda himself noticed an error on his DUST report. After contacting the College, he realized that they generate and update these reports by hand at the end of each semester, which can lead to inaccuracies or delays.
In particular, the pair wanted to tackle the issue of categorizing courses that fulfill multiple degree requirements. The application gives the user command over which specific course they prefer to count towards each requirement, while the College’s report defaults to certain choices.
“This also gives students the opportunity to see what any particular class they might be taking next semester and account for it,” DuBois said.
DUST Report is a progressive web application, meaning users can either use it on a laptop or in the browser of their mobile device. Miranda and DuBois have no intention to charge for the application, which any user can download. Rather, they hope for it to act as a free resource for students in Arts and Science.
Users are not required to input any personal information such as their name or NetID to use DUST Report. However, the creators are hoping to get user feedback on the application in order to implement new features.
“We’d love to have people upload their resume or transcript and we just pull all their course information,” Miranda said. “Ultimately, the goal would be to just tie in with Cornell’s system and be able to sign in with NetID.”
While the application currently targets Arts & Sciences students, the pair can see it being applied to tracking the unique degree requirements of other Cornell colleges.
“Now that we’ve built the framework for building this for Arts, we can incorporate [the] different set of rules for the colleges,” DuBois said.
Despite being a computer science major in the College of Engineering, DuBois became an expert on the Arts & Science requirements and developed the back end for the application while Miranda, an information science major, constructed the front end.
After taking a course on backend programming, the duo poured their efforts into this project and have been working on it since mid-September. Both seniors live across the hall in the same fraternity house, often bouncing ideas back from one end of the hall to the other in preparation for releasing their app this past week.
“We really want feedback,” Miranda said. “If people come across something [that] doesn’t work quite well, they can just email us and we’ll try and fix it.”