Members of AppDev behind the new CourseGrab app continue to develop the mobile version of the website.

Courtesy of AppDev

Members of AppDev behind the new CourseGrab app continue to develop the mobile version of the website.

February 13, 2020

New CourseGrab App Set to Launch by Fall Semester Pre-Enroll

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After getting locked out of mandatory and elective classes during pre-enrollment, many Cornellians flock to the CourseGrab website, using it to secure a spot if a course opens up.

But students will soon be able to track class enrollment at their fingertips, with the release of an app planned to give users an even broader suite of course-planning features.

Cornell AppDev — the project team that also developed the popular Ithaca Transit and Eatery apps — plans to roll out the app version by April 13, coinciding with the beginning of pre-enroll for rising seniors. Since spring 2019, Cornell AppDev has managed the CourseGrab website.

With the goal of making “life easier for Cornell students,” Chase Thomas ’20 and Ning Ning Sun ’19 created CourseGrab in 2016 at Big Red Hacks. Since its creation, CourseGrab’s popularity has significantly grown.

“We had both had experiences with trying to get into classes that were full during pre-enroll and add/drop, so this seemed like a natural solution,” Sun said.

To date, more than 8,000 Cornell students have used the website, which allows them to sign in with their Cornell email addresses and track up to three course IDs. If a spot opens in the corresponding section, CourseGrab then sends users an email, urging them to quickly enroll.

Mathew Scullin ’22, the CourseGrab Pod lead — a product management position on AppDev — told The Sun that the project team decided to create the app after seeing potential in the website during a planning session last fall.   

“There was a lot of space to enhance the experience and provide a better sense of immediacy,” Scullin said.

Three new features streamline and expand the app. While courses must be tracked through a specific course ID on the website, with the app, users can simply type in the name of the course. Students will also be able to track at least 10 courses at a time, an improvement from the website’s current three-course limit.

The app will also send users push notifications immediately when a course opens up, alleviating the need to track their email inboxes.

Shruti Agarwal ’21, the marketing operations leader for the CourseGrab app, said she was optimistic about the project and excited to see what “coherent marketing efforts” can do for it.

She noted that they hope to get users “hooked” on the app instead of the website, even though AppDev will continue to maintain the website.

“We are going to try to make the website parallel the app,” Scullin said. “The timelines may not be perfectly lined up, but we’ll try to have the website reflect new functionality.”

Android capabilities will likely be developed starting next semester.