The Rise of Cornell’s Scheduler

Late freshman fall (2013), I remember sitting in the great lecture hall for PHYS 1112, distracted by students moving colorful squares about in some fancy scheduling app. At that time, students everywhere were using their app of choice: either Chequerd or Schedulizer.

Come sophomore year fall (2014), we found out that these apps were no longer supported. Whatever the cause of such misfortune, students about our campus had reason to be distraught: we had taken these apps for granted in planning out the best strategy to squeeze the most value from our Cornell tuition – how would we continue to do that without the proper browsing tool to view and schedule courses?

For those of us who are particularly list-oriented or dabble in our Type A personalities come pre-enroll season, this was tragic news. From the disorientation, however, a savior arose, in the form of CoursePad.me.

CoursePad.me was unique to my experience because of how the developer (bless your soul)  reached out to the Cornell Computer Science community on Facebook for feedback in its progress and features. It felt more personal, and we were all too happy to help the guy help us. Within a week of the initial Facebook post, I’d look around and again see those twinkling squares in my peripheral vision during long lectures as students once more had means to plan their schedules. News travels fast.

It was that same semester that classes.cornell.edu became a thing. Before that existed, we’d have to browse the archived classes (courses.cornell.edu) from previous years with it organized by department, with a mediocre searching and browsing experience. classes.cornell.edu really helped the browsing aspect with its modern UI/UX, albeit without a calendar or scheduling tool.

But just as we were all settled in using CoursePad for the remainder of our Cornell careers, a new kid on the block showed up: Cornell’s Scheduler.

I discovered the new Cornell Scheduler during spring break junior year. I found it to be the most sophisticated scheduling tool thus far, building upon the mistakes and successes of its predecessors.

For an idea of how much functionality was packed into Cornell’s Scheduler, I present thee a comparison chart of features:


 

Key: CHQ = Chequerd, SCZ = Schedulizer, CP = Coursepad, SCD = Scheduler, * = did very well in that area

  • Discovering
    • Search Bar for classes [CHQ, SCZ, CP, SCD]
    • Class names [CHQ, SCZ, CP, SCD]
    • Schedule generator [SCZ*, CP]
    • Browsing [CHQ, SCD*]
    • List of available times [CHQ, SCZ, CP, SCD]
    • Credits counter [CHQ, SCZ, CP, SCD]
    • Previous semesters’ class offerings [CHQ, SCZ, CP, SCD]
  • Rearranging / Organizing
    • Draggable classes [CHQ, CP*, SCD]
    • Toggle-able classes [CHQ, CP, SCD]
    • Savable schedules [CHQ, CP, SCD]
    • Multiple schedules [CHQ, CP, SCD]
    • Conflict detection [CHQ, SCZ, CP, SCD]
    • Class descriptions embedded into panels [SCD]
    • Copy existing schedule on creation [SCD]
    • Custom events [SCD]
    • Conflicting classes displayed side-by-side [SCD]
  • Pre-Enroll
    • Enroll numbers [CHQ, SCZ, CP, SCD]
  • Social
    • Sharable links [CHQ, SCZ, CP, SCD]
    • Syncing to iCal [CP, SCD]
    • Syncing to Google Calendar [CP]
    • Facebook integration [CP]
  • Other
    • Custom colors [CHQ, SCD]
    • Shows weekends [SCZ, CP, SCD]
    • Nice UI/UX [CHQ*, CP, SCD]
    • Week range specification [SCD]
    • Mobile friendly [SCD]
    • Cornell Login [SCD]

(Note: I didn’t use Schedulizer very often, so information about Schedulizer in the above chart may be inaccurate. Please correct me if you notice anything wrong.)


 

I find there’s not too much reason to switch to Scheduler from CoursePad, the latter having semester info since Fall ’10, and having all needed functionality. However, the embedded class descriptions that Scheduler has is such a deal-maker for me – I used to have two tabs open: one for CoursePad, and the other for classes.cornell.edu, but I only need one tab for Scheduler because of its rich course detail.

In the end, I’m grateful to the developers of Chequerd, Schedulizer, and CoursePad for spurring on a movement for the development of scheduling tools. It’s not often that we have a tool that keeps up with how we want to use it, and it’s due to you that we now have Cornell’s Scheduler. I hope not all of us will jump ship too soon from CoursePad, as I believe having two apps to choose from is valuable, and can only encourage both developers to continue making their product a great experience.

Thanks for reading!

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