Computer science sophomores start website to help SU students schedule classes

Three SU students developed a website that lets students enter criteria for what they are looking for in a schedule.

Joey, Josiah and Max are much like your typical sophomore computer science majors, glued to their laptops, writing endless streams of code, and choosing from Syracuse University’s thick catalog of courses. When caught in the dilemma of schedule planning, from avoiding 8 a.m. classes to finding classes with friends, the trio created an algorithm to make the semester go by much easier: CourseGoat.

From left: Joey Cole, Max Burggraf and Josiah MacDonald

CourseGoat is a free online schedule-maker and course-matcher just for SU student. After logging in using Facebook or by making a personal account, you can choose criteria for your class schedule, such as latest start, earliest end or least total class time. You can even reduce the number of days you have classes. Based on the criteria you pick, CourseGoat generates your own personal schedule, greatly reducing the time spent on drawing out and mapping out your semester by hand.

“It started because we used MySlice to create our schedules, and we realized that manually picking out each class and drawing it out on a piece of paper was a lot work,” says Max Burggraf, who manages a mix of front and back end development for CourseGoat. “And we thought it would be awesome to have some web app or something to pick your classes and it guesses the best schedule for you.”

Josiah MacDonald and Max Burggraf work together on building the class databases and designing animations and graphics for the CourseGoat website, while Joey Cole writes the selection algorithm that brings the schedules together. Meeting as freshmen and all facing the same scheduling problem, the three began working on CourseGoat last April and launched the site in November 2014.

The group usually comes together on weekends for a few hours a day to work on the impressive project, receiving nothing but positive feedback from users, especially through CourseGoat’s Twitter account, run by MacDonald’s roommate.

Aside from the schedule optimization feature, CourseGoat offers a book search function.

“The goal there was to compare multiple sources for books,” says MacDonald. Students can choose between SU bookstore prices as well as Amazon’s, offering students an alternative to high textbook prices.

What’s next for CourseGoat? Working with startup incubators and expanding beyond Syracuse University. “Right now we’re working on expanding to other colleges,” says Cole. “Once we change the [coding] language and get that working.”

CourseGoat has recently entered the Raymond von Dran IDEA Awards, a student startup competition here on SU’s campus that awards up to $10,000 to individual student startups in various categories. CourseGoat is looking to win big in the Web App categories. Outside of SU, CourseGoat ups its startup ante at the Seattle Incubator and at the Student Sandbox in downtown Syracuse’s Tech Garden.

Working on a startup in college is not for the faint of heart, and following the advice of the guys behind CourseGoat, don’t forget to do your actual coursework.

“In terms of how much work we put into this? A lot,” says Burggraf. “We put all of our blood, sweat and tears into this. When we weren’t working on our actual work, we were working on CourseGoat.”

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.