Students create websites to help with class scheduling

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EZ Semester, demonstrated above, was developed by Jonathan Wu, ’17, and Kento Hirakawa, ’17 in spring 2016. The website was recently updated with current courses. (Demonstration by Musa Jamshed/B&W Staff)

Each year in preparation for registration, students scramble to create a course schedule for the following semester with the best class times and most popular professors. This process is often facilitated by platforms used to create mock versions of a semester schedule at Lehigh.

One of the original systems used was a website called MyEdu, which allowed students to select courses and outline their semester plan. But when MyEdu stopped supporting Lehigh courses in 2015, there was an immediate need for a scheduling system for the fall semester.

Year Registration
Freshmen Thurs, 11/16
Sophomores Wed, 11/15
Juniors Tues, 11/14
Seniors Mon, 11/13
Grad Students Mon, 11/13

That was when two groups of Lehigh juniors simultaneously came up with the same idea: to use their web development skills to create their own course scheduler.

Jon Ross, ’17, and Will Kavanagh, ’17, two computer engineering majors, were the first to translate their idea into action. Together, they launched their own adaptation of MyEdu, called MyEd2, which allowed Lehigh students to once again construct their schedules online.

“(Kavanagh) started to work on it and I helped him out, and three days later we finished it and sent it out to one of our GroupMes, and then from there, it just spread all around the school,” Ross said.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Wu, ’17, and Kento Hirakawa, ’17, were developing their own version of a course scheduler called EZ Semester.

“We were more focused in terms of making it the best it could possibly be and adding as many features as we could,” Wu said. “That was our goal from the get-go, which is why we wanted to take a longer time developing it and making it perfect.”

While MyEd2 quickly became a popular source for Lehigh students to plan their potential schedules, the website was overshadowed with the debut of EZ Semester just a few months later. Ross said the creators of EZ Semester added new features their program lacked, such as the incorporation of Rate My Professor and a more advanced user interface.

“There’s so many features that I would want for myself that we could program into our website,” Wu said. “That’s kind of where the original idea came from — we wanted to make a course scheduler for ourselves, and if it took off with the rest of the student base, that would be cool too.”

Wu said he collectively spent nearly a thousand hours developing EZ Semester. While he and Hirakawa did not do any actual promotion besides telling friends about it, the website became a success for the spring 2016 registration.

Since then, EZ Semester has remained the predominant website students use to simulate a Lehigh schedule. After the MyEd2 developers graduated in May, Ross said they retired their efforts of reviving the website, which is no longer functioning.

Wu and Hirakawa have managed to uphold EZ Semester despite being graduates with full-time jobs. Wu said the website was built with the purpose of being low maintenance for the future. The only time requirement now is the course upgrade each semester, which takes about an hour to run.

While other universities may have a need for an online course scheduler similar to EZ Semester, adapting the program to fit other schools is difficult, and it is not likely that the website will expand beyond Lehigh.

“I tailored this website specifically for Lehigh and around our experience,” Wu said. “I wasn’t planning on making it available to other schools just because this is kind of something I want to leave as my legacy at Lehigh.”

The common incentive that drove both the creators of EZ Semester and MyEd2 to develop their programs was the absence of a mock scheduling system installed by the university itself.

“On the (Lehigh) Portal you can look at all the courses available, but there’s no way for you to pick the classes you want to take and have it be shown on a calendar format,” Ross said.

Registrar associate Linda Bell said while the idea for implementing this type of system has been discussed, there has not been much progress in establishing the software.

“It’s not, not on our radar,” Bell said. “We’ve seen a few options that we might have, but I can’t say that we’re close to having it yet.”

EZ Semester has been updated with courses for the spring 2018 semester, and the seats available for each class section are updated hourly. It will provide students with a means of building their schedules in preparation for registration, which begins Nov. 13.

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