Rutgers students create 'Rate My Professor' Webreg extension
Students tired of flipping through tabs while fighting the registration rush now have a way to quickly find the professors they want for the classes they need.
Three Rutgers students have created a Google Chrome extension named "Five Point Oh," that allows users to see a professor’s Rate My Professor’s rating directly on WebReg or Course Schedule Planner.
“So what we did was basically expedite that process and put all the professors’ scores in one easy-to-see and easy-to-compare place that gives you the option to pick the best professor,” said Daniel Tsioni, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.
Gavriel Tsioni, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, came up with the idea during one the groups brainstorming sessions for the 2015 Spring HackRU, said Daniel Tsioni, one of the extension's creators.
The project ended up winning a prize for "The Best Rutgers Hack" and also placed in the top five hacks at HackRU, he said.
"We wanted our users to basically get the best professors. We saw that people were still using Rate My Professor but it was much slower, and you had to open up a 100 tabs and try and compare professors, and even then looking up the professors took a while," he said.
Initially for the hackathon, the group made a prototype in which WebReg would have a link directing the user to the corresponding professor’s Rate My Professor page, Gavriel Tsioni said. It was not until afterwards that the three "really developed" the app.
“From the reception we got at HackRU, we knew that people would really be interested in a Chrome extension. Even with just the prototype people were just really excited about,” he added.
Now instead of being linked to another page, users can directly see a professor’s score next to their name on WebReg, the University Schedule of Classes and the Course Schedule Planner.
The team first launched the developed extension on reddit for a trial run, where they received about 100 users. Afterward, they posted a link on Facebook and within a day, received 1,000 users. Now, less than a year after the app's launch, they have more than 3,200 users.
More recently, they have worked on adding a ratings option to the extension. They’ve created their own custom scoring server that is separate from the Rate My Professors page, Gavriel Tsioni said.
Rate My Professer does not make getting scores from their page easy, he said. So now the team is working on a server allows them to obtain the scores much more quickly.
“Through this server that Daniel set up, we should be able to make that process instant,” said Corentin Rejaud, a School of Engineering junior.
For now, the scores used are still from Rate My Professor, but eventually the team hopes going to switch to their own ratings server, which should decrease wait times, Daniel Tsioni said.
The ratings option is a relatively new option in their latest version, and he said they hope to have more people use it.
When it comes to ratings, the team said the more ratings there are the more accurate they become overall. People who did extremely badly or extremely well in a class tend to give biased answers, but with a high number of ratings, these outliers average out.
“Rutgers is a pretty big school, so when you have thousands of students rating their professors I’d say it averages out to be a good representation about how people feel about these professors,” Daniel Tsioni said.
Melissa Moreno, a School of Arts and Science first-year student, said she would definitely use the extension because of its convenience.
“I use Rate My Professor all the time, and this extension is so much easier than opening up other tabs,” she said. “The only thing I would like to see is other students’ comments. You can’t really see the specific comments with this rating option.”
Overall, the team wants to make choosing classes a better experience for everyone.
“There’s a lot of variables that can make a class good or bad for you. A lot of it depends on the professor,” Daniel Tsioni said, “We think that by adding this extension, students can easily choose which class will be a good fit for them and they can get the best experience out of their classes.”
Madhuri Bhupathiraju is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. She is a correspondent for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @madhuri448 for more.