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Introduction

This website is an unofficial tool designed to help in the scheduling of courses at Rice University.  It allows you to pick potential courses by various criteria, see information on those classes and have a set of classes platted on a calendar grid to help plan your school week.

This website is currently hosted outside of the Rice University network and does not ask for or store any sensitive data.  All data used in this website is available from public sources.

Note that this is only a planning tool.  It will help you select a set of desired CRNs and possibly some alternates should your courses not be available.  You will still need to register for classes using the official Rice registration system.

Authentication Through Rice's Central Authentication System

The website has been updated to authenticate with Rice's Central Authentication System (CAS) using your NetID and password.  There is no longer a need to separately obtain a Login ID.  Saved courses and system sent emails will be keyed off of your NetID.

Course Selection Page

The Course Selection page is the main portion of this website.  It is currently divided into three sections.  The first step is to use the lower left side of the page to select course.  Information on your courses of interest will appear in the table at the top of the page.  Finally, those course which you choose to show on the calendar will appear on calendar at the lower right portion of the page.

Selecting Courses

The Find Courses section of the website is used to find courses to consider.  There are 5 drop-down lists you can use to narrow the list of courses.  While you have to select a value from at least one of them, you may continue to filter the selection by selecting values on as many of these as you wish.

The top selection is for department.  Not only will it allow you to select a department for the course listing, it will also limit the values of the remaining dropdown boxes to those with courses in the selected department.

The Distribution list will allow you to find courses with your desired distribution level.  The Days and Start Time lists will narrow the courses to ones presented on particular days and/or times.  Finally the Instructor list will allow you to filter by instructor.

Note that if you want to find a course meeting D-II credit regardless of department, first ensure that the department selector is set at "-- Select Department --" and then select "II" from the Distribution list.

The 'Clear All Selection Filters' button will reset all of the selections lists to their initial '-- Select xyz --' state.

Once you place a value in any of the drop down list boxes, the program will display a tree of matching courses.  The courses will be listed by department, then by course number and finally by section number.  Click on the checkbox next to one or more courses and then press the "Add Checked Courses" button which is below the drop down lists and above the tree of courses.  This will cause data from the selected courses to be added to the table of courses at the top and for them to be displayed on the calendar on the right.

Initially, all CRNs for a given course are shown in the course tree.  Use the 'Collapse List' button to collapse the list to just listing the courses.  You will have to click on the '+' next to the course name to expand that node and select a CRN.  Only individual CRNs are added to the Course Data Table.  Also note that the text on the 'Collapse Lists' button changes to 'Expand List' after being pressed.  As expected, it will expand the tree showing all course CRNs.  Pressing the 'Expand List' button changes its text back to 'Collapse Lists'.

You should select as many courses as you wish to consider; even if there are scheduling conflicts.  You will resolve scheduling conflicts in the next section.

Note that the data is saved on the server, so if you close the program and come back later, the courses you have previously selected will automatically return.

Course Data Table

After you have selected some courses, data on those courses will be displayed in the table at the top of the page.  You will notice that some of the text is in Blue while other text is in Black.  More information is available by hovering your mouse over the Blue text.  For example, hovering the mouse over the Title field will display the course description.  Covering over the Instructor text will display the full name of the instructor as well as any additional instructors associated with that course.  Similarly only the first few pre/co-requisites are shown in the table.  The full list can be seen by hovering over that field.

The CRN field is special in that if you click on the CRN, a pop-up window will be launched showing the numeric evaluations for that course.

At the extreme right is the X-List field which will show other courses that are cross listed with that line's course.

Of particular interest are the 4 count fields.  The Cur and Max fields represent the number of people currently signed up for this particular section of the course and the maximum allowed for this section.  The xMax and xCur fields show the numbers for all cross listed sections.  The xCur field is also color coded.  If its background is yellow, then the course is at least 80% subscribed.  If it has a Red background, then the course is at capacity.  Note that this information represents the status of all cross listed sections of a particular course; not just your selected section.

The data on counts is NOT real time.  The registrar updates the tables periodically and this program refreshes its data from the registrar's refreshed data.  Normally this is not an issue; however on registration day you should expect that the actual course statistics will change much faster than the data on this website (or for that matter the public Registrar data).

There are two checkboxes on the left of each row.  The one on the left determines if that particular course is to be displayed on the calendar grid.  It acts immediately.  Click on a button and observer the change in the calendar.

The checkbox to the right arms a course to be removed from consideration.  This is a two stage process.  First you select the course or courses to be removed by selecting the appropriate checkboxes in the 'Del" column.  You then press the Delete Selected Courses button at the bottom of the table.  It will remove those courses from this list as well as the calendar.  If you want to bring back those courses, you can add them again via the course selection process.

Calendar Display

The final element of the Course Selection page is the actual calendar display.  It graphically shows you information on the courses you have chosen to display from the course table on the top of the page.  Hovering over an entry shows a little bit of information about the course.

The calendar items are color coded similar to the Course Data Table.  If the enrollment for the course is above 80% but not yet full, the background color is yellow.  If it is full, the background color is light red. If the max is set as 0 (normally implying instructor permission required) is is colored orange.  If it is less than 80% full, the background color is light gray.  There is a color coded side bar for each course that reflects the fullness of the course and all of its cross listed courses.  If the main box is light red and the side bar is yellow then the selected CRN is full; however there is still some space in a cross listed CRN of that course.

Evaluations

Course Evaluations

If you click on a course's CRN in the Course Data Table, it will launch a pop-up window containing evaluations for the selected course.  The database has the numeric evaluations since 2008.  If the CRN had multiple instructors and each instructor had separate evaluations, all will show up in the evaluation grid.

A number of courses do not have evaluations on file.  In this case, the pop-up window will indicate the lack of data for that particular CRN.

Note that only the numeric evaluations for a course are shown.  You need to use Esther in order to see comments left by students.

Instructor Evaluations

If you click on the instructor field of the Course Data Table, it will launch a pop-up window containing evaluations of the instructors teaching this course. Note that some courses have multiple instructors and that the field only shows the last name of the first instructor (hovering over the field will show the fill name of all of the instructors). The pop-up window will show evaluations for all instructors.

By default, the table only shows instructor evaluations for the selected CRN.  If you heck the " ... show all courses ..." checkbox, the table will include evaluations for other courses taught by those instructors.

Utilities Page

The Utilities page currently has three functions. 

The first section allows you to email yourself a copy of the courses you have been considering. 

The print section has a button which will take you to a page with a printer friendly version of your course list and initiate the printing action.   Landscape printing is suggested.  A button exists on that page to print additional copies.  You can return to the main program either by using one of the menu bar buttons or the "Return to Course Selection" button.

The third section is for you to send any feedback on this website including any bugs you have noticed or features that would be good to consider for a future update. Type your comment in the provided text box and hit the 'Submit Feedback' button. Positive feedback is always welcomed. We will find someone to blame for any negative feedback.

Change Semester

The system stores course information going back to the Fall 2007 semester.  The Change Semester page allows you to select which data you are to use.

When you start using the website, it defaults to using the latest semester for which it has data.  The Registrar's office typically releases a new semester's worth of data one to two weeks before registration (Expected to be November 1, 2011 for Spring 2012). 

There are two controls on the Change Semester page.  Use the dropdown list labeled "Select Semester" to select a different semester.  Click the "Select Latest Semester" to return to the default value of the latest semester.  You can always tell which semester is in use by looking at the upper right hand corner of the screen.

When you select courses to evaluate under the Course Selection page, the stored data is keyed to the semester.  Thus every semester starts off with a clean slate.  If you used the system in a previous semester, you can recall your stored courses by selecting the proper semester and either printing or going to the Course Selection page.

Future Additions

Further down the road will be more timely (and possibly real time) queries regarding enrollment counts  Presently the data is updated on the hour; however during the actual registration period, the update period changes to approximately every 15 minutes.  Hopefully someday it will have the ability to submit the list of CRNs to the official Registrar's system.  This sounds simple, but it has a number of major challenges including various security issues and how to handle situations where a course is not available.  What may be possible is to pre-load a set of selections which then get processed by the official system while the student is connected to the official system so that they can authenticate themselves and handle full courses.