University acquires Yale Bluebook

Yale acquired student-run course-planning website Yale Bluebook.
Yale acquired student-run course-planning website Yale Bluebook. Photo by Yale Bluebook.

Yale Bluebook, the student-run website that has proved increasingly popular among undergraduates as a course planning tool, will now be owned and operated by Yale.

University Registrar Gabriel Olszewski told the News that his office purchased a license for the site “a couple months ago” and has worked closely with the site’s creators, Jared Shenson ’12 and Charlie Croom ’12, to “bring the system in-house.” On Aug. 8, the site will temporarily go down as its information — including that of registered users and the course worksheets they have created — is transferred to a new .edu site, Olszewski said, adding that the site will go live again by the morning of Aug. 9.

More than 4,000 undergraduates used Yale Bluebook to plan their course schedules in the 2011-’12 academic year, Olszewski said, citing numbers provided by Croom and Shenson. He said Yale College Dean Mary Miller asked him to look into the site this spring to see if Yale could “bring it into the fold” of the University’s own course planning tools, Online Course Information (OCI) — which lists courses — and Online Course Selection (OCS), which students use to make and submit course selections.

“We saw a very well-designed interface that we thought we could either use or learn from down the road,” Olszewsi said of Yale Bluebook. “We knew OCI/OCS as an interface did not meet the current basic standards that we’re used to in more contemporary websites.”

But OCI and OCS are not going away just yet. Yale Bluebook will remain “purely a shopping tool” for students to easily access course descriptions, course evaluations and map out different potential schedules, Olszewski said. Students will still make their official course selections through OCS.

In the future, OCS may be replaced by Yale Bluebook, but Olszewski said his office needs more time to figure out if that is possible.

“We know the functionality of Yale Bluebook is important, and we wanted it to continue,” he said. “It’s on our radar to eventually try to bring the two together, but we don’t have a timetable yet.”

The new Yale Bluebook site, besides being operated by Yale, will refresh information on course listings more frequently than it has in the past — at least four times a day rather than once daily — and will have more robust security features for users, who must log in with a NetID.

As of last week, 1,200 students had started building worksheets on the site with classes for the fall semester.

Comments