September 27th, 2012 | University

Harvard’s new course website looks just like Bluebook

"Poetry Without Borders" sounds right up our alley.
"Poetry Without Borders" sounds right up our alley. Photo by Eddie Ortiz Nieves.

Students in Cambridge can now count on a new tool to help them navigate through the often hectic shopping period — and it looks pretty familiar.

Harvard sophomores Ben Kuhn and Billy Janitsch, members of the Harvard Class of 2015, recently developed an online course catalog and schedule planner called Harvard Class. The website’s interface looks remarkably similar to Yale Bluebook, which Jared Shenson ’12 and Charlie Croom ’12 designed for the 2011 YCC App Challenge and which the University recently acquired. But don’t worry: it’s not a copycat, the founders say.

Kuhn and Janitsch say Harvard Class “definitely draws inspiration from YBB, though we’d describe it more as conceptual than functional or aesthetic inspiration.

“We wanted to make a site that was quick, pretty, and intuitive – precisely the qualities that have made YBB so successful,” they wrote in an email.

Both websites feature an advanced course search engine that allows students to input course title, academic term, year of interest and the subject area desired — though Harvard Class also boasts instantaneous search. By mid-September, the new site had already received 300,000 pageviews from 4,500 unique users since its debut in early August. The founders of Havard Class said they don’t have any plans to sell to Harvard.

“Large institutions like Harvard can very easily run into issues of complacency, whereby not much innovation happens because there’s little in the way of competition and simply not much institution-benefiting incentive to innovate,” Kunh and Janitsch wrote. “We want to explore some new territory with this project, and hopefully come across new realms of cool functionality. We think that staying independent is the easiest way to push forward as much as we can.”