Computer science major creates new course registration service

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For many College of William and Mary students, course selection often results in the constant monitoring of classes, hoping for the chance to grab an open seat. However, with the introduction of Recourse, a new service created to assist with course registration at the College, Daniel Quiroga ’21 hopes to change the College’s approach to course selection.  

Quiroga developed Recourse through his honors project for his computer science major and received assistance from associate professor of computer science Peter Kemper. The website allows students to trade seats in classes that they are currently enrolled in with other students. Students receive a notification if a seat becomes available in a class they wish to enroll in. Recourse is completely free to all students at the College, which sets it apart from other websites like Coursicle that require a membership fee.  

“The idea comes from a class that I am teaching, Entrepreneurship in Computer Science,” Kemper said. “We ask students about what would make life better for William and Mary students and course registration is a frequent topic that comes up. And this is how we came up with the idea of a digital system to help students with that.” 

“We ask students about what would make life better for William and Mary students and course registration is a frequent topic that comes up. And this is how we came up with the idea of a digital system to help students with that.” 

Quiroga initially went to Kemper to brainstorm some ideas for his honors thesis. 

“Dr. Kemper brought up the idea of Recourse and I thought it would be a good topic,” Quiroga said. “If I could do something to help out students with my new-found knowledge of computer science, why would I waste it?”

According to the Recourse website, 329 students from the College are currently using the service, and 87 students out of those have made use of the class registration services that are provided. Kemper added that he has heard positive feedback from seniors who wished they had the service earlier in their college careers. 

A lot of my friends say my name after they registered for Recourse and were really impressed with how I was able to do this,” Quiroga said. “I wish I had this freshman year, I probably would have been able to improve my course schedule. We’ve just had a lot of positive feedback with people wishing this was a thing beforehand but also realizing that it is a nice benefit now.” 

Recourse is similar to Coursicle, an online service that allows university students to create schedules and receive notifications when there is a spot available in a class they wish to enroll in.  

“Recourse takes the notification system that Coursicle has and makes it to where you can do more than one class, because I know with Coursicle you can only track one class for free and after that you have to pay a certain amount,” Quiroga said.  

Although Leana Travis ’24 hasn’t used Recourse, she does have experience with Coursicle from last semester.  

“I found that fall semester it was really helpful for me keeping track of the classes that I wanted to get into but they weren’t open, so during the add/drop period I was able to monitor those classes and enroll in a class that was previously full because I got notified from Coursicle,”  Travis said. 

After learning about the services Coursicle provides, Travis said that she would prefer to use Recourse. 

 “The issue with Coursicle is that it is very complicated,” Travis said. “I had to email customer service in order to get a premium account. If Recourse is a much easier and more perfected way of trading classes that would be really cool.” 

 “I think there is a possibility for expansion to other universities, but I really want to make it successful and working well at William and Mary first,” Kemper said.

Recourse will be available for students at the College to use in future semesters and will potentially include new features 

“I am planning to keep going with this and pushing it forward, and I am looking for more students to work on this in the future with me since Daniel is graduating,” Kemper said. 

Quiroga is also currently developing a new feature for the service, which he described as being similar to a barter system for classes.  

“This feature would essentially be you put in the courses that you are willing to drop and you get a list of courses that you could exchange for that class,” Quiroga said. “So instead of knowing what course you want to take in return, you can put in the course you are willing to trade and see what’s out there.” 

There is also the possibility of Recourse expanding to other universities in the future.  

 “I think there is a possibility for expansion to other universities, but I really want to make it successful and working well at William and Mary first,” Kemper said. 

Kemper also explained how he is working to make Recourse more integrated within the College. 

“We have been working with William and Mary IT, and the registrar and they are all very open to this,” he said. “I feel they are all parts of William and Mary who want to improve things and make things better. I am quite optimistic that we are getting somewhere with this.”