EagleScribe Helps Students Snag Popular Classes Late

When the ominous and frustrating nature of UIS, Boston College’s course registration program, seemed to have BC students in a headlock, Kevin Sullivan, CSOM ’17, fought back with EagleScribe, a new app that has completely altered the process of course registration.

Starting off the spring semester of his freshman year, Sullivan had an inconvenient pick time when registering for his classes. Like many BC students, he could not get into the course he wanted. Aided by his background in technology and coding, he built a rough manual script that had the capacity to check the BC system and see when a particular class opened. Whenever there was a vacant spot, Sullivan received an email.  Eventually, a few of his friends asked if they could use his program to aid their class search, but Sullivan was hesitant to set it up for them—it would be a lot of work, and he was unsure if the program would work for multiple users. In the end, he offered to try anyway.

“[The program] kind of sat on the back burner for a little bit because I had good pick times for the next few semesters,” Sullivan said.

This changed when, during the summer before his junior year, a new website called eagleclasscheck.com was built by a senior. The website offered a similar service, allowing students to enter a course code that would then cause the program to email you if the class was open. Impressed by this program, Sullivan challenged himself to see if he could do something similar.

He first examined the server side of the program, which looks at the BC public course information page, and then built a small API website after talking to his friend, Richard Lucas, BC ’15, who works in mobile app development with Android. Adam Nelsen, a colleague of Lucas’s, also worked with them to make all of the graphic design features.

“I had dabbled in iPhone development but had never done anything major,” Sullivan said. “So when I told Richard my idea we decided to collaborate together, and he helped me with some of the design aspects.”

After submitting the app to the App Store, Apple suggested the creators make a few changes. Once they made the alterations, they re-submitted the app at a date slightly later than planned, which actually worked in their favor.

“It was probably better that way because [the app] wasn’t fully polished, and it gave us a little more time to work through some of the bugs,” Sullivan said. “Now we’ve gotten better and have built more safeguards and checks that let us know if something’s not working.”

Since then, the app has grown immensely. Now, EagleScribe has 4,500 unique users and 7,682 total classes subscribed. It has become so popular that this November Sullivan faced a bit of a road bump when the program crashed for a few hours due to the high number of users. But with the help of the BC IT team, the app was back up and running shortly.

As for the future of EagleScribe after he graduates, Sullivan is confident that the program will continue to thrive.

“As long as the technique we are using is still working and it’s able to run on its own then the program can continue,” Sullivan said. “We have purposely kept things simple because of this, and we might add things here and there, but overall we want to keep it simple.”

Sullivan has a job lined up related to the enterprise side of technology and would like to continue to do iPhone and coding work on the side as a hobby.

“I really think that EagleScribe has taught me a lot, and it’s been a good learning experience learning about the nuances of the iPhone world,” Sullivan said.

Future improvements for the program include possibly allowing users to see how many spots are left in a class and marketing the program toward graduate students.

“I’m glad to have had a positive impact on students that I know or don’t know,” Sullivan said. “I really have enjoyed my time at BC and I never could have known exactly what it would be like coming in, but it’s been a very fulfilling experience in ways I couldn’t even anticipate.”

Featured Image by Shannon Kelly / Heights Editor

January 29, 2017