Pick-A-Prof Now Using Facebook API To See Who Is Taking Classes With You

Posted Nov 30, 2006

During my college years, I felt that the reasons why you received certain grades were based on two factors: how hard you worked on the class and how uptight your professor was or wasn’t. Pick-A-Prof aims to help you solve one of those problems by providing professor ratings and the ability to network with other people in your classes using through Facebook using the Facebook API available on Facebook Developers.

“Research has shown that students who take classes and study with their friends are more likely to attend class and get better grades. Our goal is to encompass both the academic and social aspects of class selection to provide students with everything they need to succeed. This was an obvious step towards this goal,” stated Chris Chilek, Co-founder of Pick-A-Prof. Pick-A-Prof displays statistics of classes being signed up for at your University. Pick-A-Prof also displays the proportion of the grade distribution for those classes in its previous semesters.

Since Pick-A-Prof’s inception, over 250,000 relationships have been formed and the Facebook integration aspect of the website is expected to enable the website to grow beyond over its current approximation of 1 million Pick-A-Prof users count.

In regards to the Facebook integration, John Cunningham, another Pick-A-Prof co-founder stated: “Merging the two most frequently used methods of class selection seems like a natural fit. The new service will really help students find courses they can excel in”

After reading the press release for this website on Yahoo! Finance, I decided to give the website a try and provide you some details and opinions about what the site is like. The first feature I noticed was the navigation system of the internal pages of Pick-A-Prof:

There are four tabs: Home, My Schedule, Prof & Courses, and Book Exchange. The Home page tab allows you to view your account information such as your school associations, login information, and personal information such as your address. The Home page tab also allows you to display your Facebook friends who are signed up in the same classes as you and who isn’t signed up in the same classes as you. For this feature to work, you have to fill out the your schedule under the My Schedule tab.

Under the Profs & Courses tab, there is a Browse Courses tab which displays the acronyms for the classes that are available at your University:

I believe that these courses are pulled from the Facebook courses database list. When you select a certain course, the user interface allows you to automatically add it to your Pick-A-Prof schedule. When you put your mouse over the icons in the screenshot below, a pull-down menu asks you which semester you would like to add that course into for your My Schedule.

In the Write Reviews section, Pick-A-Prof allows you to find your professors through search. To test this out, I did a search on “Obst.” Norman Obst is the funny, yet informative Intro to Macroeconomics teacher I had at Michigan State. Here is the details from his profile:

All reviews that contain profanity are monitored by Pick-A-Prof administrators and removed out of respect for the professors.

The last feature that I’ll point out on Pick-A-Prof is the Book Exchange. Through Pick-A-Prof, users can compare prices that is gathered from many mainstream websites, sell books, and even reserve books at select campus book stores.

After reviewing all of the above features, I would have to say that Pick-A-Prof is the greatest product using Facebook Developer API. The more I was writing about this site, I wished I could have used such a website during my college years. Pick-A-Prof’s slogan should be, “I saved a ton of money on my books by switching to Pick-A-Prof.”