As college students nationwide return to campuses this fall, many will go through the frustrating process of adjusting their class schedules. However, a new software innovated by two computer science students might provide a solution to the growing pains of class registration.

While students may face difficulty registering for classes for a number of different reasons, including, but not limited to, poor academic performance and unpaid fees, one of the most common issues students have is trying to sign up for courses that have already reached capacity. This is where Aaron Bloch and Ben Khakshoor come in.

Bloch and Khakshoor are computer science students at the University of Maryland, College Park, who developed CourseHunter, an online platform that notifies students when initially-full classes have seats available.

During the second semester of their freshman year, Bloch and Khakshoor were unable to register for an Introduction to Computer Science course. Like their fellow students on a waitlist, the two checked UMD’s online registration system every day, only to find no open spots.

The inconvenient experience inspired them: What if there was software that could constantly check for open seats and as soon as there was an available spot, students would be notified?

Almost immediately, they discovered their friends were also experiencing trouble registering for classes, whether it was to get into a full class or switch to a class with a different professor. In response, Bloch and Khakshoor created a Facebook page to field requests from students, and word spread about a system to ease them through course registration pains. Initially, CourseHunter was created for personal use where Khakshoor operated the system remotely through his server stationed at his home in New York. Khakshoor was able to legally extract the UMD online registration software, which contains public information. This technique is known as “scraping,” or extracting information from websites.

However, with increasing demand from their peers, Khakshoor realized entering requests manually was a nuisance. That’s when Bloch and Khakshoor knew they could innovate something unique and beneficial for students. They reinvented CourseHunter as an automated system. A “patch” onto a failing registration system, CourseHunter is a “clean experience,” making it easy to search for classes by professor, subject, and other criteria, Bloch said. The software is available for students not only at UMD, but also George Washington University. It is expected to eventually operate at other schools such as Queens College, Brooklyn College, and Drexel University. Each school would have their own CourseHunter page synced to their respective registrar.

Currently, Bloch and Khakshoor are working to enable CourseHunter to replace university class registration systems, along with other features such as course-swapping among students. Additionally, the software will eventually be able to sync course requirements with class registration to assist students. Bloch said this function would be “a virtual assistant to registering for your classes" and “maximize class utility.” For example, instead of dropping a class, a student would have the option to transfer his or her spot to another student who might need that class to graduate. The system will also allow for multi-way switching of courses among students.

Although legally permissible, pioneers before Bloch and Khakshoor who tried to invent a way to navigate class registration deficiencies ran into difficulty. Four years ago, a University of Central Florida student was given academic probation for creating an online site that notified students when a spot in a certain class was available.

If successful, CourseHunter might be the new frontier in improving college course registration nationally.