Chris M. Lindsey

Father, Husband, Public Servant, Web Developer

Category: UGA Key Page 1 of 2

Another Article about UGAKey.com

The Red and Black has a followup article about the Koofers acquisition of UGAKey.com, a startup that I co-founded.  I was really heartened to see this quote from a UGA student:

“It’s definitely different and I’m still getting used to it,” said Lois Kim, a freshman from Suwanee. “But Koofers has a lot more on it than the Key did and I think it’s a good change.”

As I told the Red and Black, we wanted to improve the access students had to information that would help their academic career, and I think Koofers exceeds that goal.

Red and Black on the Key Acquisition

The University of Georgia student newspaper, the Red and Black, wrote up the UGAKey.com acquisition.  I really appreciated this from Koofers:

“UGAKey.com is one of the most widely used sites in this category, particularly for the course registration process,” Hatfield said. “It is a popular tool with solid data.”

Koofers Press Release on Key

Koofers published their own press release about the acquisition here.

UGAKey.com Announces Acquisition by Koofers

UGAKey.com Announces Acquisition by Koofers

Georgia Alumni Thank Users, Ensure Grade Data for Future

February 14, 2011

University of Georgia students have a new resource for choosing their courses and professors.

UGAKey.com, a website containing grades for most University of Georgia courses since 1999, will now be available from Koofers.

The eleven years of grade data previously available on UGAKey.com, along with several thousand syllabi, will now be accessible through Koofers.com, along with course textbook listings, professor reviews, and other services that Koofers brings to over 2,000 campuses nationwide.

UGAKey.com was developed by UGA alumni Chris M. Lindsey ‘08, Noah Mink ‘08, and Paul Ruddle ‘09. An original version of The Key was available on a Black Tie Party website in March of 2006, while UGAKey.com officially opened its doors on August 11, 2007.

“We created UGAKey.com to provide a service to UGA students,” said Chris Lindsey, UGAKey.com co-founder. “We’ve had a great time building and maintaining the site. But, as we’ve graduated from UGA, we’ve found less time to add the new features to the site that we’ve always dreamed of. Koofers will provide more great services to UGA students, at no cost.”

Fellow co-founder Paul Ruddle added, “We want to thank all the UGA students who have made UGAKey.com an invaluable part of their course registrations for more than five years. We know Koofers will continue to provide the important information you’ve come to expect from us, and we look forward to seeing what exciting new things they have in store.”

UGAKey.com Founders,

Chris M. Lindsey
Noah Mink
Paul Ruddle

About Koofers

Koofers, Inc. is a social learning company transforming higher education through student-driven, intercollegiate collaboration. Founded in 2008, Koofers empowers students to help each other learn by providing open and free access to: course materials, class and professor ratings, study aids and more.

UGA Key Moves Forward, Launches 2.0 with Syllabi and Speed

A side project that I love working on is the UGA Key, the the University of Georgia Online Course Review Book. UGA Key is an online grade database, containing the distribution for most courses’ grades over the past ten years.

Over three years ago, University of Georgia administrators decided that The Key (a long provided service to students) would no longer contain professor names, limiting its usefulness for UGA students.  Two friends and I resurrected The Key on a temporary website, maintaining the files that UGA previously published (one had been smart/enterprising enough to save all the previous data tables to a hard drive).  And then nearly two years ago, we opened a new website, UGAKey.com, to host a new version of The Key.  You can see the history of The Key here.

And today, we launched the second iteration of the UGA Key.

This second iteration, which I am calling UGA Key 2.0, was sorely needed.  The previous (first) version of UGA Key depended on a whole lot of javascript run inside the browser to function.  This provided some great functionality, but it took a long time to load and didn’t work on older or slower systems.  Another major problem was that the Key data was hosted on a different server than our own.  I don’t want to get into the details, but we were dependent on a separate web service keeping their API open and not having any downtime.  Plus, it was a pain to import new grades.  Not a great situation.

So I began working on a new version of The Key sometime in the past year (there have been a lot of starts and stops).  We put all the grade information in a database on our own server and began using an open source database front end to show that data.  We were even able to integrate a database of course syllabi that several groups at the University of Georgia had been working on.  We launched a beta of the new version in April.

And this past week I made a major breakthrough, fixing a sorting problem that was plaguing the grade data tables in the new version.  Incidentally, it also decreased the amount of time it takes a data table to show up in a web browser by about two-thirds (you have to remember to use the correct database structure and data formats- numerical versus variable characters in this case).

Over the weekend I worked on the design and style of the beta.  And last night (this morning, Eastern), I was comfortable enough to launch the new version and fulfill the promise I made on Twitter to launch this weekend.

This is really exciting event, and it’s also quite a relief.  But it isn’t the end by any means.  We still need to add as many course syllabi as we can find, and there are a few other tweaks that I would like to make.  I would also like to sell some advertising to Athens businesses and student groups, since the UGA Key is such an easy way to communicate with students (shameless plug – interested in reaching UGA students with your ads?).

Long live The Key!

UGA Key Has New Data

Just a quick note.  We upgraded the database over at the beta version of the UGA Key.  The Key now includes ten years worth of grade data (Fall 1999 to Spring 2009).  We also did a little bit of database optimization to fix a bug, which had the side effect of dropping the page load time by about 2/3- that’s the kind of side effect I like.  UGA Key News has the rest of the details.

Beta Test The New Version of UGA Key

For those students at the University of Georgia, myself and the other UGA Key developers are happy to announce a new “Beta Key.”  We are attempting to move to this new version of The Key sometime soon, but we want to make sure it doesn’t crash our server or have any major problems.

The Beta Key includes several new features, including course syllabi and professor search across all departments and data.  Course grades now include data from fall 2008, so the site contains grades since fall 1999 (that’s ten years of grades).  This new frontend at the Beta Key should be more accessible than the current Key (we’ve had several issues of students not being able to see Key data pages).  For more information, see the announcement post here.

Students can try out the Beta Key at http://beta.ugakey.com.

UGA Key Updated with Recent Grades

Just in case anyone on here is interested, UGA Key (the University of Georgia class grade database) has been updated with grades from fall 2007.

UGA Key is one of my pet projects, and I work on it with my good friends Noah Mink and Paul Ruddle. Updating it is a pain, but we got it finished recently, just in time for drop/add for University of Georgia students.

To keep up-to-date with UGA Key news, check out the UGA Key News page.

And to see my previous coverage on the UGA Key, see my UGA Key tag.

Column in the Red and Black Today

I’m proud to have a column in the Red and Black today, correcting some error’s in a letter yesterday.

A copy of the column is after the jump.

Read More

UGA Key in the Red and Black

UGAKey.com made it into the Red and Black today, the first day of printing for the new school semester. The article is here.

I am a little disappointed in the R&B in this story and some other issues, but I will post on those later today.

Right now, I am off to my first class of this new semester.

*UPDATE – August 17, 2007*

I’ve decided not to write another post about this sad article by the Red and Black. Every experience I have ever had with the R&B has been very disappointing. Suffice it to say, I will not work with the Red and Black again.

PS – At least Athens World gave us a good review. And it looks like they actually looked at the site before writing their post.

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