Jimmy Theis

NOV 28, 2011

Accelerating Rose-Hulman Schedule Lookup with Google Chrome

Yes, this is a Rose-Hulman specific post. If you're not a member of the campus community, this is not the post for you.

Mike Lester gets the credit for this idea. I wasn't aware of this feature in Chrome until he showed me. So thank him.

If you've been a student at Rose-Hulman for more than a day, you know all too well the blessing and curse that is the Schedule Lookup Page. We're all thankful that our college can be so close knit and trusting that we can share this information with each other, but we also generally don't like the schedule lookup page. I don't need to list complaints here, but one of the biggest ones is the number of clicks and the amount of typing it takes to find any one student's schedule.

The good news is that (because of Google Chrome's awesome features) we can speed up your boring old Schedule Lookup workflow and make you a real Rose-Hulman power user, and it will look something like this:

To accomplish this, we'll set up a Custom Search Engine in Google Chrome that will let us search the schedule database directly. It's pretty easy, so let's get started.

First, open the preferences pane in Chrome (⌘, on a Mac, or by clicking the wrench and selecting Preferences (Options on some systems).

Once inside the preferences pane, click the Manage Search Engines... button.

You should see two sets of search engine entries, Default search options and Other search engines. At the bottom of the Other search engines box, make a new entry as shown below:

(Here's the link to copy and paste into the third field)


Let's review what we just did. We created a new search engine that will be triggered when we enter the keyword schedule, followed by a space, in the address bar. This new search engine will display its name as Schedule Lookup. If you'd like to change either of these to something you like better, feel free; you won't hurt anything as long as you don't use a name that's already taken by another search engine.

IMPORTANT: If you're following these instructions and it's not Winter Quarter 2011, you're going to need to modify the URL pasted in the third field slightly: the six digit number after termcode= in the URL will need to be changed to the current Rose-Hulman term code (in the posted URL, it's 201220). If you're unfamiliar with how Rose-Hulman term codes work, here's a reminder (remember not to put a space in your actual term code):

2012 20
 |    | 
 |    |- 10 times the current term number (1 for fall, 2 for winter, 3 for spring)
 |- The calendar year this academic year ends in

Once you've made any changes, it's time to try this thing out. Close your preferences pane and type schedule someusername in your address bar. You should see it automatically switch to say Search Schedule Lookup, and you should land on the appropriate schedule page when you hit Enter. You should also be able to search for partial names, just like on the regular Schedule Lookup Page.

One more thing: While we're at it, let's solve one more annoying problem with the Schedule Lookup Page: the fact that you can't seem to get a link directly to your own schedule. Take the link below, change TERMCODE to the term code you figured out in the last section and USERNAME to the username you want to link to, and voilà! You've got a link directly to a schedule page.


EDIT: Will Anderson created a custom chrome search engine with even more functionality, hosted on his blog. If you're looking for more flexibility beyond what this post describes, check out his post.

EDIT FOR FIREFOX USERS: Tom Most created a GreaseMonkey Script that automatically makes schedule pages "bookmarkable" when you reach them from the schedule lookup search page. If you're a Firefox/GreaseMonkey user, check it out.