Remember when we told you about how Penn Course Review had improved its internal structure by adding in a better search function and other fancy new doodads? Unfortunately, it seems that the new system is fraught with many alleged errors, like listing professors under wrong courses and giving other false information. That ain’t right! And yet, these concerns shed light on an even larger issue. The entire concept of PCR is kind of… Well, how much do you value the opinions of other undergraduates when forming your own academic decisions? Professor Max Cavitch of the English Department summed up these concerns quite nicely in an email sent out to English majors today:
A new and “improved” beta version of the Penn Course Review went on-line today. DO NOT USE IT. It is FULL of errors. For example, dozens and dozens of courses in the English Department alone are listed under the wrong professor and/or course title.
The Dean of the College has been notified of this fiasco and will hopefully pull the site by the end of the day. In any case, no student or faculty member should under any circumstances be using PCR. Students should be talking directly to their academic advisors in the College and to their major and minor advisors in English (and any other major or minor programs you’re connected with) for sound and accurate advice about courses.
Also, please write directly to SAS College Dean Prof. Dennis DeTurck and to Director of Academic Advising Dr. Janet Tighe to demand that PCR be mothballed unless and until its accuracy can be proven and it can be managed responsibly. In its current form it is an insult to all Penn students and faculty.
While the claims made about the incorrect information on the new site may or may not be true, Cavitch’s point about the validity of PCR itself stands: How is it fair- for professors and for ourselves- to allow collective judgements about a class to have any weight when considering our academic careers?
Granted, sometimes taking “The Easy Class” to fulfill the University’s many requirements is the quick and dirty solution, but your undergraduate career at Penn is based mostly on the notion of broadening your academic horizons. To boil it down further: take what you want to take!
In the end, then, PCR is neither “good” nor “bad,” but simply “out there and ripe for misuse.” Appreciate all the work that went into the new PCR site (It looks great and runs wonderfully!), but take the content with a grain of salt.
This post has been altered from its original version.