Yale University censors popular course evaluation site

Lauren Williams's picture
Friday, January 17, 2014

Yale Bluebook+, a student-created mock course scheduling tool with consolidated course evaluations and ratings, was blocked on the internal university Internet on Monday by the administration, citing non-permissible use of Yale’s data and name. The block came less than a week after Gabriel Olszewski, the university registrar, raised the university’s concerns with the site in an email to the site’s founders, computer science majors Peter Xu and Harry Yu. Aside from its course scheduling function, YBB+ featured consolidated course evaluation data presented in a color-coded system. Users could also sort classes and professors according to the scores given by prior students.

“There was a design component used to present data in a way that was never intended, as voted by the faculty” Olszewski, who declined to specify the exact feature, said in a phone interview.

Yale grants access to course evaluation data only for current students of Yale College. In the email sent last Tuesday, Olszewski pointed out that YBB+ provided access also to other Yale students login credentials and that the site “averaged evaluations,” according to an opt-ed written by Peter Xu in today’s Yale Daily News.

“Blocking sites that Yale disapproves of reminds us more of China’s Great Firewall than one of the world’s leading research institutions,” Xu, who was not immediately available for a comment, wrote

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