CrissCross: The Columbia of the Future
Written by Bwog Staff
With classes starting soon, everyone will realize they have to switch Core sections and they’ll spam your Facebook groups with promises of baked goods, sexual favors, and loving you forever. Or maybe you just wish there were a faster way to go about trading unrelated classes. A brave duo, Adam Jaffe and Ilker Eraslan, both SEAS ’16, have created a solution to the problem: CrissCross, which matches classes you are willing to trade with classes you want.
Bwog: What prompted you to design the website? Have you done anything like this before?
Adam and Ilker: We had the idea for something like this during first semester freshman year, but we really noticed it was a problem this summer. A lot of people wanted to switch CC sections, so they were posting what they had and what they wanted in the Class of 2016 Facebook group. When that happens, you have to just hope that the right person sees your post before it gets buried, and there’s really no way to coordinate three- or four-person swaps like we can do with CrissCross.
Neither of us had ever done something like CrissCross before. Ilker spent the summer in San Fransisco learning how to code, and Adam spent the summer working at a startup, so it was the first time we had the skills to build something like this.
B: What was the most challenging aspect of making the app?
Probably either getting the aesthetics right or marketing it to students. It takes a long time to come up with visuals that are simple but not cheap-looking, and it’s a pain in the ass to arrange things on a computer screen exactly the way you want them to be arranged. Marketing is pretty hard, too. To get people to sign up, you have to convince them that it works, and the best way to do that is to find them a trade. But you can only do that if other people are also signed up. So it’s kind of a chicken-and-egg situation.
B: How many successful matches so far?
CrissCross isn’t SSOL, so we can’t actually execute a swap when people find it, and there’s no way to know if the participants actually follow through on a trade after someone clicks the Contact button. So we don’t know how many successful trades there have been in the past. What we can do is track how many trades are possible right now, and that number is a little bit more than 20, with over 50 people affected.
Will the wait list make this obsolete?
Before we started to actually build CrissCross, we contacted the Registrar’s Office and asked just that. They told us that the Wait List won’t have an automatic enrollment feature, which means that you will still have to add and drop classes manually. If that’s the case, then the Course Swap feature will be viable. That said, we are already growing in other directions, so CrissCross won’t be obsolete even if the University implements changes that make the Course Swap feature unfeasible.
B: Are people using their school passwords so you can HACK ALL OF COLUMBIA?!?
Our database encrypts everyone’s password, so we have no way of knowing what they are. But that’s also what people planning to hack Columbia would say.
B: Change a current course’s name to a sexual innuendo. Go.
Advanced Programming with Python.
B: What’s next?
You can now use CrissCross to buy and sell textbooks, which is a big step forward and a feature we hope people love. We’re also working on other exciting features and plan to roll them out over the course of semester. Our goal is to create a platform that connects students across the University and makes our lives much easier. We’re always open to feedback. Our email addresses for support and feedback are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org