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The SU student who created "salisbury analytics"


Isaac Dugan, an SU junior majoring in Computer Science, created salisbury analytics, a website which makes academic information easily accessible. Image courtesy of Colin McEvers.

Transparent access to academic data is a service which Isaac Dugan, a Salisbury University junior majoring in Computer Science, has been providing through salisbury analytics, a website he created in Jan. 2023. In the past month, he has met with various student organizations and attended the Student Government Association Forum on March 3 in an attempt to further promote what the site has to offer. 


salisbury analytics gives users access to a wide range of information about the institution, including the grades earned in each course, student GPAs, dropout rates and course reviews. Additionally, the “gullGPT” feature employs AI technology to provide immediate answers to users with SU related questions.


"[The website] collects information about the university and that can be information about professors, or grades, or more general information about the student population," Dugan said.


Dugan took inspiration from PlanetTerp, a website which showcases an array of academic information for the University of Maryland. He communicated with the creators of the website and began developing salisbury analytics for the SU community.


At the beginning and end of each semester, updated university data needs to be added to the site, which can be a time-consuming process. There are also expenses involved.


The Public Information Act allows citizens to request and obtain the information which Dugan is making available on the website, yet the process of pulling the data from various sources ends up costing a total of roughly $300 per year.


Although salisbury analytics offers users a $3 per month premium tier subscription, only one person has subscribed, meaning that Dugan spends hundreds of dollars from his own pockets upkeeping the website.


"There's currently two subscribers; one is me, so I guess I get $3 a month from it, so basically that doesn't cover my costs," Dugan said. "I think the biggest thing, though, is obviously the satisfaction of providing this for the school, and also employers are very interested in someone who's built software that people are using, as a college student.



Dugan scrolls through the salisbury analytics website. Image courtesy of Colin McEvers.

Since he began developing salisbury analytics, he has been implementing new elements to gradually enhance the website. GullGPT is one of the most resourceful features, making information that may take a while to find on the SU website immediately accessible to users in English and other languages.


"The goal with that is sometimes it's hard to find stuff on the website," Dugan said. "Sometimes [information] is three or four clicks deep, and if you're not familiar with the website, you would not really ever find it."


"So this, it's not perfect, but usually it can find the information you're looking for."


The skillset needed to code in the way Dugan has in his development of salisbury analytics came from both foundational knowledge he garnered from Computer Science courses as well as specific functions he had to learn independently.


Though maintaining the website is a major commitment, he has found the jump from class assignments to a large-scale software project exciting and useful. He hopes that the institution views the website as a resourceful service that can be put to positive uses.


"I think this isn't just for students, I think this is useful information for staff and for university leaders," Dugan said. "I hope that they have tools to visualize data like this that they can use, but if this is the best they've got, then they should be using it."


So far, the page has garnered over 150,000 site visits and increases by about 5,000 visits each week. This semester, Dugan has been meeting with student organizations and administrative members of SU to spread word of the website, yet he does not intend upon relinquishing the page's independence.


"I've started to interact with some more like university organizations, but it's definitely been from the point where if it's the choice between keeping control or getting more help, I'd rather keep control," he said. "I can maintain that this is not something that the university would be able to defund or shut down or say, 'Hey club, stop doing this' or whatever."


Instagram: @salisburyanalytics


 

By COLIN McEVERS

Gull Life Editor

Featured image courtesy of Colin McEvers


Contributor: Meghan Bean







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