Website sends class opening alerts to your cell

Santa Monica College has budget restrictions and heavy budget cuts that result in fewer classes for more than 30,000 students, reducing course offerings.

Alertification, a website launched early this May, allows students to receive an alert through text or email as soon as a space becomes available in a previously filled class.

The website was built by University of California, Los Angeles graduate Brian Roizen and his younger brother, undergraduate Robert Roizen.

Alertification is capable of working with nearly any school's website. Users enter a specific URL to their school's course listing, and are navigated to a page where they can then click on a desired class and receive an alert once a selected class has a status change.

"I made the website actually with UCLA in mind," said Brian Roizen. "I used it when I was an undergrad. I made it just for myself and my brother."

After making the site available to a few classmates, friends from other colleges started asking if they could receive the alerts too.

"The problem was, I had just made it for UCLA and it was very difficult to make it work at SMC and every subsequent college, so I rewrote it, so it would work everywhere," Brian Roizen said.

It took the brothers about two weeks to make Alertification for UCLA, Brian Roizen said. In order to make it more general, the UCLA version was scrapped, and the entire system was reworked, which took six months.

Alertification is set up so students can easily navigate the site, and if problems are encountered, there is a video that walks students through the process. Brian Roizen also suggests students to send feedback and is open to suggestions to improve the website.

Naomi Robin, a second-year student at SMC who plans to transfer to UCLA, found out about Alertification through Facebook sharing. She said that she was so impressed with the program that she initially wanted to keep it to herself, but eventually suggested it to her friends.

"It's really hard to find classes here at SMC, so to finally have something that helps [students] get the classes we need is heavenly — the best thing I could have asked for," Robin said.

According to Alertification's databases, about 20 colleges use the site and many students have learned about it through word-of-mouth, said Brian Roizen.

Brian Roizen said he hopes that the site expands to more schools in general because the frustration of checking on something periodically is a problem that college students experience, but very few people think of automating it.

Alertification may begin charging for use, Brian Roizen said, but will remain free for about two more months.