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Student creates “Olerate” extension to view, create professor ratings


Prior to the registration period for interim 2021 and spring 2021 classes, Kevin Nelson ’22 programmed a Google Chrome extension called “Olerate” that integrates the popular website “Rate My Professors” with St. Olaf’s Student Information System (SIS). The extension displays professors’ ratings and links on “Rate My Professors” on SIS once a student has downloaded the extension onto their computer. 

Nelson said that he decided to create the Olerate extension when a girl that he had a crush on suggested the idea. In an attempt to impress her, Nelson spent 35 hours programming the extension using coding programs such as VSCode, javascript, CSS and HTML. 

Nelson created Olerate as one fun project among many that he has worked on which he “thought would be hits but never became popular.” These other projects include a site in which an individual can browse what food is available at the caf that day, a site for a hardware design class, a site to help people coordinate where they are sitting in the caf, a site for the water polo club to remember the names of members and an app to help St. Olaf students remember each other’s names. 

Olerate is open-sourced on Github, and Nelson invites anyone who wants to contribute to join the project. 

Nelson said that he has received “a lot of amazing responses from my friends” and that students and professors have told him “how much they love the extension and how useful it is.” 

However, in response to professors’ opinions, Nelson said that he thinks “professors with good ratings will like this extension, and those that have bad ratings will despise the extension.” 

After going through the process of trial and error and experiencing failure with other projects, the success of Olerate has shown Nelson the importance of determination and continued effort. 

“It’s extremely satisfying to be able to have written some code that is actually being used by other people,” Nelson said.