Course Catalog Meeting Notes 2009-09-07

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This page contains notes for the September 7th, 2009 meeting of the Course Catalog team.

In attendance:

  • Joe Antonioli
  • Janis Audet
  • Renee Brown
  • Bob Cluss
  • Adam Franco
  • LeRoy Grahm
  • Jason Mittell
  • Jeff Rehbach


Spring-Semester section work-flow

The vast majority of this meeting was spent discussing the work-flow issues related to getting Spring-semester section information into Banner in a way that makes it available to students when they are planning their courses for the next academic year and registering for Fall-semester courses.

  • At the current print-catalog deadline in February, this information is about 90% accurate and is compiled by departments as free-form text (for the print-catalog) and on paper (for teaching-load determination), but has not been entered into Banner.
  • The current process of "rolling over" sections into new semesters involves copying all sections from the previous year's term, then a large amount of weeding of sections not recurring and data entry of new courses. It is not an automatic process.
  • It is not feasible to "roll over" the upcoming spring courses and weed/add them at the same as the fall courses due to the amount of manual work in the current process.

Several solutions of unknown feasibility were offered that will need more discussion and evaluation:

Upcoming notes in free-form text on department pages

Rather than changing work-flows to get data into Banner sooner, departments could maintain a free-form text page on their website that describes their intended future-semester offerings. This would replace the print-catalog submission.

This option would not require changes to existing work-flows for Banner entry, but would require more website maintenance work by department coordinators.

More automated roll-over based on a web-form

A web-form could be created that lists all courses ever taught in a department. By February departments would be required to go through that list and check a box for each course indicating if it will be taught in Fall, Winter, Spring, both Fall and Spring, or not at all for the upcoming year. Departments would also need to choose the instructor from a list of faculty if the instructor is known. At the time of "roll-over" the data from this form could be applied as an automatic filter to populate sections rather than the sections simply being a copy of those from the previous term. In the roll-over, sections would be populated with an "unknown" location and meeting time and either any specified instructors or "STAFF" for the instructor.

This option would alleviate much of the manual weeding work that is required in the current roll-over process. This would allow the "90% accurate" data to become available much sooner and slowly get improved as changes are manually made, brand-new courses are populated, approvals are finalized and sections are scheduled.

This option could also allow the elimination of paper-based and free-form-text submissions of this information and make most of the "catalog publishing" process automatic after that one web-form submission.

The challenge with this option is that we do not currently know what is involved in the "roll-over" process or what the feasibility of modifying or adding to that process will be. This option would also require the creation of a custom banner web-form for departments to submit this data.

Additional Notes

Additional notes are italicized in-line in the Agenda section below.


Workflow for description entry

  • Jeff: Has additional help for description entry been found?
  • Janis: What instructions need to be passed off to additional help?
    Much of the bulk description entry for Fall 09 has been entered by Janis. Spring 09 descriptions will get entered later. Longer-term workflow TBD. --Franco, Adam 18:34, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Descriptions are being entered into SCADETL. --Franco, Adam 18:36, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Pages for department sites

Three types of pages are likely needed for the department sites. Some mock-ups will help to visualize these types of pages and the information that might be contained on them. We will need to decide if we need to have all three types of pages or if a different way of presenting the data might be preferred.

Program description and major requirements

This will be done as a block of text in Drupal. Whether it lives in a "Catalog" part of the site and is redisplayed on the department page or vice versa is yet to be determined.

View a Requirements mock-up with the following things in mind:

  • This will be free-form text edited in Drupal.


Courses offered by the department

This will be a list of the titles and descriptions of courses taught within a period of time (i.e. upcoming year and previous 4 years). In addition to the titles and descriptions, a list of the terms this course has been taught (e.g. F06, F07, F08, S08, S09, S10) will provide a view of the periodicity of each course. This listing might be ordered by course-code (as in the catalog) to display the progression throughout the major.

View a Courses mock-up with the following things in mind:

  • Course-titles link to the detail-view of this course in the catalog (these links work in the mock-up).
  • Except for the first class, the semester-codes listed are not accurate. I just made them up.
  • Semester codes link to the detail-view of the first section for a course in that semester (these links only work on the first course). Another option for these links is for them to go to the department's section-listing for that semester.
  • Descriptions from cross-listed courses will be shown in-line rather than dummy-lipsum text.



  • Where should the semester-codes link to?
    If there isn't an obvious place to link to, we don't necessarily need them to be links. --Franco, Adam 18:45, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Should cross-listed department codes be displayed by the title or just the current department code?
    Keep both. --Franco, Adam 18:45, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Where should the requirement links go to?
    All courses fulfilling that requirement seems reasonable. --Franco, Adam 18:45, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Sections offered in a given semester

This would default to the "current" semester and show a listing of the sections with titles, descriptions, instructors teaching them, etc. Links to the next and previous semesters would be available from this view.

View a Semester Sections mock-up with the following things in mind:

  • All links should work.
  • The content in this view is the same as the search-results in the catalog application



  • Should lab, discussion, etc sections be displayed in this view, or just lecture/seminar sections?
    Required labs or discussions should be grouped with lecture sections so that it is more obvious what the time commitment for a course will be. --Franco, Adam 18:40, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Should we list more semesters in the menu on the left?
    It is potentially useful to have a free-form text-page for "Upcoming" semesters where information that is not yet in banner can be noted. --Franco, Adam 18:40, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Should this listing have the current search-results format, or something different?
    Not discussed. --Franco, Adam 18:42, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Redundant/extra fields for search

  • Is Department redundant on the search UI? For undergrad, it seems to be the same list as Subject with different word order.
    We will get rid of subject and division. --Franco, Adam 18:41, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Is Division useful on the search UI?
    Division is not needed. --Franco, Adam 18:41, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Can requirements get longer titles in Banner? Eg. "North American Culture" rather than just NOR.


What will be our archiving strategy for "The Catalog". Is a PDF export from Drupal sufficient? An HTML export?

Not discussed. --Franco, Adam 18:42, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Progress of existing catalog content review

Go over any process questions or other issues that have come up in the review of existing online course-catalog content.

Not discussed. --Franco, Adam 18:42, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Next Actions


  • Get access to SCADETL and add descriptions to the course-catalog application.
  • Look into the data that indicates that discussions or labs are required and try to add a representation of that information to the section listings.
  • Remove the subject and division fields from the search interface.
    Completed on 10/1
  • Reformat the search results to make them two-columns.
    Completed on 10/1
  • Continue other aspects of building out the course-catalog application.


  • Continue entering descriptions for Fall 09 courses.

LeRoy, Janis, Renee

  • Discuss work-flow options related to section population.

LeRoy, Jeff, Adam, Mike S.

  • Investigate what is involved on the back end of the "roll-over" process to determine feasibility of improved roll-over data population. (Adam will schedule this meeting)
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