Course Catalog Meeting Notes 2009-08-14

Revision as of 11:02, 24 August 2009 by Adam Franco (talk | contribs) (Added link to the next meeting.)

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This page contains notes from the August 14th, 2009 meeting of the Course Catalog team.

In attendance:

  • Adam Franco
  • Janis Audet
  • Bob Cluss
  • Jeff Rehbach

Decisions made and conclusions reached


Human-readable prerequisite text will continue to be written into descriptions rather than trying to convert the complex prerequisite format from Banner into a student-understandable form.

Course/Section Titles

Sections should have the course title as the first line, then the section title as the second line rather than concatenating them on the same line.

Description Formatting

The description-editing work-flow will be much easier if italic and bold formatting are added to the descriptions when they are entered into Banner rather than as a separate process external to Banner. Since Banner does not support rendering of HTML markup and italic and bold are the only formatting needed, a simplified markup will be used to indicate italic and bold text. This simplified markup will look okay in Banner, be easy to type, and will allow conversion into HTML tags for display on the web.

Documentation of the text-markup format and a form for testing it out can be found at: http://chisel.middlebury.edu/~afranco/catalog_markup/

Section Types in Search

The Search Form should by default limit to Lecture and Seminar section types, hiding labs, screenings, and discussions. This would bring a basic search more in line with expectations and allow easier browsing of results in departments with many lap and discussion sections. Check-boxes would allow searching for various types of sections.

Topics to discuss further

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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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.
  • Can requirements get longer titles in Banner? Eg. "North American Culture" rather than just NOR.
  • Archiving: What will be our archiving strategy for "The Catalog". Is a PDF export from Drupal sufficient? An HTML export?

Next Actions


  • Talk to Mike S. to find out how term-availability is changed-over in Banner.
  • Make mock-ups of some department pages to give a concrete starting point for information-layout discussions.
  • Investigate proper usage of SSBSECT_SSTS_CODE to ensure that canceled sections are not listed.
  • Make the following changes to the Catalog application:
    • Add enrollment info to section detail and search results.
    • Limit search results to lectures, seminars.
    • Put section titles on a new-line in search results.

Janis (and Renee? and LeRoy?):

  • Determine the work-flow for adding descriptions into Banner for the current year.
  • Add descriptions for 09/10 courses and sections into Banner.
  • Determine the work-flow for adding descriptions into Banner in future years.


  • Investigate other sources of help for adding descriptions into Banner for the initial data population.


Go over the following pages (and their sub-pages) and come up with preliminary thoughts on whether these can be replaced with links into the handbook or elsewhere, short blurbs with links to extended info elsewhere, or if they need to be maintained in their current format:

  • Course Catalog - Section I: About Middlebury
    • Facilities
    • History of Middlebury College
    • Knowledge Without Boundaries
    • Middlebury College Mission Statement
    • Middlebury Today
    • Middlebury's Graduate and Specialized Programs
    • Programs of Summer and Off-Campus Study
    • The Goals of a Middlebury Education
    • The Structure of Middlebury's Curriculum
    • Undergraduate Admissions
  • Course Catalog - Section II: Academic Programs
    • College Writing Program
    • Courses (by Division) - This will be our new mix of static program descriptions and the feed of course listing from Banner.
    • Courses of InstructionCurriculum
  • Course Catalog - Section III: General Information
    • Administration and Staff 2008-2009
    • Board of Trustees
    • College Academic Calendars
    • Faculty Named and Endowed Funds for Students and Faculty
    • Student Finances
    • Student Financial Services

For each of the pages, we need to answer the following particular questions:

  • Is this information (or class of information) that should exist in one place on the Middlebury site and won't change frequently?
  • Does this information exist elsewhere on the Middlebury site?
  • Can the information on this page be combined with another page to more clearly communicate to or guide your audience?