Middlebury

Course Catalog Admin

The online Course Catalog provides a search and browse interface to the course information recorded in Banner, as well as provides a schedule-planning tool for students. Course information from this system feeds to the main websites for the department course/section listings, faculty profile course listings, and search results.

How 'Catalogs' are defined

In the Course catalog system we have defined an independent "catalog" for each school. This catalog mapping does not have a strong definition in Banner, but is defined in the catalog application by two pieces of data: the SCBCRSE_COLL_CODE for courses, and a wild-card match on the SSBSECT_TERM_CODE for sections.

The term-code matching is done by a configurable list of matches for each catalog. For example, Middlebury Undergrad terms are currently defined to be any that match %10, %20, or %90 (where '%' is the wild-card).

In addition to linking the terms to the catalog, the configuration also allows for a 'term code string' to be used for displaying a compact version of the section. This 'term code string' should match that used when building in the Active Directory class-groups. For the Middlebury Undergrad terms these are 'W' for '%10', 'S' for '%20', and 'F' for '%90'.

During the nightly synchronization with Banner, all term-codes are matched against the wild-card list and added to a derived table linking them to a particular catalog. After the derived table is populated, terms that have no sections are removed from it as well as terms that are manually disabled. Only the terms still listed in this derived table will be visible and searchable in the Course Catalog system.

Managing Terms

Registrars can manually enable and disable terms using the administration screen. This screen lists all term-codes that match for each 'catalog' and shows which ones are enabled or disabled.

A common need is to hide upcoming terms during the Banner-roll process since newly rolled terms are just a copy of the previous term and have not yet had any data cleanup.

  1. Before the roll, disable the upcoming term or terms.
  2. Perform the roll process.
  3. Perform initial data-entry/cleanup.
  4. Re-enable the upcoming term or terms to allow them to be searched and display on the website.


At this time enabling/disabling terms will take effect during the next nightly sync with Banner.

Formatting Course Descriptions

Because Banner is unable to render HTML text in BannerWeb and INB, we chose a text markup format that uses asterisks and slashes to indicate bold and italics text. This format allows descriptions to be readily legible as plain-text while also allowing conversion to HTML markup. The format is documented at and can be tested with our Catalog Markup Testing form.

Troubleshooting

General

  • The course listings in the Drupal site attached to instructor profiles and course-list nodes are simply displays of the data in the Searchable Course Catalog. If errors are noticed in Drupal (such as a course missing), check the Searchable Course Catalog to see if the same problem is found there.

New Programs

  • If courses are not showing up, the 'SCBCRSE_COLL_CODE' might not have been added to the virtual 'catalog' grouping the program is a part of as described above in How 'Catalogs' are defined.
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