University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Course Catalogs, print, online, and content management

I'm interested in strategies that schools are using to merge and manage catalogs, specifically where getting rid of a print edition isn't really an option. We have a rather brutal workflow in place that consists of managing two web versions (live and future), and two sets of Word documents (100s of them, live and future) that are merged and sent in to be sucked into InDesign for print.

We have a good CMS, and I'm trying to come up with a decent, evolving way to manage the catalog more effectively. We can't just cut all current processes off and start over, and while I know I could get the CMS to output XML that could go straight into InDesign, we simply don't have time or resources to do that right now.

So, what are you doing? What have you found effective to reduce the workload on your Registrar, yet keep people happy. For what it's worth, we need to have a print version, an online version that will update annually (print is every 2 years), and we'll archive older versions somehow.

Views: 99

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Up until this year our process is quite similar to yours. The change we made this year was to put all those Word documents into the CMS (Cascade) broken down into one page per section and one page per course. The catalogue website then uses PHP to stitch those pieces into the pages we need for the site:
http://catalogue.vassar.edu

The department processes will keep working with Word documents, but this time when the copy is updated and approved the Registrar (and possibly a select few others) will enter the updates into the CMS. We'll take this year's catalogue and copy it for next year's edition. Then the Registrar can edit the current and next year's catalogue as needed.

To get it to print, we'll set a date for when all the edits need to be completed by, then export the content from the CMS as RTF documents, then send those to the typesetter to massage into the print file (InDesign).

The CMS is now the source of the information, but there's still a huge process that takes place by the departments outside the CMS. Some day we'll get things happy enough to connect all the courses to the scheduling information in Banner, but we're taking one baby step at a time.
One other thing -- by breaking down the content into smaller pieces we can use the content in other websites. Each department and program site can have the major requirements and courses listed -- we're just including the content from the catalogue. Sites stay as current as the catalogue.
We're discussing something similar here, and came to an identical workflow.

Did you consider the possibility of allowing the departments to edit directly in Cascade? We looked at it, and decided they were better off in Word docs too. (training + turnover seemed like too much). Was that the same conclusion you came to? Or was it fueled by something different?
I had someone trained to maintain the online catalog w/Cascade Server, but we're looking seriously at having her continue to maintain it via Word, then distill the sections to pdf, where they will be posted on the web and I will maintain the links via Cascade. In just a year of implementation for Cascade, some users have been slow/reluctant to use the cms, and few have become proficient.
Hi Ed!

Ouch. That stinks. If you could go back and start over, are there things you'd have done differently? Why do you think folks are reluctant to keep their portions up to date? Is it frustration with Cascade, or is it an insistence on doing it the old way?
We had a similar problem - 100's of independent word files, often multiple copies of the same course in different files, and a complex workflow.

We re-engineered this over the winter and for the most part have removed MS Word from the equation. A single record for each course is created in our cms that captures all the info (title, description, distribution/s, prerequisites, instructor, semester offered, etc - a host of metadata) and a workflow module helps move the courses through the various phases of the workflow. The resulting data all lives in tables which we use on our academic dept course listings, faculty pages, student course scheduler, for output for the printed catalog (we export to xml), for import into our Registrar's system, and a host of other places where we show course info.

At first there was a lot of negative pushback but at this point especially on the administrative side of things folks really love the system - it's removed a ton of busywork, reduced the complexity of gathering the curricular information, made it easier for the committees who oversee all this to keep their fingers on the state of the curriculum (no more giant folders full of paper), reduced workload in the Registrar's office, made reporting and statistics generation much easier, and removed a lot of the errors in course data that were impossible to reduce in the old system.

When I started on this project, it sounds like maybe I was in a similar position where you find yourself - I was told I could not radically change anything, I just had to help clean things up so there were fewer errors and less of a workload. I managed to demonstrate that to do that, we HAD to tackle some of the workflow and make demands for change on some of the groups involved. It was a bit of a fight but it's worked out well in the end.
We too are feeling the crunch of allocating funds where they are needed most. We're printing less this year and making more use of our web site. We're encouraging students to download the catalog and view it on their computers as opposed to getting a print version and using it for a door stop.

Larry Stroud
webmaster
North Arkansas College

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Sara Kisseberth posted a discussion

Archived magazine stories

Greetings,What are you all doing online with "old" magazine stories? Do you delete issues after so  many years? 5 years? 10? I'm torn between keeping all on for historical purposes or keeping just a few years online to simplify the site (ala Gerry McGovern.) Curious as to what you see best practices being.ThanksSara KisseberthBluffton Universitywww.bluffton.eduSee More
Jun 10
Erin Jorgensen posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit

The HighEdWeb 2020 Accessibility Summit is a one-day, online conference about digital accessibility in higher education happening June 25, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT.Join in to learn best practices, share stories and connect with your higher ed peers on topics including social media accessibility, web development, user experience and more. Sessions are designed to boost knowledge at every level, from accessibility beginners to technical experts. Conference registration is $25, with…See More
May 29
Erin Jorgensen is now a member of University Web Developers
May 29
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Annual Conference - ONLINE

October 19-20, 2020https://2020.highedweb.org/#HEWeb20     Join us ONLINE for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. In 2020, the Conference will be held completely online, offering multiple tracks of streamed presentations, live…See More
May 3
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Throughout April, we're hosting webcasts exploring how colleges and universities across North America are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Register for the series today! https://bit.ly/2xsXhK9"
Apr 13
Christelle Lachapelle is now a member of University Web Developers
Apr 6
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Download our latest white paper to learn how the demographics of today’s higher ed learners are shifting, and how schools can adapt to meet the needs of these new learners. https://bit.ly/2wTKdgB"
Mar 31
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join our next webcast with Amrit Ahluwalia from The EvoLLLution to learn about the new "modern learner" in higher education. https://bit.ly/2UuDh2I"
Mar 30
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"As we ride out the latest developments and impact of the coronavirus, there's no better time than now to learn the three Bs of crisis planning. http://bit.ly/2ITVkc2"
Mar 16
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Is your college or university prepared to meet the challenges that come with disasters and emergencies like the coronavirus? Learn how your CMS can help. http://bit.ly/2TUZUM8"
Mar 12
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Can’t afford the time and money to launch a comprehensive guided pathways model? Register for our FREE webcast to learn tricks for simulating a digital guided pathways experience."
Feb 21
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"With college enrollment decreasing for the 8th year in a row, boosting your college or university marketing efforts is more important than ever. Here's how to get started. http://bit.ly/2vTQAzz"
Feb 20
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Annual Conference

October 18-21, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USAhttps://2020.highedweb.org/#HEWeb20     Join us for HighEdWeb 2020, the conference created by and for higher education professionals across all departments and divisions. Together we explore and find solutions for the unique issues facing digital teams at colleges and universities. With 100+ diverse sessions, an outstanding keynote presentation, intensive workshops, and engaging networking events,…See More
Feb 19
Christine Boehler posted a discussion

HighEdWeb 2020 Call for Proposals is Open!

The 2020 Annual Conference of the Higher Education Web Professionals Association (HighEdWeb) will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, this October 18-21 — and the call for proposals is now open! As a digital professional in higher education, we know you have great ideas and experiences to share. From developers, marketers and programmers to managers, designers, writers and all team members in-between, HighEdWeb provides valuable professional development for all who want to explore the unique…See More
Feb 14
Christine Boehler shared Sara Clark's discussion on Facebook
Feb 14
Christine Boehler is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 14
Brian Bell joined Kevin Daum's group
Feb 14
Brian Bell joined Mark Greenfield's group
Feb 14
Kenneth George is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 13
John Sterni is now a member of University Web Developers
Feb 6

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2020   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service