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Interactive SU course catalogs go online
Interactive SU course catalogs go onlineApril 05, 2007Roxanna Carpenterrocarpen@syr.edu
Once, PDF pages represented the cutting edge for online publishing. Now, they’re a thing of the past, at least for Syracuse University’s interactive undergraduate and graduate catalogs, which have come online.
The online edition, available at http://coursecatalog.syr.edu, puts together a searchable resource of information on the University’s schools and colleges, including all degree programs offered, majors, minors and the related courses. Brief faculty biographic information can be found, as well as descriptions of many of the special opportunities, programs and centers for interdisciplinary learning. Keyword searches offer flexibility and variety.
Sandra Hurd, associate provost for academic programs, applauds the rollout of the interactive edition. “Students so much now are going to the Web for information,” Hurd says. “The new course catalog site says something about our sophistication and the level of technology in use at the University.”
Introduction of the online edition does not, however, spell the demise of the printed course catalogs. All first-year students will still receive a printed copy of the course catalog. And offices and departments will still need access to hard copies of the catalogs for quick or off-line reference. Melanie Stopyra, director of purchasing and business operations for the Office of Publications, will poll traditional catalog users soon, asking what quantities they expect to need for the next academic year now that the interactive edition is online. Print run quantities may be smaller, and Stopyra hopes the money saved from smaller runs can be invested in enhancements for the Web edition.
The online project was developed over the course of a year, although the effort had been under consideration for much longer. Kathleen Miles, design and production specialist in the Office of Publications, serves as editor of the site and essentially led the charge. “She saw the need and had the passion to see the project to completion,” Stopyra says. Miles has a long history with pre-press production of the print versions of the graduate and undergraduate course catalogs, and is pleased with the online advancement of this resource. “We’ve been talking about this for years,” she says.
Jeffrey Rubin, senior instructor in the School of Information Studies and CEO of Internet Consulting Services (ICS), put Ravind Budhiraja, senior programmer at ICS, to work on the project. Budhiraja is architect of the site. ICS is a company founded by Rubin in the 1990s and grown in the University’s technology incubator.
The course catalog site showcases the current year’s catalogs and collects in one spot much of the detail of the University’s academic life. It includes a link to “MySlice.” Plans include linking to the Office of the Registrar’s home page, the class search, campus maps and other destinations.
Following University Senate approval of curriculum changes and print production of next year’s catalogs, the site will post the new academic year’s interactive catalogs online this summer. Previous editions of the catalogs will be archived for reference.