College catalog in Drupal?

mercergirl's picture

We are looking for a new online catalog solution, perhaps one that will not require an API to integrate with our D7 web site.

Has anyone created their catalog or bulletin in Drupal?

If so,

  • How did it go?
  • Can you provide a link to your catalog?
  • Did you do it in-house or have outside help?
  • Were there any modules that were a particular help?
  • Any Drupal development companies you want to mention?

Thanks for any feedback or suggestions...

Comments

do you mean like a list of

btopro's picture

do you mean like a list of courses that are available? http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/ is a drupal cateloug of programs and what not though I think it's D6.

College Arts and Architecture lists our courses and uses that data to promote then deliver downstream as part of ELMSLN -- http://online.aanda.psu.edu

Gauging scope before I recommend modules but most likely it'll be things like Views and Views Bulk Operations; possibly EVA as it's good for associations and attaching entities to other entities (like requirements for completion and what not).

Regardless Drupal is a great pick for something like this and then the data can be exposed to other systems via RESTWS (https://drupal.org/project/restws)

Thanks

mercergirl's picture

REST is a great suggestion. We aren't using any RESTful services, but I will have to look into it.

We have all the course info in Drupal already, and most of the curriculum info. It's just that the old fashioned print catalog is what people are used to and we would kind of like to slice and dice the data, curriculum and static/legal info into something that better resembles the print catalog.

Thanks for your suggestions!

Cynde

Possibly useful example

David.Hamilton's picture

Our catalog creation and publishing process is run out of Drupal 7. We built this ourselves and have evolved it over the years.

Catalog creation begins at the department level as the department coordinators and chairs create the year's courses. Courses work through a somewhat complex iterative editing process involving all faculty, various oversite committees, editorial review, and so on. In parallel to this the various administrative and academic offices that manage the non-course catalog content work through a similar iterative editing process on those sections of the catalog. Handwaving away a bit of complexity, each 'course' is a drupal node, as is each 'section' of the catalog (ie officers of the college, mission statement, admission, etc). There are a handful of content types to support this. Monstermenus and workflow modules handle permissions on who can edit which sections of these nodes during each phase of the workflow. Many views deliver the various reports of this data the committees and individuals use to keep track of their parts of the process.

At the conclusion of the editing process the data is made public in many forms: an xml output to our print vendor to produce the printed catalog and pdf and ebook versions, as course and curriculum lists for each subject/department, as the source of the data in the course scheduling tool the students use during advising, and in data feeds the registrar uses to develop the year's curriculum in the erp.

Two links, bearing in mind they have more functionality for our logged in users.

A sample course/curriculum list:

https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/chemistry/courses

the course scheduler:

https://www.amherst.edu/course_scheduler

As to the rest of your questions: we built this ourselves, and it's generally been positively received. One way we see that is how long we've used it - this started in Drupal 5 and has been migrated up through D6 and D7, gaining features (and complexity) over time. Monster Menus, Views, and Workflow are the primary modules used to deliver this, along with a significant amount of glue we wrote ourselves. In terms of vendors, we did use https://lastcallmedia.com/ to help us with our migration to D7, including pieces of this system.

Thanks, good comments

mercergirl's picture

Thanks. We had an online catalog vendor before we had our D7 site, so we feed from the catalog into the site. Now we want to change online catalog vendors, so I'm thinking bring it all into D7 since we need to share the data. Our course registration system is archaic and totally separate, although we do get a CSV feed for the course schedule every couple of hours.

I was really talking about the "course catalog" or bulletin as some universities call them. The course info is common to many systems and the static/legal information probably only needs to be in the catalog.

We still have constituents (including the US government) who want a print catalog (which is not possible with our current catalog solution). Yours sounds like a very robust solution. Thanks for sharing.

Cynde

Same questions

Kami-kaze's picture

Hi Cinde,

We are working on a similar project at my school, though I am just beginning to do research. I would be happy to what ideas and resources I discover with you.

Okay, sharing is good

mercergirl's picture

We have not come to a final decision yet on whether to continue with an online catalog vendor or build out a catalog in drupal.

It is sort of a no brainer since we have all the info we need in drupal now, but we saw a demo of a vendor catalog solution that had very robust reporting features, ones that would take a great deal of customization (and $$$) to develop in drupal. The costs (vendor solution vs. drupal) are similar, but the vendor solution is slick and already specialized for catalog purposes.

Of course, with the vendor solution, we would only "rent" the online catalog. We would continue the annual ka-ching for the privilege of using their solution.

Alternative Catalog Format

Rebecca Q's picture

Hi Cynde,
We redesigned our website in Drupal about 2 years ago. We completely dispensed with a printed catalog several years ago, and only about 3 years ago did we also dispense with a PDF version. The course listing in our new catalog dynamically pulls in from our Prism database (people info and registration system). There is also an official "static" version of the course listing for historical purposes.
If we need to update policies or curriculum elements before the 2-year catalog "publishing" cycle, we add the changes to an Addendums page. Once the "new" catalog is launched, the previous catalog is archived and the new one is launched without the old addendums. I'm happy to tell you more/explain more detail, if you like.
Here is the link: http://uwc.edu/catalog

"Conversation, my dear lady, is where one plays with ideas. But one forges them quite alone." - Alexander Pope to the Lady Orlando

Interesting....

mercergirl's picture

I was wondering how you maintained an archive in Drupal, looks like you probably have an archived database of courses and you ported your drupal nodes to static html?

Thanks.

static and non-static

Rebecca Q's picture

Yes, we pulled the entire data set from our course database on the "publication" date for the current catalog and made them static, but also linked to the dynamic version outside of the catalog. That way, we have an official record of courses for the catalog archive for that biennium, along with access to a constantly updated listing for the current semester.

"Conversation, my dear lady, is where one plays with ideas. But one forges them quite alone." - Alexander Pope to the Lady Orlando

Courses

klezmer41's picture

Here's an implementation we did for the Polisci dept at UC Berkeley: http://polisci.berkeley.edu/courses

Drupal is a great platform for CMS in general, blogging/news/events, and also for any custom things including courses, CAS integration, access-control so that certain groups of people can log in and only edit their own profile, easily able to show all courses by professor X on their profile page, etc. On another departmental site we're pulling some data from external sources and auto-creating nodes, but not all departments want that.

Please let me know if we could be of help, we do a lot of EDU work. Also lots of migration from Drupal->Drupal and nonDrupal->Drupal, multi-language, multi-site, etc. Here's our portfolio: www.blackantelope.com

Another course example

TimG1's picture

Hi Mercergirl,

I built the catalog for The University of Hawai‘i Law School about 2 years ago. You can view it here:

https://www.law.hawaii.edu/courses
https://www.law.hawaii.edu/classes

They hired me as an outside consultant and they have been a long term client of mine.

A "Class" is an instance of a "Course". Classes are related to Faculty Staff and Bios which appear on each course/class page. Example Class Page. If you're logged in, you can view past classes a faculty member taught on their individual profile pages. They wanted this list hidden. While on a class or course page if you scroll down you can browse all the past instances of the course that you're looking at.

There is also a textbooks list page. Which is related to a class. So, if a class has text books required, it they will appear on the class page. Example class page with textbooks.

If a student is logged in with their @hawaii.edu email, they will be able to download class syllabuses, past exams, and whatever other documents were associated to that past class. You need to be logged in to see this, so it's hidden.

Each class can also have exam dates with related exam files for studying & download. These require a login as well to view.

It's a very robust catalog and very customized for what the law school needed. It took the better part of a year to build. But that was with a D6>D7 upgrade, a responsive redesign, and a bunch of other features that I was building for the site. They enter all the data manually in Drupal since the main U. Hawaii system doesn't have an api providing all the data that they want & need.

Would be happy to chat more about what we built if you like. Feel free to reach out through my d.o. contact form https://www.drupal.org/user/354445 or my website www.studiotenfour.com. They both go to the same place.

All the best!
-Tim

Robust, indeed

mercergirl's picture

Tim,

That is a very robust solution and close to what I had in mind. If we go with a solution like this, it really blurs the lines between a website that offers course and class info and the catalog. That is a step our administrators and staff have to get over and I'm not sure we are ready. We'll just have to wait and see.

Thanks for sharing your site.

I hear you!

TimG1's picture

Cynde,

I hear you. The Law School was already on board with that idea. They had been doing some of this internally before I built this for them. They were hoping that the U. Hawaii System would offer a solution for them with the system-wide catalog. But they eventually took things into their own hands. Getting the right buy-in can be the most challenging part. It can definitely take some time.

Best of luck!
-Tim

Drupal in Education

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