We handed over River Valley Community College’s new online catalog just before fall term started, and they’re already feeling the benefits of our streamlined, intuitive product. Here’s the breakdown on how we upgraded them from their previous system.
Transitioning to an online course catalog is a long-term commitment. The brunt of the work occurs at the beginning, when we first import all your courses, programs, and degrees and make sure they display and function properly. Of course, we do all that work for you — you send us your current catalog, and we convert it to a fully functioning digital version.
At Clean Catalog, we offer stand-alone digital, searchable student handbook software that’s responsive and easy to update and maintain – while still retaining a PDF version you can print whenever necessary. While many colleges and universities choose to have their handbooks integrated with their catalogs — which we do as well — stand-alone student handbook software can be a big win on its own.
So you’ve signed up for the complete Clean Catalog online overhaul. Welcome to the family! When you first commit to moving to an online catalog, we like to make the process as easy and efficient as possible. So although our program is designed to be straightforward to learn and implement, we do the initial build-out for you — you just send us your catalog PDF, and we create a fully populated digital catalog for you.
We work with colleges and universities year round to implement our course catalog and student handbook software, and — in our humble opinion — moving to course catalog software is always a big win for the institution. It provides an accessible, inclusive way for the community to access your catalog or handbook, and it makes managing your content vastly easier on the back end.
We recently published a site laying comparing features for the different academic catalog software providers
— Acalog, Smart Catalog IQ, and Clean Catalog. We wrote it, so it’s obviously biased, but we think it does a good job
of laying out the different features each one offers.
When colleges and universities move to a digital catalog, they often still need a print version, whether it’s for
archiving, for advising to have on hand, or to print in bulk for students and prospective students. We’re thrilled to introduce on-demand PDF generation for both single pages and full catalogs on all Clean Catalog
sites. This means you can manage you catalog digitally and create elegant, automated PDFs from your digital content.
Here’s how it works:
HTTPS — the secure way of connecting to websites — is now used on all Clean Catalog sites, and will be the default on
new sites we set up. When you visit any of our catalogs, you’ll see the secure marker — usually a green lock — in
your browser’s address bar.
Previously, we set up HTTPS by request, but HTTPS is such a good idea for websites that we made it a required part
of how we set up our sites. Not only does HTTPS secure any information transmitted through the site — including your
login credentials — but it also gives an SEO boost and gives your visitors assurance that you’re following best
Managing edits to your college’s catalog can be one of the biggest hangups in the process — for many colleges and
universities, it can often turn into a months-long mess of wrangling hard-copy edits, email changes, Word docs that
may or may not have tracked changes, and much more.
We’re constantly working on improving and expanding Clean Catalog, and right now we’re working on adding a suit of curriculum-management features that tie in to our existing academic catalog functionality. Here’s where it’s at.
The academic catalog can be one of the most dreaded projects at many higher-ed institutions. It often seems like a never-ending project, with the next year’s catalog starting as soon as the previous year’s is published, and getting edits to content can involve digging through piles of hand edits and digging through tracked changes on Word documents.
We’ve written before about the benefits of moving to academic catalog software, and if you’re reading this it’s likely that you’re already sold on moving to a digital academic catalog system. Sometimes, however, the big hangup is figuring out how exactly the campus is going to move to the new system.
The big benefits of using software like Clean Catalog to build your academic catalog — having an accessible web-based catalog, and a time-saving project-management system — are the main reasons most colleges digitize their catalog. But in our work with colleges, we’ve noticed a few secondary benefits that make life easier for everyone involved with the catalog.
It’s likely that in the past few years your college has had a conversation or two about accessibility — making your academic and marketing materials usable by people on any device with any sort of limitations. In Washington — where Clean Catalog is based — colleges are now required to comply with WCAG 2.0 standards for all their public-facing documents.
A college’s catalog is often viewed as a giant piece of paperwork. It is, after all, something you’re required to provide to
various agencies, and it’s often a legally binding document with students.
But it’s also frequently one of the first things prospective students look at when checking out your college — and if it’s not the first
thing they look at, it’s pretty much guaranteed that they’ll look at it sometime in the enrollment funnel. As such, it presents some
great opportunities to boost your marketing and enrollment funnel. Here are a few things you can do.
Building your college’s catalog is a massive project — most college catalogs are somewhere in length between To Kill a Mockingbird and
Anna Karenina, but instead of being written by a single person they require content and input from dozens
of people with different schedules across the college. There’s not much you can do to reduce the amount of content in your catalog,
but there are a few things you can do to make the whole process much less daunting.
It’s likely that right now your college is shopping for — or thinking about shopping for — several pieces of software to make managing the organization easier and more efficient. You need a CRM for outreach and a CMS to manage the website. An SMS to manage student data, an RMS to manage room scheduling, and countless other programs that all go by three-letter acronyms.