3 Symptoms of an Outdated Catalog System

September 14, 2022

Ever heard the phrase “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”? This may ring true for dishwashers and household appliances, but not for your institution’s software. The truth is, your current catalog system may be getting the job done, but is it really an asset to your institution? An outdated course catalog can have resounding impacts on staff productivity, student outreach, accreditation applications, and more. Check out several of the side effects a lacking course catalog can have on your institution as a whole.

Students Aren’t Using Your Catalog

It’s no secret that we are in a digital age of learning. Today’s students are incredibly tech-savvy and are one of the first generations to have experienced digital learning over the course of their entire academic career. As a result, they have high expectations for the software their higher ed institution uses. When resources, especially admin hours, are being poured into a catalog that students aren’t using, it is typically a sign that something is amiss. Catalogs with low engagement or high bounce rates are a surefire sign that your catalog is ineffective, inaccessible, outdated, or has a poor user interface. Not only is this a burden for your current students, but it can be a pitfall for prospective students who cannot find your catalog online due to suboptimal SEO. An underutilized catalog can also impact your staff, as students typically lean more heavily on counselors and staff to ask questions that your catalog should be answering.

Content Management is a Burden for your Staff

How time-consuming is managing your course catalog currently for your staff? If you don’t directly manage it yourself, it may be worthwhile to ask your team whether it is a major lift for them. Whether your institution publishes your catalog in PDF form, via a homemade system, or through another vendor’s software, the interface for making updates may not be user-friendly for your staff. A catalog that requires many admin hours to maintain can burn a hole in your institution’s pocket over the years, not to mention tie up employee resources from working on other projects. Using a software with an intuitive backend, in which your staff can quickly make updates or add content and then submit for approval, can be a gamechanger in staff efficiency and ensuring your catalog content is always up-to-date.

Applying for Accreditation is an Uphill Battle

Course catalogs typically play a large role in accreditation applications, whether your institution is up for renewal or applying for the first time. If the current format and interface of your catalog makes it difficult to prepare and review it for accreditation, then it may be time to upgrade. Modern, efficient catalog software, on the other hand, should simplify your accreditation process and meet accessibility requirements by default. There should be tools in place for reviewing missing information, archiving previous catalogs publicly, and making seamless edits built-in to the backend of your catalog. Check out a few of the tools Clean Catalog implements for simplifying the accreditation process. All in all, if your current course catalog presents a hurdle rather than offering a leg-up in your accreditation applications, it may be time to consider upgrading your catalog software.

If you have any questions about how Clean Catalog software helps institutions revamp their outdated systems into effective digital catalogs, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.