A budget-friendly PDF-to-digital-catalog conversion with one of New Hampshire's community colleges.
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.
Located in New Hampshire, River Valley is a small, tight-knit school of about 800 students. That size means they didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend on a new course catalog. But they were also feeling increasingly frustrated by the sheer number of man-hours it took to maintain and edit their InDesign catalog.
After spending six months checking out vendors that charged tens of thousands of dollars, RVCC landed on Clean Catalog as the most affordable option by far.
Streamlined Editing process
Prior to Clean Catalog, RVCC had their hands full with editing their course catalog. It was hand-edited every year, meaning that one person had to spend roughly two months to collect edits and make each small change page by page in InDesign. In addition to being tedious, this process also allowed a lot of room for error.
In Clean Catalog, you only have to edit a course once to have the change reflected across the entire catalog - a HUGE time-saver for RVCC when they switched the credits on a core composition class from 3 to 4. Our auto-fill feature on all course entry boxes also helps speed up the process.
It has improved the lives of other directors throughout RVCC, not just the person tasked with editing the catalog each year. The curriculum committee in particular is very excited to get away from their former process, which involved an endless stream of emails back and forth with various members replying “Yes, I agree” or using read-receipts to approve all new courses and course edits.
Accessibility for Students
Since students had already signed up for fall term when RVCC debuted their new catalog, the majority of the student body won’t get to experience the product until spring semester. However, members of RVCC’s student government have gotten a preview, and so far, it’s been a hit.
Students are most excited about having a search bar, and for the ability to click on any class listed under their degree and instantly see the full course description. The overall display is also helpful, as courses listed in the InDesign catalog were always printed in a smaller font.
One student even said that with Clean Catalog, she was able to find all the information she needed in the same amount of time it used to take her just to locate a copy of the catalog.
Maintain Print Version without Doing Duplicate Work
While students are eager for the online-only catalog, some staff, including guidance counselors, still need hard copies. So Clean Catalog’s PDF Generator makes sure that everyone is happy, as they can print individual programs or pages, as well as the entire catalog when needed.
We imported the text pages of RVCC’s Student Handbook along with their programs, degrees and courses all in the same week, transferring the content from their raw InDesign file to Clean Catalog’s online interface.
After turning in the first draft, we had a lot of correspondence with RVCC to get the look and feel of the catalog just right:
- We changed their Student Handbook from a long list of links to a set of dropdown menus, a display format called an “accordion.”
- We displayed the credit totals at the top and bottom of each degree’s course sequencing.
- We tweaked how photos were displayed online and how that transferred to the PDF version.
- We added contact information and college addresses in a sidebar.
- We made cosmetic changes, such as adding colored background blocks, changing font sizes, and changing how the main catalog page was titled.
From there, all we had to do was assign user permissions to the various department heads and curriculum committee members so they can start implementing edits on their own. Start to finish, the entire catalog creation process took about three weeks, and RVCC staff are already off to a great start taking new edits into their own hands.
RVCC appreciated our attention to detail, our ability to customize, and our quick responses over email whenever they had a new question or change to make.
“Clean Catalog has been one of the best vendors we have ever worked with,” administrative assistant to the president Anna Battye wrote in an email. “This is a product and company I would suggest to anyone.”
“It has changed our admissions process, our curriculum approval process, and a weight has been removed from the person who needs to edit the catalog every year,” she said. “Clean Catalog has streamlined parts of our processes we didn’t even know needed streamlining.”