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Using the Course Catalog Editing System

See also: Non-Course Material and Reports. The For Faculty page contains information of concern to faculty members; For Department Chairs details the chairs' special role in the course editing system.


Access | Permissions | Moving Around the System | Copying and Pasting | Who Does What | New Courses and Course Cross-Listings | The Course Editor | Book ListsMore Help 

Departments use the Course Catalog Editing System to propose new courses, make minor and major revisions to existing courses, and indicate which courses will be offered--and will not be offered--in the upcoming academic year.

Access

ADCs, department chairs, and faculty members can access the system at https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/course_cat_editing. If you are not logged into the website, you'll be prompted to enter your Amherst username and password.

Once logged into the system you see a page with links such as Test Area, 1011, 0910, and 0809 across the top and a list of all courses below. Test Area is just that, while the 0809 link is provided for historical purposes. The 0910 link provides access to courses in the current academic year, including any courses where approval is still outstanding. To work on courses for the next academic year, click on the 1011 link.

On the 1011 page you see a list of all subject areas and, below that, a list of all proposed or approved courses and cross-listings at the College. To see only the courses offered in a particular subject area, click its link. The example below shows the HIST subject area.

BIOL courses in 1011
This is a complete list of all the currently approved courses and cross-listings in the subject area you selected. In addition, the list contains any proposed new courses and cross-listings. From this list you have access to a number of features:
  • You can click on the short title of a course to see all of the information for that course.
  • In the top left, you can click Add (just like you would do on a normal web page to add content) in order to propose a new course or cross-listing.
  • On the right, each course has an Edit link, which you use to make changes to a  course.
  • Once you've saved a change to a course you'll also see a Revisions link that lets you see who made what changes to a course and to rollback changes if necessary.
  • Finally, a Delete link lets you permanently delete a course from the catalog.

Along the top of the course list you'll find column headers such as Subj, Short Title, and Workflow. Most of these headers are links that you use to sort the course list. To sort it in inverse order, simply click the same header again.

Permissions

Though system access is restricted to ADCs, faculty, and some other people, once logged in you can edit any course, add course proposals in any subject area, change any course's Workflow status, or even delete any course. In fact, you will be able to check the box that reads "As department chair I approve this course" even if you are not a chair or even a member of the corresponding department. Note, however, that we log every change to the system so we can reverse any mistakes.

Moving Around the System

Due to a bug in the system you should avoid using the Back button of your browser to return to a previous page. Instead, use the path links to go back to a previous page.

 

Copying and Pasting

When you propose a new course or make major revisions to the description of an existing one, you can either enter the new description directly or copy it from Word. At this point, other word processors are not supported and may produce weird formatting problems.

Who Does What

Though everyone with access to the system can do just about anything in the system, in practice this could lead to confusion. Some departments may elect to have individual faculty members edit their own courses; others may want to funnel all changes and new course proposals through the department coordinator. Such decisions are left to the departments and department chairs.

We suggest, however, that the department coordinator manage the workflow of a course. The coordinators have received formal training in the system and are knowledgeable about what it means to change the Workflow status of a course from Proposal or ADC/Faculty to Dept. Chair.

Department chairs have a critical role to play in the workflow of new courses or those that are undergoing major revision. See the Workflow section of the course editor documentation or the For Department Chairs page for details.

New Courses and Cross Listings

To add a new course or cross-listing to the catalog, go to the subject area where the course or cross listing will reside and click the Add link in the yellow toolbar. Next, select either Course or Course Crosslisting.

Course-Crosslist Select
If you select Course you'll be brought to a blank course editor screen (see below) where you'll enter the information about the new course. If you select Course Crosslisting you'll be prompted to enter the number of the cross-listing and then to choose the course you're cross-listing to from a drop down list that includes every course currently in the College catalog--including newly-proposed courses.
 
Note that with cross-listings, one department is considered "primary," i.e., it is the department that maintains the course description. Course cross-listings are created in subject areas other than the primary subject area and refer back to the primary course. Thus you can't create a cross-listing to a new course until the course itself has been added to the system. It is recommended that faculty members and department chairs leave the creation of new cross-listings to their ADC.
 

The Course Editor

When you click Edit on an existing course or add a new course, you're brought to the heart of the system, the Course Editor.

Help

 
 
 Questions about courses and processes can be directed to Stacey Cooney in the Registrar's office and Nancy Ratner in the Dean's office. Technical queries or corrections to this documentation go to Bob Ryan in IT.