Academic catalog goes paperless with online version

Online catalog
Students use the new online academic catalog. - Emily Novotny/TRUMPET

This academic year Wartburg’s course catalog is now available online for students and faculty. This new change comes during a time when Wartburg is starting to become more sustainable, registrar Sheree Covert said.

In the past, every two years Wartburg would print course catalogs for students and faculty to use. Students used the catalog for figuring out classes they wanted or needed to take and faculty used it to make sure students were meeting the course requirements.

Before starting the process of putting the catalog online, Fred Ribich, director of institutional research, said he talked with other schools and got their opinion on making the switch to online and what software would be the best to use.

“The feedback was all positive from moving from a print version to an online version,” Ribich said.

Wartburg has been talking about implementing the online catalog for some time.

At the beginning of last year Wartburg started looking at different options and in June they refined the program so it would be ready for the 2012-2013 year, Covert said.

“The program offers you a lot of different features to navigate and find the information,” Covert said.

Some of the features allow students to build their own personal course catalog to go along with their major and previous years’ catalogs are available online now as well, Covert said.

With making the transition to online there was a cost factor that Wartburg had to consider. The initial up front cost was more than what it would cost to print this year’s catalogs, Ribich said.

The move to an online catalog will save Wartburg about $2,000 annually. This is assuming that printing costs continue to increase, and then the savings would likely be more than this in the future, Ribich said.

“If you look at it from a five year span, making that investment now in an online version and saving the money on future catalogs, there was a definite benefit,” Ribich said.

Rachel Kist is a student who is not a fan of the new online catalog.

“I am just a visual person and I like things I can look at and I like to highlight important information,” Kist said.

Some of the reasons that Wartburg has decided to go paperless is because it is easier to navigate and more portable, Covert said.

All department chairs have had training on how to work the new website, Ribich said.

Kist said students might have trouble with using the new system if they have not been taught to use it.

“Well first of all they have to figure out where to go to find it and having all students go online to figure out their classes might be difficult. You never know what might happen with the Internet as well,” Kist said.

Ribich said although there is concern about changes, so far it is going well.

“So far with starting the new online course catalog there has been nothing but positive feedback,” Covert said.

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