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New, online academic catalog offers ease and convenience

Thursday, January 12, 2012
New, online academic catalog offers ease and convenience
A new system of providing both current and prospective members of the campus community with detailed information about Oakland’s academic programs will usher in a host of welcome advantages.

The university has officially launched the Acalog system, which provides online, digital versions of OU’s undergraduate and graduate catalogs. These virtual, fully interactive program guides will offer greater accessibility, increased functionality and added convenience to anyone interested in quickly finding the academic program information they need.

“We are excited to offer this new convenience to OU students,” said Dr. Susan Awbrey, senior associate provost. “It will provide students the most up-to-date information on their academic programs and will offer advisers and faculty a number of tools to support their work with student and program planning.”

Dr. Scott Crabill, director of Integrative Studies & Undergraduate Initiatives, added “Technology’s rapid march forward has created an environment in which today’s students are very accustomed to getting what they’re looking for quickly and at the touch of a button. This system will provide them just that.”

Because the catalogs are available online, access to them will be available at any time and in any place where Internet service is available. In addition, the catalogs are fully searchable, and users will be able to view and print any specific portion of the catalog they need – a clear advantage over having to download the entire catalog.

Students also will be able to take advantage of a powerful portfolio management tool within Acalog, which will allow them to identify and store information about departments, programs and courses. Online Degree Evaluation (WebCAPP) also allows students to compare their OU and transfer course work against the degree requirements published in Acalog.

University faculty and staff will gain the advantage of having a single interface through which to update program information. These updates can be disseminated not only to online and print versions of the catalog, but also directly to department websites.

Because there is no space limitation to online content, departmental program and course descriptions can be as detailed as curriculum coordinators care to make them. Still another advantage is that graduate catalogs will now be published annually rather than biennially, as they have been in the past.

On a broader scale, Acalog will provide academic leaders with real-time information about where students’ academic interests lie – data that will undoubtedly aid in planning efforts designed to answer student demand. Even as program parameters change, however, the same six-year rules that apply to program requirements outlined in print versions of the catalog will be maintained for the online catalogs.

One adjustment many students, faculty and staff members will need to make is sole reliance on the Acalog system, as graduate catalogs will no longer be printed. Undergraduate catalogs will continue to be printed for the time being, however.

University administrators are confident that following a short transition period, Acalog users will quickly learn to appreciate the many conveniences the system offers.

“While some of us may be very used to reaching for a printed version of the catalog for quick reference, I’m confident that logging into the Acalog system will be every bit as efficient,” Dr. Awbrey said. “When you consider all the other perks this system offers, it’s hard to imagine not wanting to take advantage of them.”

To learn more about the Acalog system, visit oakland.edu/catalog.