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SmartCatalog
by Watermark

Course Import Guidelines

In order to use Catalogs as a content management system, your institution will provide course data from your student information system on a regular basis. Course information can be updated before publishing the catalog for the new academic year or on a more frequent basis. Keep in mind that when courses are imported, any previous changes to courses made in the system will be overwritten. For this reason, it is important to modify course information in the SIS rather than, or in addition to, in SmartCatalog. In circumstances in which a small number of changes need to be made to courses but not enough to justify an import, those changes can be made in the SIS and in SmartCatalog. This document explains exactly what course data SmartCatalog needs from your student information system.

Mechanism for Import

A Watermark representative will work with you and your SIS manager to give recommendations on what information should be imported. Initial Course data import will be completed with the help of your Watermark implementation project manager and the support team. A report can be generated to indicate the items created and errors that might have occurred during the import process.

When a course file is imported for the first time, course folders are created based on the subject code and subject name. In future imports, the system will use subject code and number to update the course information, if the associated folder name does not match, a new folder will be created. The folder names are case sensitive and if the subject name is ever changed, a new folder will be created.

We also support a Custom Course API that will allow to set an automated process to retrieve and update course information. Setting up an API calls for a skilled institutional API developer to create the process. Institutions can use the API to pull content from SmartCatalog. That content can then be pushed to their SIS or displayed on the institution site.

Note: Updates to course information is typically entered through an approval workflow. Since courses are linked to programs, courses will not be automatically deleted upon the import of a new csv course import. Thus, courses will need to be deleted individually and relevant program information will need to be updated.

Accepted File Formats

The import supports .csv UTF-8. The course file must have the correct file extension. SmartCatalog contains 13 default fields, 4 of which are required, the other 9 can be used based on your preference. Additional fields can also be implemented. Each column should be separated by a comma and the contents of each field should be enclosed in quotes. A header row should indicate the contents of each column, as each heading is manually mapped to its corresponding field during the import process. 

Note: The Student Information System may not provide the course content in a csv format, if the file is converted to csv, please be aware of any format changes. Course files will be imported as provided.

To better support your Catalog and Curriculum implementation, the course name field should reflect the name of the course as represented in the Catalog. 

Course Learning Outcomes

Interested in importing Course Learning Outcomes? Refer to the Course Learning Outcomes Import Guide.

SmartCatalog Course Import

Example: Catalog Course File Basic_TEMPLATE & Catalog Course File Basic_SAMPLE

File: CourseImport.csv

Import Fields 

Required fields must be in the header row as they will be mapped with SmartCatalog fields. Optional fields may be left blank. Header fields of any additional columns should match the name of the new fields. Any abbreviation should be spelled out for clear naming conventions. It is recommended that fields follow the order below:  

Subject Code 

  • Explanation: Character abbreviation indicating the field of study. 
  • Example: “BIO”
  • Field Type and Length: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: A 
  • Import Status: Required

Subject Name 

  • Explanation: Subject matter or unit of study
  • Example: “Biology”
  • Field Type and Length: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: B 
  • Import Status: Required

Course Name

  • Explanation: Name of the class that applies to all sections that belong to this course 
  • Example: “Biology I Cellular Processes”
  • Field Type and Length: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: C
  • Import Status: Required

Course Number

  • Explanation: Numerical value assigned to a course that often reflects course level and number of credits associated to this course
  • Example: “201”
  • Field Type and Length: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: D
  • Import Status: Required
  • Leading 0’s. If you course numbers contain leading zeros follow these steps to ensure the zeros are not dropped upon import into SmartCatalog.

Course Description

  • Explanation: General explanation of the course topics and teaching methodology
  • Example: “This course offers the student…. “
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Corequisite Narrative

  • Explanation: A course or other requirement that a student must take at the same time as the course indicated in the Course Name column
  • Example: “ BIO 201L”
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Prerequisite Narrative

  • Explanation: A course or another requirement that a student must take prior to enrolling in the course indicated in the Course Name column
  • Example: “BIO 101 or permission of instructor”
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Credits

  • Explanation: Credit hours students receive upon completion of the course indicated in the Course Name column 
  • Example: “3 credits”
  • Field Type: Numeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Instructor

  • Explanation: Person teaching the class
  • Example: “Smith” or “J. Smith”
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Offered

  • Explanation: Academic Terms when the course indicated in the Course Name column is offered
  • Example: “Fall and Spring”
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Distribution

  • Explanation: Academic unit or area that the course indicated in the Course Name column belongs to
  • Example: “Humanities”
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Notes

  • Explanation: Any additional notes to be displayed separately from the body of the description
  • Example: “Recommendations for students before taking this course are as follows.. “
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Cross Listed Courses Narrative

  • Explanation: Courses offered by same or different department with the same course identity as the course indicated in the Course Name column
  • Example: “WRIT 105 and HIST 205”
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional