Institutions publish academic program and course offerings across a variety of mediums, databases and formats. Course level information is often spread across many systems on campus including the Student System, Course Management System, Degree Audit System, Scheduling System, Bookstore System, Faculty Development System, Transfer Articulation System and Course Development System. These systems are generally standalone. Websites and College Catalogs also collect and list course offerings by catalog year or session. Transfer agreements between institutions often list courses offered and accepted between two or more institutions. State level or consortiums also collect and publish course offerings by discipline, method of instruction and location.
Courses may be the units of instruction that satisfy one or more requirements for an academic program or may be standalone levels of instruction not linked to an academic program. Courses are the general term used to describe one or more series of meetings covering a topic. Course sessions or meetings may be in different locations or virtual.
There are several actors that could utilize an electronic means to lookup course offerings by institution over time including faculty, students, advisors, registrars, provosts, deans, department chairs and curriculum committees. Outside the institution, industry, government agencies, bookstores, publishers, class room video streaming, high school counselors, transfer centers, and other users of course and course session information would desire to access advertised courses in a searchable and online format.
States and collabortive efforts often aggregate centralized views of courses offered or archived by institutions, to allow faculty, students and advisors to access courses for comparability. Institutions often re-enter courses offered by other institutions (present and past) thru their transfer articulation process. Having a course inventory lookup for current and prior courses by institution, department, faculty or student level would reduce re-entry, improve self-service and enable new tools to be developed that can bridge the curriculum of institutions.