Tuesday, July 1, 2008

College Catalog Has Gone Green!

When Rio Salado College business student Robin Moran needs information from the college’s catalog, she doesn’t sift through stacks of books on a bookshelf but goes quickly online. “It’s convenient. I do my classes online so it’s easier to access the catalog through the Internet,” said Moran who is working on an associate degree in business. Moran is like the majority of the students at Rio Salado. They prefer using the online version of the college catalog to the printed copy.

This year Rio Salado College is forging new territory. Following a national and local trend, the college is doing away with its traditional, information-heavy printed catalog and going online. The move is expected to save thousands of dollars but, most importantly, will give students what they want. “Our research has shown an online catalog is what students prefer,” said Jennifer Shantz, Rio Salado College faculty over curriculum development. Although the college has had an online catalog for years, the college has always provided a printed copy as well, to give to students, faculty and staff. This is the first year that information contained in the catalog will be accessed primarily online.

Some hard copies of the catalog will continue to be printed for students who don’t have access to a computer and for reference material. In past years, Rio Salado has printed and distributed more than 25,000 catalogs annually. “We will be printing a few catalogs for special populations of students but the majority of our students will be accessing the catalog online,” said Shantz. Economically sound and environmentally friendly, the catalog will also be available on a CD for students.

The transition to online came after months of research. Surveying nearly 500 students, the survey found 71 percent of the students were already accessing the college’s online version of the catalog instead of the printed version. The survey also found the majority of Rio Salado students could easily access the online catalog. “I think today’s students are familiar and comfortable using the Internet so it makes perfect sense for the online version of the catalog to be preferred over the printed one,” said Shantz.

The new approach also meets the college’s goal for 2012 for sustainability as the online version costs less and is more environmentally sound, said Shantz. The new online catalog is indexed and linked with the college web site making it easy to access for information, said Rio Salado College Web Manager Eddie Calderon. “It will be easy for students to maneuver through the catalog and access information needed through the online catalog drop down menu,” said Calderon.

The catalog is available online at: www.riosalado.edu/catalog and is also available on CD-ROMs for students upon request.