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Course Importer for SLS Navigator


The story

Technology should be a tool for its users. This principle—a founding belief of ours, in fact—was why we wanted to work with the course selection site at the Stanford Law School. Though a complete listing of classes already existed on the main Stanford site, retrieving the information was often difficult, and with over ten thousand courses at the university, it was hard for a student to be sure that they'd seen every opportunity.

Additionally, given the frequency with which information was updated and the multitude of departments involved, it was inefficient to copy and paste the same information into multiple platforms. Rote busy work with ample opportunities for human error was ineffective; administrators needed a tool that would dispense crucial information accurately and cleanly, and students needed a reliable way to access it.

We built an importer for the SLS Navigator to ensure that all the relevant information would be collected in one easily navigable place, appropriately categorized and labeled. That included not only the law school courses, but other useful courses at the university as well as journals, blogs, and other resources that could complement a particular course of study. For example, a student studying environmental law might want access to specific environmental studies courses as well as Law School ones, and with the SLS Navigator she could find them in one place.

Collaboration was crucial in this project. We connected with the different departments first, which enabled us to put all the right data into the right hands without duplicating tasks. Once we had the law school and the Office of the Registrar on board, we developed a custom module to import, label, and categorize over ten thousand courses into the system. Updates are imported automatically from a central database, so there's no need for copy-pasting to multiple pages.

In the SLS Navigator, students can now find a clear graphical representation of the fields various classes fit into as well as a listing of current resources for pursuing different areas of the law. The law school workload is notoriously steep, and law itself is almost infinitely nuanced. With this course reference tool, choosing the opportunities to build a desired career path doesn't have to be so convoluted.

Stanford Law School