Archive for August, 2012

Structured Schedule and Course Calendar Data for Brock University

Monday, August 20th, 2012

As my last post about a Brock University Important Dates iCal Feed indicated, I often find myself needing Brock University information in a structured, digital format. As I’m not one to improve public information and make it private, here’s the how I made this information more fun to play with.

As we in the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (formerly CTLET) at Brock University to update places like Contact North’s studyonline.ca and other reporting work, we often need this type of information, and to make it easier for a number of purpose to make use of the information as a web services.

To that end I created cpi.brocku.ca/services

cpi.brocku.ca/services is a collection of RESTful APIs that return Brock University course calendar information in a number of formats: xml, html, csv and txt. The request URLs are created in a way that respects microformats.org’s guidelines for URLs.

Along with a the course calendar information is a handy “function” I created called brock_year. brock_year returns the current course calendar year by default, or the year that corresponds with a queried UNIX time value. This is useful because the course calendar issuing year does not always match the Gregorian calendar year. For example, duration 3 of Brock University calendar year 2012 occurs in January of Gregorian year 2013! I’ve cut and pasted the PHP for that code a few times for me and others, now it’s a web services for all.

Things will be updated as time permits and need arises. Also I should note that the Brock University Registrar’s information is considered definitive, and is the most accurate and well maintained source for this information www.brocku.ca/registrar/guides-and-timetable .

Hope this helps someone, or inspires someone else to expose data in a number of structured formats.