Search Google Appliance

Information Technology

Article Details

  • Topic(s):

  • Last Updated:

    May 6th, 2024

CAPS Basics

CAPS Basics Online

CAPS Basics, Part 1

The Class Automated Proposal System, or CAPS, is an area in SPIRE where you can see the proposed and requested parameters and structure of classes within your department.  It is where academic departments plan details of courses and submit requests to the registrar for approval. 

Navigate to Course Maintenance > CAPS > Manage Classes

At the Search screen, a Term is required; and adding just a Subject will list all classes for that subject and term.

In the upper right side of the search screen there is a box titled New Course Requests.  The options there will be inactive with view-only access. 

Back at the main search screen, if you want to narrow down your Search hits, consider using some of these other fields.

CAPS Status indicates where in the process the section is: with the Registrar’s Scheduling Staff (RSS) or with the Department’s Scheduling Rep (DSR). The options in the dropdown list are alphabetized but in terms of real time changes it is like a ping pong match between Department and Registrar.

  1. Not Started: this is the beginning state of all new sections.  The paddles are in hand and the ball is active but the DSR has the ball in their court.
  2. Pending (Dept): A section becomes Pending the moment some change has been saved.  In other words, it means that the DSR is working on the section. The ball is being fiddled with but has not been served.
  3. Submitted: This state denotes that the DSR has selected the Submit button, which in effect sends the proposed changes to the RSS for review and some action. In other words, the ball has gone over the net, a successful serve!
  4. Department Action is when the RSS has sent a section back to the DSR with some questions or comments. The Registrar has expertly returned!
  5. And Processed is when the the request has been completed by the RSS and the section is done for now.  End of match, but possibly more to come.

The To Do field is used to either show items requiring action from the Department or the Registrar.  If Term and Subject are included, for example, and To Do = Registrar, then what will show are all unprocessed sections awaiting Registrar action.  In other words, the CAPS status should all be “Submitted.”


Entering DSR in the To Do field, for example, will show class records that have not started yet.  Courses will show that are currently being reviewed by the Department’s Scheduling Rep. In this case, it could be that the Department’s Scheduling Rep has a question that has not been answered yet

Flags and Routes are typically used by the Registrar’s office but could also be used by department scheduler’s to tag sections for more precise searches.  For example if you want to make sure to return to it for some reason.  The Flag is basically a binary choice Yes or No.  The Route is any three character string.

For example you could check the Department Flag box in the Main Details area of the section:

And then the when a search is done for classes flagged in this way, make sure that search field is marked Yes:

The resulting search hits will include just those classes with a positive Department Flag (in this image a positive Department flag is indicated by a checked checkbox):

Results could be further filtered by including a Dept Route.  This may be helpful if you want not just a binary Yes/No choice but something more specific.

As previously discussed, whereas the CAPS Status indicates which court the ball is in, or the overall phase the course or section is in, the Class Status indicates the availability of the section.

Definitions of Class Status:


A = Active

Students can register for this class until the capacity is reached

X = Cancelled

Cannot be found in class search and not available for

registration. Could be reactivated by the Department, if desired.

D = Delete

This option is not showing in the image here in the video because it is after the first day of the term.  It indicates that the course is marked for removal from SPIRE.  Delete is usually used when a section has been added by mistake. In other words, when in doubt, Cancel.

T = Tentative

All new sections start as tentative until approved by the Registrar and may be planned to be offered but do not appear in Class Search results.

S = Stop Further Enrollment

These classes may have been active during the most recent enrollment period but are no longer available.  Sections marked “S” will no longer be returned in the Class Search and are not available for registration.  This is frequently used as a temporary state while students are removed from the section.

Element Waiting refers to the specific details in the class. An element can be the room capacity, instructor name, grading basis, etc.  And elements can have their own state – the CAPS or Element State – which can be the following:


A change (or add or delete) is waiting for RSS Action


A change was made by the RSS


A different change was made by the RSS


No change was made

Accept Manual

Change was made by the RSS using Peoplesoft pages (not CAPS)

Once the search fields have been entered and the Search button selected, a list of all matching classes is returned. 

At this point one can collapse all or expand all to show or hide some of the summarized details.

For example this is a basic search with only Term and Subject, returning 17 classes all expanded.

When Collapse All is chosen only the grey header shows.

CAPS Basics, Part 2

To actually edit or see more details of a specific class or section, click on the five digit class #. 

Let’s look at this section’s details more closely.

Notice the section defaults to open on the Main Details tab and there are eight other tabs available.

The Main Details tab contains most of the fields that we were looking at on the search screen.  For example CAPS Status

Flags and Routes

Class Status

And all the other elements:

The Comms tab refers to internal comments input into the record.  It is used for sending internal correspondence to the Registrar’s staff. 

On the Instructors tab all instructor(s) for this particular section are listed in the middle – Instructors box.  There you will find other essential information – SPIRE ID, role, FERPA certification, and others….

Instructor Typ can be Grad Faculty, Lecturer, Emeritus, or Instructor.

Subj OK? Notes whether the Instructor is approved for this particular subject

Relations refers to what relationship has to the university:


Gr= graduate student

Ug=undergrad student


Role can be:

Primary Instructor (PI)

Section Assistant (SA)

Teaching Assistant (TA)

Teaching Assistant (TA Grading)

LMS Only

LMS Only Grading

Please refer to the Instructor Roles in CAPS page for more information on role assignments. 

Print refers to whether the instructors name should be included in online catalogue listings of this class or section

Grade Access refers to power that instructor has with respect to posting grades.   

              None – no access in SPIRE regarding grade roster

              Grade – this means that they can enter grades in SPIRE but not approve for final process

              Post – can enter and approve grades

The Meetings tab contains information about when the section meets.

The Notes tab contains information that the students can see in their schedule of classes.  This is not to be confused with the Comms tab, which is used for corresponding with the Registrar.

Requisites are restrictions also visible to the students in their schedule of classes.

A catalog requisite will apply to all sections and is automatically enforced by SPIRE. For example “Prerequisite: Biochem 275 or 285 with a grade of B- or better”

A class association requisite tells SPIRE to enforce eligibility restrictions.  Such as ”this class is open to Biochemistry and Molecular Biology” majors only.

The Final Exam tab is a place where a request for the final exam is scheduled and details are input. Double seating refers to having an empty seat between students during the exam. Special details can be included in the Exam Comment field. When the request is processed and approved by the registrar the details will show in the Final Exam Scheduled box at the bottom.

The Catalog tab is the place where Title, Long Title, and the course description are requested and managed. These all show in class search results and details page.

Look at the History tab to see a summary of the changes in this section’s CAPS Status, Class Elements, and Catalog elements.  USERID, date and status are all included.

For example:

This course was initiated in CAPS on August 8th, 2019, first draft completed and submitted on  September 23rd, 2019.  Then it was turned around and sent back (or, Processed) on October 30th.  Additional edits were made to the Grading Basis and submitted on February 10th and processed on February 11th .

Another thing you get with View Only access in CAPS are CAPS Reports.

For example, CAPS Queries

These are found at Course Maintenance > CAPS > CAPS Queries, this page allows for generating quick reports based on optional filters.  Select term and subject and then choose one of the options in the list.  One commonly used option is in the last row “Generate Course Proof (PDF).” That pdf can be limited further by checking the box “Active Sections Only” and/or including the Catalog Number. The course proof lists key details for each course.

Note: requires disabling pop-up blockers.

Class by Subject, also found in the CAPS breadcrumbs, is another way to run reports based on different fields entered in the CAPS tabs.

For best results open with Excel option.

Subject Totals enables a quick way of seeing a summary of section status by default subject and term.

For example, here Biochem in 1203 has 71 active sections, 10 inactive.  One has just been initiated in CAPS and one has been submitted to the registrar and it is awaiting processing.