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Administrative Data and Curricular Support: The Sum is Greater Than the Parts NERCOMP 2004 Copyright Bret Ingerman, Daniel Green, and Beth DuPont, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Administrative Data and Curricular Support: The Sum is Greater Than the Parts NERCOMP 2004 Copyright Bret Ingerman, Daniel Green, and Beth DuPont, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Administrative Data and Curricular Support: The Sum is Greater Than the Parts NERCOMP 2004 Copyright Bret Ingerman, Daniel Green, and Beth DuPont, This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non- commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author.

2 About us…

3 Bret Ingerman Chief Technology Officer Dan Green Senior Programmer / Analyst – Web Developer Beth DuPont Director, Academic Technologies

4 Saratoga Springs, NY Four yearPrivate Non-denominationalCo-educational Students:2,200 Faculty:148 full time Staff:400 full time

5 CITS 36 full time staff Everything is together: –AcademicAdministrativeNetwork TelecommMedia ServicesWeb (tech) etc. Mix of: –Desktop:PC, Mac (limited Unix) –Servers:NT, Solaris (limited Mac)

6 The Basic Infrastructure Major ERP Systems:Oracle Predominant Database:Oracle Student System:AIMS (now) Student System:Oracle (soon) Web Server:Apache and IIS Web Development:ColdFusion

7 About the problem…

8 Conceptually

9 We have data

10 Conceptually We have data

11 Conceptually We have lots of data

12 Conceptually Spread across many systems Not readily linked –(except by us) Not readily accessible –(except by us) Seldom used beyond initial application We have lots of data

13 But the Data… Could be much better used –By us –By them Should be much better used –By us –By them

14 A case in point…

15 Threaded Discussions Had 2 choices WebCT –A lot of overhead for just course discussions –Even more for non-academic discussions Phorum –Open source –Not scalable –Not easily integrated with existing systems –Not meeting needs of faculty / community

16 What Did We Really Want? What did we really need? Discussion tool for entire campus Scalable Supportable Ability to pre-populate –Every academic course, each semester Using existing authentication

17 What We Found FuseTalk –Much better suited to campus needs –ColdFusion –Extensible –NERCOMP discount

18 So What Was the Problem? We had the course data –Currently:AIMS –Soon:Oracle We had the authentication –Currently:LDAP (Netscape) –Soon:LDAP (Oracle or Microsoft) We had the software –Currently:FuseTalk –Soon:FuseTalk, or ??? Didn’t want to rewrite everything

19 So, what did we do?

20 First, need to look more closely at infrastructure…

21 Technology Background Data sources –Multiple Oracle instances and applications –Delimited text files from AIMS student system Custom application development –Subsidiary administrative systems –Dynamic web pages Programming environment –ColdFusion –Oracle stored procedures and triggers –IIS and Apache

22 Obstacles Primary data source downtime –Application upgrades –Cold backups Upcoming data source changes –New student system –Misc. AIMS systems

23 Obstacles Security concerns –Web access to primary data sources –Developer access to primary data sources LDAP server changes –New LDAP server –Potential scheme changes

24 Solutions Common development platform (2 years ago) Student and staff data repository Common authentication for custom applications

25 Repository Student and staff information combined from multiple sources –Current student system –Oracle Human Resources –Housing system –Campus card system Availability and efficiency –Close to 24 X 7 uptime –Flat file indexed data for faster retrieval –Easier for developers

26 Repository Updated nightly from primary data sources Scalable

27 Authentication Common user authentication –One ColdFusion component –Provides common authentication and returns a common set of data regardless of the data source –Can be exposed as a web service –Isolates developers from the underlying data structure and potential changes

28 What We Found Better availability of administrative data Insulates developers and applications from underlying data source changes Platform for future growth

29 This has led to…

30 Ability to Support Additional Needs On-line campus directories Health Services client information Campus Safety ticketing system On-line grades On-line course schedules Portal (soon) E-Portfolio (soon)

31 Ability to Support Additional Needs Populate WebCT course information –Repository has all necessary data “Face-book” of students –Data “hidden” in card system “Face-book” for faculty / staff (soon) Automatic course lists (soon)

32 So, what did we learn?

33 Make Better Use of What You Have Large investment in existing data –Time –Effort –Money Original databases are silos of information Most databases only use original application(s) Most “custom” apps are used to… –View same data (within one silo) –By same department / users

34 Make Better Use of What You Have Repository cuts across the silos Once in repository, easy to use / access –By everyone Repository creates ready opportunities for new applications

35 Growing the Repository? Currently fed by other databases Not authoritative Perhaps extend it to store user prefs –Portal –Mailing list preferences –Face book preferences (for faculty & staff)

36 And the biggest benefit?

37 The Biggest Benefit(s) Opportunity for “academic” and “administrative” IT staff to talk Brainstorming about other possibilities Craft an elegant solution to meet needs of “both” groups

38 We Have Saved time Met needs Allowed for growth Created opportunities to collaborate –Across the campus –Within the department

39 Questions?

40 Thank you!


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