Technology Center

June 20, 2016

Student 2

This Summer we are working on an updated version of the college's student advising database STEP. Project name while in development is "Student 2". The major outcomes of this update are:

  1. Structure data like UW student data so that updates can run automatically and be scheduled nightly.
  2. Provide reports about student activity that highlight when students need attention.
  3. Integrate with Appreview and provide access to meaningful application material.
  4. Restructure student groups to allow student to be part of multiple cohorts and other groups.
  5. Provide access to test score data through Student 2. Use this better for teacher certification.
  6. Refine Milestone system to make it configurable for more progams.
  7. Refine Placement data to support state reporting requirements.
  8. Decouple system from old and unsupported code frameworks.
  9. Clean up system visually and make more mobile friendly.

Data Structure

In our existing system, STEP, we have tried to group student work over time into a single record of a program the student is in and degree being pursued. Conceptually this makes a lot of sense. However the UW student data doesn't group student work over time this way. The UW data tracks what a student's major and degree was in any given quarter.

When a student's major or degree changed we would manually update those records in STEP to keep the related quarters together. Sometimes this logic was routine other times it was unique to a student. When we update the student data each quarter, historical data is left as is and new data has to be massaged to fit the system. This takes some manual effort and prevents us from updating more frequently.

Instead of coding the years of manual massaging (we tried and realized it was a sisyphean task) we are adopting the UW student data model. We will be able to tell you the program a student is in now. If you need it, you will be able to see what a student's major and degree was quarter by quarter.

We think this will get us the answers we want in almost all cases. What is the student's current (or latest) major and degree?

But most importantly, by adopting this model we can automate the import of UW student data, update daily, and keep Student 2 fresh and accurate.