Technology Center

August 17, 2018

College Databases Annual Plan 2018-19

Here are the projects we have lined up for the coming academic year: Summer 2018 through Spring 2019.

We have an extensive backlog of valuable projects we want to deliver. This means we have to be selective and prioritize. We share this plan to let you know where we are headed, but also to solicit your feedback. Your input about value and priority of particular projects will help our decision making process.

Timeline estimations for the following projects are calendar estimates that predict how long a project will take while also taking care of maintenance, administration, and “mini features”.

Mini Feature Development

Users of the live systems regularly request new features. These are small projects that can generally be completed within a few days. Because these are established systems with experienced users and stable workflows these mini changes are often where we can get the most benefit for development effort.

Because “Mini features” can be imagined, planned, and implemented quickly we don’t try to capture them in this annual plan. However the specific projects listed below are time estimated assuming we will be spending time on these small asides.

2017-18 Scheduled Projects

Rubrics Update

  • Refine the Rubric creation tools, scoring tools, and Rubric reports in Applicant Review.
  • Institutional value: Rubrics are valuable because they provide an efficient, consistent, quantifiable evaluation of candidates. This allow the college to review consistently, make good decisions, and evaluate our review process. Smoothly working tools make programs more likely to use the tools. Better ability to extract data encourages better decision making and process evaluation.
  • Timeline: July 2018, 2 months

Person & Authorization

  • Update Person database to provide general person search, person overview to all users. Build an Authorization workflow in person where a supervisor requests access to college databases for a worker. Automatically expire authorizations except for regular employees. Keep record of data agreements in Person database.
  • Institutional value: We have nearly 1,200 people with some level of authorization in our college databases. There is not a practical approach to regularly reviewing these authorizations. We need to have systems in place to do the right thing automatically and facilitate review of edge cases.
  • Timeline: September 2018, 1 month


  • Add commitments to Budgets database. Commitments represent agreed upon budget allocation for a specific purpose. Will track dollar amounts, budgets involved, status and people involved.
  • Institutional value: UW systems do not provide a method to record all budgetary commitments. Currently this information is stored in spreadsheets that are not easily cross referenced and require significant effort to maintain.
  • Timeline: October 2018, 1 month

Retention Policy

  • Implement record purge in Applicant Review that follows UW records retention policy while allowing college to fulfil state reporting requirements and to do historical analysis.
  • Institutional value: Allow college to be compliant with UW policy. Reduce legal exposure by deleting outdated material. Support institutional research, planning & budgeting.
  • Timeline: November 2018, 2 months.

Test Score Imports

  • COE receives test scores directly from several agencies, mostly around teacher preparation and certification. Further automate the test score import process. Build tools so that all scores have a Pass/Fail evaluation.
  • Institutional value: Reduce maintenance time. Allow test scores to be loaded more frequently keeping system fresh and useful. Provide clear meaning of test scores to users.
  • Timeline: January 2018, 1 month.

Keep Me Informed

  • Modify the Recruitment database so that the main college website becomes the catalog of programs and interests. Provide About Yourself form compliant with GDPR. Improve prospective student subscription, unsubscribe tools.
  • Institutional value: Make program interest collection easier for prospective students so we get more and more useful recruitment information. Make privacy and unsubscribe easier to improve user experience and keep us compliant with applicable laws.
  • Timeline: February 2019, 2 months.

Courses Modernization

  • Move Courses database to modern application frameworks: Laravel, Bootstrap 4, VueJS
  • Institutional value: Courses is our oldest operational database and runs on a framework that has significantly better solutions today. Updates will result in a more reliable system, better user experience, and greater developer efficiency.
  • Timeline: April 2019, 3 months

Other Projects in the Queue

These are valuable projects that don’t have a specific schedule yet. We may select from these projects if the scheduled work goes faster than expected or if we get feedback from the college to change priorities.

Placements and Partners

  • Improve the Placement / Institution feature in the Student database to provide tools for Institution relationship management.
  • Institutional value: Support programs that have high-touch interactions with partner institutions who are providing internships and practicums for our students. Allow for better experience for institutions and students. Support college goals to feature community partnerships (UnitEd).
  • Timeline: (Not schedule) 3 months.

Course Evaluation Needs

  • Add course evaluation needs to Courses database. Instructors will be able to document what evaluation they plan to use and when they need it by. AST will have reports that help them manage this workflow.
  • Institutional value: Instructors have evaluations on time. ASTs have support for messy process.
  • Timeline: (Not schedule) 1 month

Course Person Management

  • Users have the ability to create new Person records in Courses database when planning courses taught by new employees. These person records may have no reliable identifiers. We need tools to add identifiers later and clean out duplicate records.
  • Institutional value: Courses reporting depends on clean data. We want Courses to provide best information available. As we start using Courses as a data source for other systems (Hiring) it is increasingly important to not have messy duplicative data.
  • Timeline: (Not schedule) 1 month

Courses Better Course Model

  • Implement a new Course data model that handles time variant data and “wildcard” courses better. Our Courses database represents a Course (approved UW curriculum) as a static value. For example if the title of EDUC 201 is “Welcome to Education” in 2018 Autumn then a section of EDUC 201 in 2014 Summer also has the title “Welcome to Education”. The model works fine for current and future planning, but can be troublesome when looking at historical data.
  • Institutional value: More accurate historical reporting that can impact future planning. Better ability to create course variations (“wildcards”) that allow us to accurately attach Tags and Responsible programs.
  • Timeline: (Not scheduled) 2 months

Integrate Courses and Hiring

  • Use plan entered in Courses database to scaffold appointment requests in Hiring database and vice versa.
  • Institutional value: Reduce effort and errors by using staff planning in one system to automatically generate records or initiate workflows in the other.
  • Timeline: (Not scheduled) 1 month

Independent Study / Practicum Registration

  • Re-implement the practicum form with integration with UW Login and our Student database.
  • Institutional value: Reduce administrative effort, reduce student effort, reduce errors. Keep track of student work in single location (Student database).
  • Timeline: (Not Scheduled) 1 month

Trend Reporting of Applications and Students

  • Provide reports that show data over time so leadership can see trends in program applications and enrollment.
  • Institutional value: Surface meaningful changes in program populations to support program review, planning and budgeting.
  • Timeline: 1 month.

Server Dashboard

  • Provide a central dashboard and notification system that surfaces indicators that servers needs attention. This may be a simple home grown tool or implementation of a vendor service.
  • Institutional value: By automating checks and alerting problems developer time can be better focused on building new features and tool sets.
  • Timeline: (Not scheduled) 2 weeks

MyGrad ProgID

  • Applicant Review used to base program affiliation on which application the applicant completed. This is no longer the case but there are still big chunks of application that use this logic.
  • Institutional value: Cleaning out legacy code and messy work arounds reduce future developer work and errors.
  • Timeline: 2 weeks