OFIS Notes from 28 Oct, 2010

Past CS tasks

  • Daniel: Research Book work: data cleanup.


  • Maron: Wayne's 6 missing grad students: one's a postdoc and won't show up. His GSO contact says "term or two to get new students into system". Though yes, all should show up by count-date in Nov.? ...One definite error: started in 2009, doesn't show up in our GSO extract.
  • next term: Office of Research will have new formats with more regular data.
  • Harry the co-op has been working on personal profile page: added middle name; watiam email (iff uwaterloo); has dynamic date on that page of last watiam date.
  • Vu: will put research support display / merit report into prod.
  • Beth: talking with dean's office: can get a clean source for: educational history/progress through ranks, from Dean's office. keyed by emplid (can Math supply similar? I don't think we have emplid for that.)
    • talking with HR: automating getting emplid for new employees- by supplying date-of-birth and name.
    • OFIS needs prominent notice of when updates were made.
    • Also: have a supply for Engr. grad course evaluations.

  • Daniel: proposal for transient errors:
    • assume data-sources will always be sporadically out of date, and faculty will want to see errors fixed rather than living with them.
    • OFIS should use business-rules to verify as much information as possible automatically.
    • Benefits include automatically flagging errors (transient as well as"real" errors), using business-logic to then choose OFIS's "authoritative" information, and for "real" errors, then automatically report errors to the faculty member and proper sources.
      • we know internally when there are new data-imports; we know what dates the user put for start/end dates; so I believe there are cases where we can assert the user-entered data is more authoritative. Such as using time-stamps for when data was entered; and cross-checking data.
    • A second phase can add other data-sources to solidify the "known-good" data, such as entered or checked over by Departmental or Faculty delegatees.
    • Use Case: CS prof who went from Assistant to Associate but Personal Profile wasn't updated.
      • Personal Profile Title is often redundant with the Employment tab's most recent Position Held
    • So:
      • IF Position Held has a start-date that is after the most recent HR update, assume HR is out of date, so use the Position Held for the Profile tab.
      • IF HR update and post recent position held are different, and HR is more recent, assume HR is accurate.
    • Second Use Case: editable Personal URL.
      • Status quo: don't know whether the value in Faculty_member.personal_url is authoritative, or if WatIAM imports are.
        • add a record for each user which represents user-supplied personal URL, an auto-generated timestamp for when it was updated by the user, and a flag for"assert as authoritative".
      • CS has a known authoritative source; our Research Directory; already entered into OFIS. Not sure if there are authoritative sources for Eng. outside of OFIS.
      • we can determine which should be authoritative, by time-stamps and "assert as authoritative" flag. We'd like to warn users if an error is found, rather than requiring faculty members browse and look for errors.
  • Discussion of errors; Marlon notes that GSO was defensive about errors in their data; Departmental sources (or Dean's offices) are supposed to tell them about errors, and never do.

  • Email from GSO sent to Marlon today: "As previously explained, if the information is not in Quest, it's normally because it was not provided to the GSO for coding. In some cases, the faculty member may not exist in our system (because they are not an employee of Waterloo) so we cannot add them. In Rosita's case, she was a non-degree student until January 2010 which means she did not have a supervisor. There was a change of progam done in Winter 2010 and at that time a supervisor may not have been indicated. Departments are required to run their supervisor data extracts every term and notify the GSO of any discrepancies or changes at that time. If they do not report these issues, then the GSO will have no way of knowing that they exist."

  • Can users eventually rely on OFIS as a the source they want to correct errors in? To feed back to "Official" sources?
  • Beth sees that in Engineering, perhaps faculty are less enamored of OFIS than administrators are. Because of data errors. What to do about this? Get the data right?
  • Daniel: departments and dean's offices will have authoritative information about grad students. Somebody has to assign them seats, computers, etc. We should be able to get that info into OFIS.
    • Spreadsheets to feed into OFIS. How to get this right? Can sharepoint emit data for SQL databases? Investigation says: Maybe. MS-SQL, yes. ODBC -> mysql/postgres? seems like no. ...It could certainly generate a CSV and automatically email that to a unix program which imports it.
    • Daniel: Could Eng. hire a co-op to find the proper method to interoperate sharepoint with SQL? Batch data-entry by admins in excel/sharepoint seems reasonable. Editing in OFIS web forms, less so.
  • Overall agreement: good idea for the long term.
  • Discussion between Marlon, Daniel, and Ray about how this might fit into WatITis talk.

Future Tasks

  • Daniel: research book followup, and WatITis talk prep (with Ray and Marlon).

-- DanielAllen - 28 Oct 2010

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Topic revision: r1 - 2010-10-28 - DanielAllen
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