We got this question from one of our clients; while we were writing the answer to the ticket we thought all of our fellow Syllabus Geeks could benefit from our answer. So, we have capture the info below; let us know if you have any questions!
Hello Syllabus Geeks,
We want to start using a feeds to create new course templates and populate and update the course descriptions on the course templates. I looked in the Support Center and did read over the related articles, but I need some clarification.
I understand that an item content feed can overwrite existing content in an item, but I am curious how this could affect group permissions and how running this feed would affect existing syllabi. I've done some testing and it doesn't appear to impact existing syllabi. Could you describe a scenario where it would remove content already present on section syllabi? Also, how does the feed affect permission on the template?
Syllabus Geek Answer:
Hello there! It looks like you may have some concerns about how feeds affect syllabus permissions and syllabus content. We are happy to provide some additional information so you can feel confident about your decision to use these feeds.
1. Regarding how a feed will affect group permissions/permissions on the templates: In short, it won't. Feeds do not affect permissions.
We agree that it is a good idea to update the course descriptions on your syllabi using information that comes directly from Banner, as in a data feed with content extracted from Banner and then processed directly into Concourse, as you've described in your email. It is true that if the item already exists on the syllabus, such as in the case you've described here (updating descriptions that already exist on a syllabus template) then processing the feed will overwrite the content of that particular item. The feed itself will not affect the permissions of the syllabus items.
The take-away from here is that an item content feed (like the course description feed you want to run) will *only* affect the content of that particular item - it will either overwrite anything that is already there or if the item is not already present on the syllabus the feed process will actually place the item on the syllabus and populate the content with whatever content you've included in the feed. In the case where the feed actually places the item on the syllabus, the item will inherit whatever the permissions setting is in your system for that item. In this case, you will want be sure that you run a report to check the permissions of the items in your system. We have an article about that, actually: Creating a Group Permissions Report
2. Regarding how this affect exisiting syllabi: The syllabi that will be affected are:
a. The syllabi you're updating with the feed (in this case, the course templates) will be affected because the content feed will update the content of the syllabus item (course description).
b. Once the information is updated on a template, any syllabus templates linked to that template will *also* be affected, because of the linked template hierarchy. If you were to make a chance to the Institutional Template, all of the course templates would be affected, since they are all linked to the Institutional Template. Since you don't have any syllabi that are linked below the course templates, no other syllabi will be affected.
It is important to note here that the section-specific syllabi are *not* templates and therefore are not linked to the course templates. These syllabi are stand-alone clones of the course templates. The reason for this non-linking is so that you can update the course templates throughout the semester to get them ready to clone for the upcoming semester without having to worry about content on the instructor's syllabi changing as a result.
*To see a list of all of the templates in your system, you can run an Item Report. On the "Select an Item" page, leave the "Syllabi" radio button checked and click "Next." On the resulting page, click the "+Advanced" button next to "Criteria" and scroll down and select "Templates Only" from the "Templates" drop down, then click "Search." After you do that, scroll down to the bottom of the list and then click on "All Results." On the resulting page you'll see a list of all of the syllabi in your system that have been designated as templates (e.g., the "Is Template" box was checked when the course was created). You can download a CSV file if you wish at this point).*
3. Regarding a scenario where running a feed would remove content already present on a section syllabus: The only time this would happen is if you run an item content feed (i.e., course description feed) to update the section syllabi *or* if for some reason your section syllabi were incorrectly linked to a course template, in which case those linked section syllabi would be updated any time the course template to which they were linked was updated (this is not the case in your system...but if you want to make sure you can run an item report for all of the section syllabi in your system...this report will tell you if the syllabus item is linked to anything).
If you notice in the item content feed the first column of the feed is labeled COURSE_IDENTIFIER. This is the actual identifier of the course syllabus in Concourse. It is how courses are identified for integration with D2L and for feed processing. Every syllabus in your system has a unique identifier. Whichever course identifiers you list in this column of the feed...those are the syllabi that will be updated as a result of you processing that feed. So as long as you don't have any section syllabus course id's in that feed, you're good.
As we stated earlier, since the section syllabi are not linked to the course templates, if you run a feed to update a course template this will not affect any of the section syllabi in your system.
We hope this answers your questions! If we did not address what you really needed to know or if you have additional questions, please let us know.
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