This article is designed for IT professionals or those who have a background in running feeds and just want the technical specifications for running copy feeds. If you would like more generalized information on the uses and benefits of Feeds, or you need access to tutorials on constructing and running Feeds, consider visiting the General Information articles and How-Tos for Feeds.
Removing data without feeds can be a pain, particularly if that data has a high impact on the users or courses in Concourse. With Concourse, we've strived to make data deletion easier with three feed options:
- Disable User
- Mark Course for Deletion
- Drop Registration
Using these feeds, a System Administrator could drop registrations, disable as many users as needed at once, and mark courses for deletion. Disabling users and marking courses for deletion have a similar outcome: impacted users and courses appear under your Admin Tools in the Purge area. This acts as an extra failsafe in case you accidentally included courses or users that shouldn't have been deleted (because accidents happen, of course!), and it gives you a second opportunity to "right those wrongs" before you permanently purge them out of the system entirely. Consider this process similar to what you experience when deleting files on a computer. When you delete a file, it actually goes to a Recycling Bin where you'd permanently delete those files. It's the same concept with disabling users or marking courses for deletion and going to the Purge tool to actually permanently complete the action.
Dropping registrations is a little less drastic compared to the other two data removal feeds, but it's an incredibly important function when running manual feeds! This feed does not disable users in your system, but it does drop their registration from a course or set of courses. This allows you to ensure you only have the appropriate users registered to a given course, and it helps improve overall usage and consistency.
Before You Begin: Important Feed Terms in Concourse
- Source: You'll need to select the "source" for the data you wish to migrate. It is highly recommended that the data provided by these feeds be derived directly from their authoritative source (e.g. often the Student Information System). This is critical to easily integrate Concourse with other campus systems because you can potentially cut down on inaccurate or incomplete information.
- Separators: All feed files need to be a pipe "|" separated text file. Since much of this feed data should be obtained from a report or script within your SIS, IT should have no issue producing this for you. However, if you are to generate the data manually, note that this is different than a comma-separated value (CSV) worksheet that is typical in Excel.
- Updates: Making changes to your feed file and processing them again will update all row data with some exceptions, such as the unique identifier(s) for a given feed row. For example, if a new user, course, or section identifier is entered, it will create a new entry and not update the existing one. Feed-specific exceptions are noted in the feed specification.
- Relationship: Feed files require a degree of coordination and sequencing in order to properly work. You can explore feed coordination for system data feeds below in this article.
Construct a Data Removal Feed
To actually construct an Item feed within Concourse, you will need:
- A plain text file program such as Notepad++
- The proper feed specification for the feed you wish to run.
Reminder: At the end of this article, you can download a sample Copy Feed.
Disable User Feed
Disable User Feed Row Header: USER_IDENTIFIER|DISABLE
Row Header definitions for a disable a user feed:
- USER_IDENTIFIER: The external ID of the user account being disabled (for example, asmith).
- DISABLE: This column confirms that the user account identified in the row is being disabled, or marked for purging (contains 1 for each row).
Disable User Feeds identify the user accounts in your system that will eventually be purged. Each row represents a distinct user whose account will be disabled. Note that running this feed only restricts the identified user accounts so that they are no longer active in your system; a system administrator must also purge the disabled accounts to completely remove them from the system. Disabling and then purging user accounts may become part of your regular system maintenance to ensure the secure access of your Concourse instance. You may decide to add this step to your employee off-boarding process or add it to your standard workflow, just like running course feeds. An example of a Disable User Feed is included at the end of this article.
Mark Course for Deletion Feed
Mark Course for Deletion Feed Row Header: COURSE_IDENTIFIER|MARK_FOR_DELETION
Row Header definitions for a mark a course for deletion feed:
- COURSE_IDENTIFIER: The external ID of the course being marked for deletion (for example, ENGL_101_TMPL).
- MARK_FOR_DELETION: This column confirms that the course identified in the row is being marked for deletion (contains 1 for each row)
Mark Course for Deletion Feeds identify the courses (syllabi) in your system that will eventually be deleted. Each row in the Mark Course for Deletion Feed represents a distinct syllabus that will be deleted. Typically, courses are deleted to minimize redundancy and ensure the accuracy of the syllabi within a Concourse instance. Remember that if the syllabus being marked for deletion and purged is a template that this process may require changes to course feeds to avoid errors with future syllabus creation. Just like with the Disable a User Feed, the Mark Course for Deletion Feed is only the first step to removing the selected syllabi from your system; a system administrator will have to complete a final course purge to delete the selected course(s). An example of a Mark Course for Deletion Feed is included at the end of this article.