Construct and Process Item Feeds

Construct and Process Item Feeds

This article is designed for IT professionals or those who have a background in running feeds and just want the technical specifications for running system data 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.

Overview:


This article will walk you through the specifications for Item Feeds. Item feeds are typically used to migrate large amounts of syllabus content from an external system such as an SIS. For example, if your SIS is the authoritative source for all course descriptions, you might use Item feeds to migrate all of the course descriptions into Concourse and ensure no one can edit the items.

As a reminder, there are 12 Items on the syllabus:
  1. Meeting Times
  2. Contact Information
  3. Description
  4. Objectives
  5. Outcomes
  6. Materials
  7. Deliverables
  8. Evaluation
  9. Course Policies
  10. Institutional Policies
  11. Additional Items
  12. Schedule
If you have centralized data for any of these items that you'd like to migrate from your external systems into Concourse, item feeds are a great option for you. Below, you will find specifications for how to construct an item feed, how to coordinate Item feeds in conjunction with other feed types, and you can download sample item feeds for every syllabus item at the end of this article.

Most item feeds are constructed in a standardized way, but there are a few exceptions so make sure you carefully read the specifications for any specific item you wish to use in your feed scheme. Additionally, you might have custom naming conventions for some of these items. Make sure you know which items were renamed if you plan on using Item feeds to migrate large amounts of data.

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 an Item Feed

Below, you'll find the specifications for Item feeds. There are two format types you might encounter depending on the item:
  1. Notes Format: If an item has the option to add sub-items (e.g. Contact Information, Meeting Times, Schedule, etc.), the feed will allow you to migrate information into the Notes section of that item. It does not fill out fields you'd experience in the UI. 
  2. Content-Specific Format:  If an item doesn't have a sub-item option (Outcomes, Objectives, Description), the row header will be specific to the item.
To actually construct an Item feed within Concourse, you will need:
  1. A plain text file program such as Notepad++
  2. The proper feed specification for the item content you'd like to migrate.
Reminder: At the end of this article, you can download samples of each of these feeds. 

Notes Format

The following items use a Notes format feed to migrate information into the Concourse platform: Meeting Times, Contact Information, Materials, Deliverables, Evaluation, Course Policies, Institutional Policies, Additional Items, and Schedule.

Row Header: COURSE_IDENTIFIER|NOTES|COMMENTS|IS_LOCKED

  • COURSE_IDENTIFIER: This is the unique identifier for the course and should be a sequence already used in the SIS (e.g. 2018_SP_ECON_1100_2A). Also it is typical to use this to uniquely define the template set, which should be constructed in such a way that an SIS script can easily concatenate the parameters into a unique identifier (e.g. ACCT_4010_TMPL).
  • NOTES: This is the first name of the individual being added. This first name should align with all other systems and should not be a nickname.
  • COMMENTS: Comments are only shown in Editor mode on a syllabus. You can use comments to add reminders to editors, provide specific instructions, or .
  • IS_LOCKED: This determines whether the syllabus content is locked (=1) or editable (=0) from within the system by those granted such editing permission. It is typical that synchronized data be locked and migrated (one-time) data be editable.

Content-Specific 

There are three items on a Concourse syllabus that require a content-specific field in the Row Header.

Row Headers:
  1. Description Feed: COURSE_IDENTIFIER|DESCRIPTION|REQUISITES|NOTES|COMMENTS|IS_LOCKED
  2. Outcomes Feed: COURSE_IDENTIFIER|OUTCOMES|NOTES|COMMENTS|IS_LOCKED
  3. Objectives Feed: COURSE_IDENTIFIER|OBJECTIVES|NOTES|COMMENTS|IS_LOCKED
Row Header definitions found in content-specific feeds:
  1. COURSE_IDENTIFIER: This is the unique identifier for the course and should be a sequence already used in the SIS (e.g. 2018_SP_ECON_1100_2A). Also it is typical to use this to uniquely define the template set, which should be constructed in such a way that an SIS script can easily concatenate the parameters into a unique identifier (e.g. ACCT_4010_TMPL).
  2. NOTES: This is the first name of the individual being added. This first name should align with all other systems and should not be a nickname.
  3. COMMENTS: Comments are only shown in Editor mode on a syllabus. You can use comments to add reminders to editors, provide specific instructions, or .
  4. IS_LOCKED: This determines whether the syllabus content is locked (=1) or editable (=0) from within the system by those granted such editing permission. It is typical that synchronized data be locked and migrated (one-time) data be editable.
  5. DESCRIPTION: The course description.
  6. REQUISITES: Optional field if there are requisites to take the course.
  7. OUTCOMES: Typically a list of course outcomes, either bulleted or numerical.
  8. OBJECTIVES: Typically a list of course objectives, either bulleted or numerical.


Relationship and Coordination of Item Feeds

If you plan on running Item feeds, remember that the courses must already exist for you to migrate item content. Therefore you should:
  1. Run a course feed to ensure all courses have been properly created. As a best practice, remember to check the Feed Processing output and Feed Log for any errors.
  2. If you are using Item feeds on templates, you might not need section feeds unless you plan on registering users to the templates via feeds. To see more sequencing information on section or registration feeds, consider reviewing the Contruct and Process System Data Feeds article.



    • Related Articles

    • Construct and Process System Data Feeds

      This article is designed for IT professionals or those who have a background in running feeds and just want the technical specifications for running system data feeds. If you would like more generalized information on the uses and benefits of Feeds, ...
    • Construct and Process Copy Feeds

      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 ...
    • Automated Feed Processing

      Concourse uses POST over HTTPS to allow for automated processing of feed files. This functionality allows you to control how frequently you run feeds and immediately receive information about what was successfully processed or had errors. To begin, ...
    • Using Feed Logs

      The feed log contains feed files and output reports for system administrators to keep track of the flow of information into Concourse and how the information is behaving in the system. To access the feed log visit  Admin > Tools > Feeds and select ...
    • Using Feeds to Populate Syllabus Item Content

      Item-based feeds with syllabus content can be created and run to populate syllabus content in Concourse. Clients typically do this on an infrequent (e.g. once a year) basis to migrate from an existing syllabus or related solution, to populate a large ...