This lesson provides an overview on importing your course data information.
About Courses Data
The Course import (courses.txt) creates your entire course catalog in DnA. The courses.txt file should contain all courses, active or inactive, that will be referenced in either your mastschd.txt or transcripts.txt files.
About Importing Courses
The courses.txt file is the process by which all courses are loaded into DnA. The courses.txt file is essentially a district wide course catalog. In order for data to load correctly in DnA, it is very important that your course catalog contains unique courses. Ideally, there are only a couple of possible versions of a course represented in the courses.txt file. The courses should identify the core course. Sections, in the master schedule file, would then identify instances of those courses as they exist in the master schedule. The key for the courses.txt file is the Course ID. Everything in the file loads off of the unique Course ID.
- Course ID
- Long Name
- Start Grade Level
- End Grade Level
Course ID is the key identifier for this dataset. The Course ID should be a unique value for each course in the file. It is required that, for the entire installation, the value is guaranteed to be unique. Course IDs cannot be recycled or reused. They must be unique across all sites. For example, a course of Algebra 1 should always be referred to throughout your DnA installation as the same Course ID over time. Current and historic master schedule data as well as all transcript data should refer to any instance of Algebra 1 by the same course ID.
Long Name is the title of the course. Generally the longname is an un-abbreviated title of the course as it exists in your course catalog.
Start Grade Level and End Grade Level identify the lowest (Start Grade Level) and highest (End Grade Level) to which a course is applicable. For example, if and Algebra 1 course can only be taken by students in grades 7 through 12, then the Start Grade Level would be 7th grade and the End Grade Level would be 12th grade. Keep in mind that with the grade levels, the expectation is that the grade levels referenced in this file will align to the DnA grade level IDs.
If any of the required fields are not provided or if any of the required fields do not align to the designated field types or values, the entire record will not import. Problems with required fields will generate import errors.
Whether or not a field is required refers to basic, minimal operation of the system. With only the required fields your DnA installation will work, however, it will not be configured optimally. Additionally, beyond minimal functionality and basic reporting, in an DnA Student Information (ISI) installation as much data as can possibly be provided should be imported. Many non required fields are used in basic reports and compliance reporting. This is especially true for the courses.txt file. Every field in this file, while not required is extremely important for a complete setup of an ISI installation!
Non-Required, but Highly Recommended Fields
- Short Name
- Department Name
- Site IDs
- AG Requirements (California)
- Course Weight
- Max Credits
- State Course ID
- State Course Name
Short Name is very similar to the Long Name, but generally it is the abbreviated version of the course. For example, if a course Long Name is Algebra 1 then often times the Short Name would be something like ALG1.
Department Name is an extremely valuable field. This is a reference to the department to which this course primarily aligns. The department data provided in this field is oftentimes used for filtering various reports to help identify teachers or students by departments such as: Math, ELA, History, etc. This is a fairly open-ended field and the departments that DnA loads will be generated based on the data provided here.
Site IDs is a comma separated list of all of the sites at which the course ID is offered. This is helpful for identifying and differentiating courses across sites.
Active is a boolean field. Provide a 1 if the course is currently active or a 0 if a course is no longer active.
AG Requirements is a field that is primarily used in California installations. The letters A through G are used to designate specific course alignments towards high school completion (A: History, B: English, C: Math, D: Lab science, E: Foreign Language, F: VAPA, and G: Elective). These fields are not required at all, however, they are very helpful in setting up course requirements and are a necessity for setting up some College and Career Readiness reports that are available in your DnA installation.
Course Weight, Credits, and Max Credits are key course attributes. Course Weight identifies whether or not a course carries AP, Honors, or CP weight. The Credits field specifies the default credit value for a course. Max Credits identifies the maximum number of credits a student can earn if a course is repeated.
State Course ID and State Course Name are both used to reference the state course codes that local courses align to. These are very valuable fields for reporting.
- Has Variable Credits
- Is Specialed
- Max Capacity
- Educational Service
- Instructional Strategy
- Program Funding Source
- Cte Funding Provider
- Tech Prep
- Is Non Academic
- Non Standard Instructional Level
- Language Of Instruction
- Variable Credits Low
- Variable Credits High
- Designation ID
- Grade ID
In most of these data documents, the remaining Non-required fields are left undefined. However, the importance of complete course data in ISI cannot be overstated. As such, below is a brief description of all of the remaining fields.
Description- a full text description of the course.
Has Variable Credits- a boolean field to identify whether or not this course allows for variable credits.
Is Specialed- a boolean field to identify whether or not this course a Special Ed course.
Max Capacity- an integer value that is used to define the default maximum student capacity for this course.
Educational Service- DEFINITION NEEDED
Instructional Strategy- DEFINITION NEEDED
Program Funding Source- DEFINITION NEEDED
Cte Funding Provider- DEFINITION NEEDED
Tech Prep- a boolean field to identify whether or not this is a tech prep course.
Is Non Academic- DEFINITION NEEDED
Non Standard Instructional Level- DEFINITION NEEDED
Language Of Instruction- DEFINITION NEEDED
Variable Credits Low- if this course was identified as having variable credits, what is the minimum number of credits that can be given for this course?
Variable Credits High- if this course was identified as having variable credits, what is the maximum number of credits that can be given for this course?
Designation ID- DEFINITION NEEDED
Grade ID- DEFINITION NEEDED
In some student information systems there is not a consistent course catalog across the district with unique Course IDs. Course IDs are sometimes assigned as the site level so there is no singular ID for the Algebra 1 course. This creates significant challenges in reporting.
To learn more about available files to import into DnA, visit Optional Datasets.