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The Course and User Load process allows you to pre-populate Ares with course and user information, eliminating the need for Instructors to create course records and students to select courses to join. They also allow Ares to be automatically updated with current enrollment information throughout the semester.

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Configuring this process will require cooperation with those who manage your institution's registrar system in order to create and maintain the data export in the correct format to import into Ares.

Course and User Loading is configured in the Ares Customization Manager under System | Course and User Loads.The CourseUserValidationCourseValidation, and UserValidation tables are also located here. These settings configure all the required elements as well as set Ares to force an off-schedule run of course and user loading if necessary.

The order for the Course and User Load process is as follows:

  1. Import validation data from text files into Validation tables.
  2. Create Users from UserValidation
  3. Create Courses from CourseValidation, instructor will be assigned
  4. Manage courses and add CourseUsers from CourseUserValidation

You may want all or only some of these parts of the load process to occur. There are four keys that control different facets of the process: CourseUserLoadEnabled, UserCreationEnabled, CourseCreationEnabled, and CourseUserManagementEnabled.

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In order to disable the entire loading process, the CourseUserLoadEnabled, UserCreationEnabled, CourseCreationEnabled, and CourseUserManagementEnabled keys ALL need to be set to No.

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Staff-initiated changes to UserType will not be overridden by the CourseUserLoads process. The CourseUserLoads process will only change users whose AddedBy field is equal to 'Dataload' to avoid reverting changes made by Staff or other entities.

Customization Keys

AutoClearPreregisteredUsers

Indicates if users that are added from the UserValidation table and/or through the web service (your course management system) are automatically cleared. Example: Yes, No

CourseCreationEnabledIf this key is set to yes, when the Course and User load process runs, courses which do not already exist will be created from data in the CourseValidation table. The instructor specified in the CourseUserValidation table will be assigned as the instructor. If the specified instructor does not exist, a placeholder ValidationUser will be specified as the instructor for that course. Example: Yes, No

CourseUserLoadEnabled

If this key is set to yes, when the Course and User load process runs, System Manager will parse the validation text files and insert them into the validation tables. Example: Yes, No

CourseUserLoadRunNow

Setting this key to Yes will force System Manager to run an off-schedule course user load and management within one minute, after which this key will be reset to No. Example: Yes, No

CourseUserLoadRunTime

A comma-separated list of the times of day the Ares System Manager will perform its course and user load and management. Example: 4:00 AM

It runs once daily by default, at a time specified in the Customization Manager. You can configure the System Manager to update the validation tables more than once daily by adding a comma-separated list of run times. For example, you could set values of  "2:00AM, 12:00PM, 10:00PM". "2:00AM,2:00PM" would also work, as well as "2:00 AM, 14:00".

CourseUserManagement
Enabled
If this key is set to yes, when the Course and User load process runs, courses and their enrollments will be updated based on validation data. Example: Yes, No

CourseUserLoadStatus

Indicates if the System Manager is loading or managing course enrollment data. This value is read only.

CourseUserValidationDataPath

Indicates the local path on the server where course and user validation text files are placed for loading. Example: C:\Ares\ValidationData\

RemoveMissingCourse
Instructors

When managing course enrollment data, should Ares remove current instructors if they are not in the Enrollment Data? Example: Yes, No

When this key is set to Yes, the System Manager will remove instructors/proxies that are in the CourseUsers table but not in CourseUserValidation. This is handled during the management portion of the process after the data has already been imported into the validation tables. This will completely remove them from the course since the CourseUserValidation table should be an accurate reflection of users who are enrolled in a course (or have a role in the course as an instructor or proxy). If for some reason a user is no longer considered an instructor for a course but is still involved with the course, the CourseUserValidation table should reflect that by changing the user's UserType in the course from Instructor or Proxy to User.

UpdateCourseEnrollment

When managing course enrollment data, should Ares update the course enrollment number based on the number of students in the enrollment data? Example: Yes, No

UserCreationEnabledIf this key is set to yes, when the Course and User load process runs, users will be created from data in the UserValidation table. Example: Yes, No
EnableUserValidationNewUsersIf set to yes, patron data added to the User Validation table will auto-populate the registration page for new users. Valid for LDAP and Remote Authentication configurations. Example: Yes, No

Creating Files

Course and user loading is a function controlled by the Ares System Manager. You configure the System Manager to parse data from the validation files into the validation tables and then manage courses (adding and removing users and instructors for the course automatically).

Two types of validation files need to be created to incorporate registrar data: fields files and data files. Once the validation files are uploaded to the server, the Ares System Manager parses the data to the three validation tables in the database:

  • CourseValidation
  • CourseUserValidation
  • UserValidation

They are then used to populate the course and user records and the corresponding database tables: CourseUsers, Courses, and Users.

The Validation Files

Sites are responsible for providing and maintaining the validation files and for uploading new files frequently to keep the Ares database current. The files are to be uploaded to the server via ftp or file share on a path defined by the CourseUserValidationDataPath key. It is important to be sure that you keep current and comprehensive data files because when new data is imported it replaces all existing information as opposed to appending it.

Samples of the validation files are placed in the C:\Ares\ValidationData folder on the server during fresh installations and updates to Ares.

The Fields Files 

The fields files are tab delimited files that define the order of the data being inserted into the respective Ares tables. The fields in each file must match with field names in the database tables and as a result cannot be renamed. Listed below are the three fields files, the tables they populate, and the database fields you are required to include. See the sample .txt files to view all of of the available fields.

Fields Files

Corresponding Validation / Database Tables

Required Fields

CourseFields.txt

CourseValidation / Courses

The StartDate and StopDate fields, required in CourseFields.txt in earlier versions of Ares, are not required in Ares 4.0 and higher. If values are not supplied for these fields in the data file, the value defaults to the semester date.

CourseUserFields.txt

CourseUserValidation / CourseUsers

This file must contain all three of the fields specified: RegistrarCourseID, LibraryID, UserType.

UserFields.txt

UserValidation / Users

This file must contain the Username and LibraryID fields.

Note that you do not have to import all of the fields from the CourseFields.txt and UserFields.txt fields files. If you do not wish to import all of the fields specified, you can either leave a blank in the data file to represent the field or remove the field from the fields file.

The Data Files

The data files are tab delimited files that contain the actual data to be imported into Ares. Listed below are the three data files, the tables they populate, and the database fields that must contain data. See the sample .txt files to view examples of the data included in the files.

Data File

Corresponding Validation / Database Tables

Required Data

Courses.txt

CourseValidation / Courses

This file must contain data for the RegistrarCourseID field. The value for this field must be unique.

CourseUsers.txt

CourseUserValidation / CourseUsers

This file must contain data for all three of the fields specified: RegistrarCourseID, LibraryID, UserType. Valid values for UserType are User, Instructor, and ProxyInstructor. There can only be one Instructor value in this table. See Loading Courses with Multiple Instructors below for further information.

Users.txt

UserValidation / Users

This file must contain data for the Username and LibraryID fields. The values for these fields must be unique.

The Validation Tables and the Database Tables

The validation tables used in course and user loading populate specific Ares database tables:

Validation TableDatabase Table
CourseValidationCourses
CourseUserValidationCourseUsers
UserValidationUsers

Ares includes the CourseValidation, CourseUserValidation, and UserValidation tables in the Ares Customization Manager for easy access. This supplies a convenient way for you to test your loading process and see what the Ares System Manager imported. It also allows you to make corrections to the data manually, without having to do a whole new import if you notice something wrong.