Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

You are viewing an old version of this page. View the current version.

Compare with Current View Page History

« Previous Version 4 Next »


This document describes support of UW course groups in the UW groups service, including naming, data integration, data quality, lifecycle, and access control. Course groups are intended to support effective and efficient day-to-day operations of current UW programs designed for students by providing timely, accurate groups representing course membership.  Course groups are based on data integration between the student data base (SDB) and the groups service, such that a UW Group ID exists for each course section in SDB, identified by its section, number, curriculum code, year, and quarter, for courses offered during the current quarter and three previous quarters. The groups are updated nightly, Sunday through Friday.


The following table illustrates a couple of course groups:

Group ID

Display Name

Effective Membership



Instructors for and students enrolled in CSE142A during winter quarter 2010



Instructors for and students enrolled in INFO100a during spring quarter 2010

Course Group IDs

UW course groups are identified by UW Group IDs that conform to the UW Group Naming Plan. The academic course stem is reserved for these purposes.

For each course section there is a corresponding UW Group ID with the following syntax:


Here 'yyyy' is the 4-digit year and 'qqq' is one of ['win', 'spr', 'sum', 'aut']. The other attributes correspond with the curriculum code, course number, and course section ID, respectively.

INCOMPLETE: Implementation of UW Group IDs for course groups is incomplete and inconsistent (as of 22-Feb-2010). For example, although UWWI Active Directory implements them fully, the Groups Directory Service and Groups Web Service provide only incomplete implementations. This is noted in places, also inconsistently.

Data Integration

The following table summarizes the most relevant aspects of data integration between the SDB and the groups service, related to identifiers, display names, descriptions, memberships, contacts, and access controls.

Group Attribute

Data Integration Notes

Group ID

Group IDs for course groups include time schedule data from SDB (see the UW Time Schedule for reference data).

Since curriculum codes are uppercase and contain spaces and occasional ampersands, the following transformations are applied to conform to naming conventions:

  1. Initial and trailing spaces are removed
  2. All letters are converted to lower case
  3. All internal spaces are replaced with dashes
  4. All ampersand characters are replaced with a dash followed by 'and' followed by a dash
    <ac:structured-macro ac:name="unmigrated-wiki-markup" ac:schema-version="1" ac:macro-id="b6ba8720-cf3a-4b86-8434-153ca7fdc28c"><ac:plain-text-body><![CDATA[# Any remaining characters not in [-], [A-Z], [0-9] are replaced with the period '.' character


Group Display Name

Display names for course groups are based on the course title, e.g.


Group Description

INCOMPLETE: Course group descriptions are incomplete. They should describe the groups but also communicate appropriate use guidelines:

"This group is updated nightly from the Student Database. It is available for appropriate business purposes in support of programs designed for UW students. Access to the membership is controlled because it contains confidential student information that falls under the protections of FERPA. See for more information about use of FERPA-protected information. Please contact for questions about using this group."

Group Membership List

Course group memberships include all students and instructors of record. The memberships are reconciled nightly, Sunday through Friday. They accurately represent current operational data rather than historical data. Members are identified by UW NetID.

Note: Students without a UW NetID are not included in the course group membership lists.

Note: Teaching assistants are represented as instructors according to the instructor data in the SDB and are therefore included in course group membership lists.

Note: Additional student members are added to the memberships to represent their prior UW NetIDs and additional UW NetIDs that a person can authenticate with currently (but these additions are rare).

Note: Course entry memberships are maintained in accordance with the Registrar's Office practices for adding and dropping students: namely, additions after the third week of a quarter and drops after the end of a quarter, while being exceptional and rare, will be apparent in the memberships.

Group Access Controls

INCOMPLETE: Course groups have a membership viewer control that enforces the defined access control policy (see below). Only authorized clients are allowed to view these memberships.

Group Contact Person

INCOMPLETE: Course groups have no owner specified.

Exchange Status

Course groups cannot be enabled for use in UW Exchange. This business rule is in place to ensure the privacy restriction on the group memberships, which the current design of the UW Exchange service cannot enforce by itself.

Data Quality Standards

This section summarizes the data quality standards for course groups represented in the groups service.

Data Validation Rules: Validation rules are applied only to ensure that course data conforms to the constraints of the groups data model. Therefore, the accuracy of course groups, including names and memberships, is primarily determined by the quality and validity of the source data provisioned from SDB.

Timeliness of Updates: Under normal operating conditions, once course data is updated in SDB, updates will propagate to the groups service every Sunday night through Friday night.

Defined Error Rates: Overall, the groups service relies on SDB, as the system of record, to define the frequency of errors in course data. However, some discrepancies are expected between SDB and course groups for previous quarters, since not all updates to previous quarter data are propagated to the groups service. The groups service maintains previous quarter data based on the last time it was included in the source data feed.

Integrity Monitoring: The integrity of course data is ensured during secure transport between SDB and the groups service. Physical, system, and administrative controls are used on the groups service to maintain integrity.

Reliability: Course groups are provisioned from SDB using a process monitored to ensure reliability and availability of the groups. When abnormalities such as potentially corrupt or incomplete data feeds are detected during the provisioning process, updates are not applied until the abnormalities are reviewed. The reliability of course groups, once provisioned, is that of the groups service itself: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with rare exceptions.

Course Group Lifecycle Policy

The following lifecycle policy provides advanced notification of course group availability to help customers make informed information technology decisions, anticipate deprovisioning, identify other business needs, and provide feedback.

Lifecycle Policy: The lifecycle policy for course groups retains group data for three quarters. That is, at any given point in time, the groups service will include course groups for the current quarter and three previous quarters, plus any future quarters (when available). Course groups that are four or more quarters old will be deleted.

The method for determining the current quarter is to transition from one quarter to the next on the Thursday before the first day of each new quarter, with no transition between summer A and B terms. This schedule also determines when the older groups will be deleted.

Access Control Policy

The Registrar classifies course group membership lists as confidential and FERPA protected. Access is therefore limited to authorized users in support of official business and academic functions. Registration of non-person client use is required and is subject to approval from the Office of Student Academic Data Management.


University of Washington Time Schedule
Student Database Code Manaul (Valid Curricula)

  • No labels