Campus Data (https://data.uiowa.edu) will act as a data clearinghouse / portal for the University of Iowa. It will allow data stewards to publish information about their reports and other data items. This information can be searched and filtered by end users allowing them to quickly find reports and data that they are looking for. Today, campus users have to navigate various applications, data stewards, and technologies to pull together information they need to do their job. The ultimate goal of Campus Data is to greatly simplify that task and in the process move us towards a data-driven university.
Reports and other data items will continue to be created and hosted through tools that data stewards are familiar with. Campus Data will simply link off to those data items when the user clicks on them. By consolidating information about all types of data items published throughout campus, we make them easier to find from a single place. By offering a consistent way to describe and document data items, we hope to improve the experience working with data as well. Spend less time finding data and understand what it is telling you more quickly as well.
Where is that report? I remember looking at it 3 months ago. Was it in MAUI, the Provost's website, or did someone email it to me? Who do I even ask where it might be? Now that I have the report, what is the data telling me? This report has a GPA column, but which type of GPA is it? Who can tell me? When was this data generated, is it still valid?
These are the questions that we want to eliminate. Regardless of where the actual data is stored or reported from, if people think of Campus Data as the starting point for all things data related, then we think this will be a useful tool for both publishers and consumers of data around campus.
These are screen shots of initial prototypes and may change during implementation.
Note: These screenshots might show data that focuses on Academic or Human Resources topics only because that is the data that the team is familiar with. Our goal is for Campus Data to be used by all types of groups throughout campus.
The full set of features is still being crafted through discussions with campus, initially we will focus on three key areas of functionality:
Campus Data started as an internal tool for collecting and reporting metrics data in a consistent and simple way. Recognizing that this goal was similar to a broad campus need to improve how everyone finds, publishes, and requests data, we shifted our focus to consider what a campus data portal might look like. We researched similar projects and tools, including - but not limited to, the following:
In the Spring of 2015, we developed a prototype for Campus Data. This was a simple HTML mock-up that could be shown various groups to see if our ideas were consistent with their needs and pain points. At this point, Campus Data was still a small internal project with limited resources devoted to it. We continued to refine the prototype from April through June.
During the Summer of 2015, we started sharing the prototype with a wider group of users, data stewards, and stakeholders around campus. Discussions included leadership from IT, Finance and Operations, and the Provost Office. Those discussions helped to affirm our general direction and raised some issues that we will continue to discuss and react to.
We will continue to meet with others as we can. Use our feedback form if you would like to schedule a demo of Campus Data and share your feedback with us.
In the Fall or 2015, after validating the ideas behind Campus Data with these groups, we have formed a small team to turn the prototype into a working system. We are working towards implementing basic functionality as quickly as possible with plans to continue to evolve the system once it is in production.
We plan to release a small initial version of Campus Data as quickly as possible. We will then track usage and feedback and develop new features based on how it is being used. We plan on releasing an initial version of Campus Data six months after we have started development with that target being sometime in the first quarter of 2016.
At first, we expect to load the system with information about reports from a limited number of data stewards. We have not yet identified which groups or reports to load, but we expect to target frequently used reports and our goal is to populate the system with enough information to make it a compelling destination for users. We will focus on internal campus users first. Functionality for publishing public information will be planned for future versions. Initial functionality will include:
Our long term plans including continuing to develop the system to include features included in the initial prototype including:
While we will limit our initial release to data items published by a small number of teams, we hope to quickly learn from that experience and expand availability to more and more teams on campus. We will likely setup a queue of interested data publishers, and work with each team individually to assess their needs and help them get the most out of publishing their data via Campus Data.