The University of Liverpool integrates Worktribe Curriculum with its student records system to achieve a single source of truth.

Integrations are complex but essential for more efficient administration. By integrating Worktribe with other systems, universities can reduce data inaccuracies and save time on both processes and administrative tasks.

In this interview, we hear from University of Liverpool’s Worktribe project team about their objectives, approach and technology used in the successful integration between Worktribe Curriculum and the University’s student records system, Banner.

University of Liverpool

Firstly, tell us a little about the University of Liverpool’s journey with Worktribe so far.

In August 2015, the University of Liverpool issued a tender for a curriculum management system. The objective was to implement a system with a full workflow for curriculum development and approvals, replacing manual processes and streamlining the management of their curricula information. It was also important that the system was easy and intuitive for academics and administrators to use.

After a thorough procurement process, we selected Worktribe as our chosen Curriculum Management System, and in September 2016 the project was kicked off.  

The implementation and configuration of Worktribe was a collaborative effort which included environment set up, defining of roles and structures, data mapping, integrations, testing and user training. 

Worktribe Curriculum now acts as the definitive source of truth for the University of Liverpool’s 4000 modules and 300 programmes and their Pathways, subject components and non-module courses.  Our academics and administrators use Worktribe to collaborate on the design and management of course and module specifications, with defined workflows and approvals guiding the process. 

So what were your motives for integrating Worktribe with your Student Record System?

We treat Worktribe Curriculum as the golden copy of curriculum data. As such, we need any new or updated module information to be fed into our Student Record (Banner). 

Banner uses the modules to form the baseline for programme structure and module instances are created for each academic year the modules are being run. Following on from this Banner then can complete other processes using the module information like registration.  

Overall, our process involves updating programme rules around February and opening the programme at the end of April/start of May each year.

Can you tell us briefly what technology you have used? 

We created some of our early integration using a combination of tools to simulate a middleware solution. Using SharePoint, .Net, SQL and Oracle Pull we could transfer the data from Worktribe into Banner. 

More recently, we have moved to using a middleware solution with Core.Net which pulls information directly from the Worktribe API, putting it through a series of validation checks before loading into Banner. 

How have you built up your approach?

Our student record system needs to be presented with data in the right format, otherwise there is a risk of incorrect information being created in Banner. 

We wanted to adopt an approach that would allow for a quality checking step and moving the accountability for the integration closer to our business teams who own the curriculum data and can readily assess it before loading.

As we build confidence in the transfer mechanism, we will look to automate more of the process to transfer curriculum data. 

Can you give us a brief overview of what is involved in obtaining curriculum information?

Worktribe’s APIs allow you to pull information from each of the major records. 

We detect changes to a module record in Worktribe, then conduct a full pull of information. Allowing us to do a change comparison in our middleware. This involves various steps to drill into modules, capture timestamps, link to all the sub-records and pull this information into a cache held outside both systems. 

In order to construct a full view of a module we will run anywhere between 12 pull requests for a simple module to 50 for a complex module.

This also allows us to take information from Worktribe like assessment type and convert it into the assessment record that Banner requires.

Curriculum information is presented to business users for checking. Our teams can validate the information, make any final adjustments then release for loading into Banner. 

And what do you see as the next steps?

We would like to see more middleware solutions for moving data between other systems in use at Liverpool. One aspiration is to build a solution to generate Word documents using the JSON style feed based on templates.

We look forward to continue to work with Worktribe on more sophisticated integration functionality in to the future.