Data Futures: Detailed design
The Detailed design phase ran from February to August 2017 and we’d like to thank all of our stakeholders for their participation and involvement. The end of the Detailed design phase has meant that we are now able to release our most complete technical output of the programme to date. This phase, and the resulting output, builds on the work, consultation, and feedback of the Collection design project.
Release of Detailed design phase output
We have now published the Detailed design output. As part of this output, version 1.0.0 of the Coding manual (Data Futures) has been released (please note, this is not the 18/19 Coding manual. The 18/19 Coding manual is still being developed and will be available via the normal process). Version 1.0.0 is considered stable enough to allow HE providers to begin their impact assessment and software providers to begin preparation of systems. The core principles discussed in the manual will not change but there will be additional material and guidance released as the approach is refined through engagement with Providers and as the requirements of the OFS become clear. These requirements will then be reflected in the Coding manual.
Version 1.0.0 of the Coding manual (Data Futures) includes the following outputs:
- Data protection guidance
- Data Dictionary
- Physical Data Model
- XSD – one XSD replaces previous three XSD
The following material is still being developed and will be included in the Coding manual (Data Futures) during the Alpha phase:
Scenarios - example data journeys indicating the treatment of student and course use-cases.
Guidance - at Field/Entity level.
Quality rules - Including WHEN…THEN statements and tolerances by Reference period.
In-scope dates - and more detail on the treatment of out-of-scope data.
Derived fields - detailed specifications.
Credibility reports - wireframes, details.
How is the Coding manual (Data Futures) different to previous manuals?
As Data Futures moves collection from an annual process to in-year there are a few key differences between the current coding manuals and the Coding manual (Data Futures). These are detailed below:
- To ensure clarity between this and the coding manuals in use for live collections, it will not, as with previous manuals, include the year or a reference number and code. Until it comes into use we will instead be suffixing the name Coding manual with (Data Futures).
- A new version of the manual will not be released on a yearly basis as has previously been the case. The Coding manual (Data Futures) will instead act as a permanent manual which will be updated as necessary.
- If required, previous versions of the manual will be made available. As Data Futures incorporates Student, ITT, and AP into one collection, we will no longer provide separate guidance for each as the Coding manual will be the same for all sectors. Find out more about the scope of the collection in Key Concepts.
- All of the new and updated terms and their definitions are available in the Glossary and will be updated as required.
- The Data dictionary (previously Data items) will be presented as a partially nested table.
There are a selection of new and important concepts that are essential to the operation of the in-year system. These concepts include:
- The scope of the Data Futures collection
- In-year collection
- Reference periods
Supporting resources have also been developed to help guide you through what’s changed and support the sharing of this new approach with teams and management:
What’s changed since the Collection design project?
Much of what was agreed during the Collection design project has been carried forward into the Detailed design output. As a result, some of the items previously available in Data Futures resources have now been incorporated into version 1.0.0 of the Coding manual (Data Futures) and will no longer appear separately in the Data Futures resources.
A couple of key changes to be aware of are listed below:
- The concept of Reference periods has been carried forward. Further explanation regarding these can be found in Key concepts.
- The concept of segments has not been carried forward. As part of the Collection design project, we used the concept of segments to split the data model into coherent groups of information. As the model developed during Detailed design, the significant amount of crossover between segments meant it was no longer sensible to split data in this way and that the Data dictionary would provide more value by showing all entities/fields in a single view.
Many of the queries raised during the Collection design project have been answered during Detailed design; those that are outstanding will be answered during the Alpha phase.
A development timeline will be released in the coming weeks, with further documentation and guidance to be released during the Alpha phase.