Continuing Education to DARS Interface User Guide

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Continuing Education to DARS Interface User Guide


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This article serves as a reference guide to the Continuing Education data feed into DARS.

It describes how to data is brought into DARS and what logic and mappings are applied to it as part of this process. It is intended for DARS users to understand how information from InfoSys is used to populate DARS and how it might be transformed along the way to match the fields and options available in DARS.


The objective of this interface is to populate DARS with Continuing Education Department alumni details that are currently not available from SITS. There are two key benefits:

  1. The University Development Office and Continuing Education development staff will now have access to the full population of Continuing Education alumni within DARS. They are currently limited only to those individuals taking fully matriculated programs administered within SITS. Individuals who take Continuing Education non-matriculated courses are often wealthier retirees or overseas visitors with wide-ranging academic interests and as such represent a valuable prospective pool for future campaigns.
  2. Bringing Continuing Education alumni course details into DARS will enrich the information held on existing constituents and enhance fundraising opportunities for the wider DARS participant community.

The Continuing Education Department use an internally developed system called InfoSys, which contains a wide range of information required to administer and deliver their programs.

The scope of this interface is limited to approximately 40,000 alumni who have consented to being contacted via email and having their data shared with DARS. Going forward, new Continuing Education students must explicitly consent for their information to be included in a weekly DARS feed as part of the course registration process.

Continuing Education student records fall into 3 streams:

  • Matriculated students associated with an Oxford College – typically on part-time PhD or MSc/MA programmes. This data is maintained in SITS not InfoSys and is brought into DARS via the SITS interface.
  • Non-matriculated, accredited Undergraduate Diplomas and Certificates (non-matriculated, non-award bearing)
  • Non-matriculated, non-accredited courses – typically short, weekend programmes

This interface brings in student records associated with streams 2 & 3 above.

Interface Architecture

The interface is implemented in three steps:

Step 1 extracts the record set from InfoSys and passes to BizTalk as an XML file via secure FTP..

Step 2 maps the XML file fields (tags) in the DARS equivalent field and push the values through to the appropriate staging table.

Step 3 processes all the staging table records into the CRM.

"Diagram showing the data flow from InfoSys to DARS"

Infosys Extract and Export

The following data elements are extracted from InfoSys:

First Name
Last Name
Cont Ed ID
Email Address
Last Updated Date
No Email Publicity Flag (this is driven by the individual actively opting-out of communication around events and courses from Continuing Education when registering for a course)
Postal Address
Last Updated Date
No Postal Publicity Flag (as above this is driven by the individual actively opting-out of communication around events and courses from Continuing Education when registering for a course)
Phone number
Last Updated Date
Course ID
Course Name
Start Date
End Date
End Code (Discontinuation Reason)

Records that are excluded from the InfoSys extract:

Constituents who are managed through SITS
Constituents who have requested to be excluded from the migration into DARS (Opt-outs)
Constituents who are deceased
Constituents with incomplete details


  1. Students who are taking short courses will only be included in the feed when they complete successfully
  2. Records where only a first initial is available for the First Name will still be imported into DARS at the request of the Cont Ed Development Office.
  3. The extract will bring over one value (the most recently updated available) for email, address, and phone number for each constituent.

Data Import into DARS

Inserting a new Constituent Record

Constituent Matching

The feed will attempt to match incoming records against the CRM by searching on the following data elements in the following order:

  1. Cont Ed ID (stored as an Alternative Lookup ID in DARS)
  2. An exact match on First Name, Last Name and email address. Note the incoming email address will be checked against all email addresses held on the record.

If a constituent does not yet exist in the CRM, then a new constituent record is created and the Constituent Origin field populated with ‘Continuing Education (InfoSys)’.

The following tabs on the constituent record are then populated:

Contact – New Constituent'

A new contact record for address, email and phone will be added with the below parameters:

Start Date: Last Updated date from InfoSys
Information Source: Continuing Education (InfoSys)
Comment: Information added by Continuing Education <date of feed>
Type: Home – Main
Primary: Yes

If the No mail publicity flag is Yes in InfoSys, then a Do Not Mail - Continuing Education solicit code is added to the constituent record.

Similarly, if the No email publicity flag is Yes, then a Do Not Email - Continuing Education solicit code is added to the constituent record.

Note, a no publicity indicator on phone numbers is not captured in InfoSys. We therefore infer the constituent does not want to be called if they have specified they don’t want to be contacted via mail or email. If either the No mail publicity or No email publicity flags are Yes then a Do Not Phone - Continuing Education solicit code is also added to the constituent record.

Personal – New Constituent

The interface will only insert the following sections on the Personal Info tab:

Personal Info
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
Name Formats: created automatically by the CRM
Alternate Lookup Ids: The interface will insert the ContEd ID as a new Alternate Lookup ID of type Continuing Education (InfoSys ID).

Constituency – New Constituent

Constituencies are not inserted directly by the interface, instead they are automatically triggered by code already within DARS based on the constituent’s education status:

If a constituent is Currently Attending on any degree or non-matriculated course across the University, including Continuing Education, they will have a constitueny UO_Student.

If a constituent has a status of Graduated against any degree defined in the Graduate or Undergraduate folder of the DARS academic catalog, they will receive a constituency UO_Alumnus

If a constituent has a status of Graduated against any course or degree defined in the Other folder of the DARS academic catalog and they have no other education records from the Graduate or Undergraduate folders, they will receive a constituency UO_Associate_Alumnus

Education Details – New Constituent

The following information is inserted onto the constituent education record for each Continuing Education course:

Course/degree ID, course name and programme folder (always Other for non-matriculated courses)
Status (currently attending, graduated, incomplete).
Information Source = Continuing Education Department (InfoSys)
Source Date: Date of feed
Comment: Information added by Continuing Education on (date of feed)
Dates Attended From
Dates Attended To
  1. Graduation Date will not be populated for non-matriculated programmes.
  2. For students/alumni on short/weekend courses, education history records will always come across with status of Graduated. In this situation, the Dates Attended From/To will both be the End Date on the incoming record.
  3. If the incoming status is ‘Currently Attending’, then the feed will also create the following solicit codes: Do Not Solicit – Collegiate University and No Surveys/Personal Info Forms – Collegiate University.

Once all education records have been inserted for the constituent, the feed will re-evaluate the primary flag as follows:

Order all Oxford programs by Start Date where the status is either Currently Attending or Graduated (i.e. exclude Incomplete or Unknown)

The earliest Start Date program takes Primacy by default. However, if the earliest Start Date program is a Cont Ed (InfoSys) program, then the earliest non-Cont Ed (InfoSys) program should take precedence.

No education history attributes are populated by the interface

Attributes – New Constituent

Only the following constituent attributes are populated by the interface:

Country of Origin - Insert the incoming Nationality
Alumni Card Affiliation

Alumni Card Affiliation is determined by the length and nature of the course that the constituent attends at Continuing Education. If the student has completed a course of at least 90 days in length (determined by comparing End and Start Dates), then an Alumni Card Affiliation attribute with value of ‘Associate’ is created. If the course length is less than 90 days, the alumni is not eligible for an alumni card.

Security – New Constituent

Interface does not insert any information on this tab.

On creation of the new constituent record, a Relationship Manager of Central University will be automatically assigned with no Interested Party initially. After the first run of the overnight Autos, an Interested Party of Central University will be created automatically.

Updating an Existing Constituent Record

Where an incoming record is matched to an existing constituent, only certain information is updated by the interface. This is to prevent over-writing of data owned or previously cleaned-up by other DARS participants.

Personal Information Fields

If differences are found between the incoming value and the value already held in DARS for the following interface fields, the feed may only update if the Constituent Origin is Continuing Education (InfoSys).

If the Constituent Origin value is any other value, including BLANK, the feed should NOT update, but instead insert a warning record on the activity report:

First Name
Last Name

An important exception to the above occurs if the constituent has a non-end-dated constituency of Skeleton in the CRM. In this situation the only fields that may be updated by the interface are as follows:

First Name
Last Name

Course details subject to restriction described below*

If the constituent has a non-end-dated constituency of ‘Skeleton – Gift Aid’ in the CRM, then in addition to the above fields, the existing address may also be updated. However, note that the interface will only update a matched address if the Information Source is Continuing Education (i.e. they are the owners of the information).

* For skeleton constituents, an education history record may be inserted or updated in the CRM provided the Education Institution is University of Oxford. However, no comments may be inserted or updated other than the standard Information updated by the Continuing Education to DARS feed…. For example, if a discontinuation reason is found in the incoming feed, it may not be recorded.

Populate each of the above tabs on the constituent record as follows:

Contact – Updating Existing Constituent

For each incoming contact detail, first check if the value already exists on the constituent record.

Note on matching contact details:
Emails must match exactly.
Phone numbers are matched by comparing the last 6 integer characters.
Addresses are matched by concatenating address lines 1, 2, 3 with the State and City, then removing all non-alpha numeric characters (e.g. #, “ etc) and comparing the remaining first 20 alpha-numeric characters.

If a matched value is found, the following flow chart shows the processing logic:

CONTED Feed 2 Rule logic.jpg

If the Information Source is Continuing Education, then the entire record may be updated.

If the Information Source is NOT Continuing Education, then only the contact Type (Home-Main, Home-Other etc.), Primacy flag and Comment may be updated.

If the incoming, matched detail is not currently Home-Main/Primary, then the Start date is compared against the existing Home-Main/Primary value. If the incoming detail is determined to be more current, then it is promoted. The existing Home-Main/Primary value is demoted.

If the incoming matched detail has a No publicity = Yes flag, then a solicit code is added to the constituent record, if it doesn’t already exist. The following solicit codes are possible:

  • Do Not Email – Continuing Education
  • Do Not Mail – Continuing Education
  • Do Not Phone – Continuing Education

If the incoming contact detail is not matched to an existing value, then it is inserted as a new value with Information Source Continuing Education (InfoSys). After adding the value, the code will compare Start Dates against the existing Home-Main/Primary value and will demote or promote accordingly.

Personal Info – Updating Existing Constituent

If a constituent is matched, the interface only updates fields on the Personal Info tab if the Constituent Origin Continuing Education (InfoSys):

If the incoming record has a ContEd ID that is not currently listed as an Alternate Lookup ID, then the feed will add the new value.

Education History – Updating Existing Constituent

The feed will check the constituent’s education record and insert any new courses that it cannot match. If it does find a match to an existing course record, it will update any changed fields such as End Date and Status. If the Status has changed, the feed will also check the solicit codes Do Not Solicit – Collegiate University and No Surveys/Personal Info Forms – Collegiate University and add or end-date if needed.

Academic Catalogue

Continuing Education courses will be created and maintained directly by the interface so that InfoSys remains the ‘master’ source of course details and DARS remains fully reconciled. Manual creation of courses by Support Centre staff will not be required.

Courses from Continuing Education will have degree IDs in the format of CE_####. These IDs will be maintained and owned by Continuing Education. The course name is displayed is the name used and maintained by Continuing Education.

Continuing Education courses managed by this interface will be defined as type ‘Other’ (i.e. not Graduate or Undergraduate)

All courses will have an associated department of Continuing Education and department ID of 7G01EQ (SITS department code for Continuing Education).

DARS User Notification

When a DARS User opens a record where the constituent is marked as currently attending a Continuing Education course they will see the following notificaiton:

This constituent is a currently attending student of the Department of Continuing Education. Changes to course details must be made in Continuing Education’s system not DARS. A weekly feed will update DARS. Personal or contact details may be updated directly in DARS provided the Constituent Origin or Information Source is not Continuing Education. Please contact the DARS Help Desk or Continuing Education via email development@conted.ox.ac.uk for further help. Constituent information such as interests, involvements, events, gifts, volunteering, relationships, interactions and communications will not be impacted by the feed and can be maintained directly in DARS.

This is to prevent changes being made to the record in DARS which would then be overwritten by the data feed from InfoSys.

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