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Queen's University

About the Student Data Warehouse

Table of Contents

What is it?

The data warehouse is a collection of data about individual students, applicants, courses, and instructors that has been created from mainframe databases. Data from September 1, 1991 forward is included about:

  • students who are or have been registered
  • students who have applied to attend
  • courses offered
  • awards offered
  • instructors who are teaching or have taught at the university

The complete academic record exists for all students who have registered at Queen's on or after September 1, 1991, including courses a student enrolled in prior to that date.

Information about current applicants is restricted to users in the Admissions Offices.

The data include:

  • biographic student data (addresses, phone numbers, names, citizenship, visa status, etc.)
  • registration data (degree programs, concentrations, academic years, terms, degrees awarded, BIU information, etc.)
  • course enrolments (course name, academic year, term, marks, course weights, etc.)
  • course data (course name, academic year, faculty owner, department offering)
  • instructor data (name, rank, courses taught, etc.)
  • applications for undergraduate and teacher education programs (biographic and application data)
  • awards granted to undergraduates and postgraduates (amount, type, account, etc.)

The data is stored in an Oracle database on a server in Dupuis Hall. It is refreshed from the mainframe system nightly. Access to the data is via BI Query from OpenText. Access from home via a modem is not available.

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What would it be used for?

The data warehouse is used to meet for both operational and analysis needs.

Operational needs would include class lists, sets of mailing labels, enrolment counts, various rosters of students, etc. (generally those sorts of retrievals that are done on some regular, repetitive basis).

Analytic uses might include internal academic reviews, enrolment trends, retention trends, distributions of marks or grades, marking trends, correlation of secondary school performance with university performance, completion rates, etc.

Once department staff are trained in the use and operation of retrieval procedures, it is expected that many of the simpler information requests that now come to the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) will be met by departments themselves.

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Who would use it?

Department heads nominate those individuals whose duties require them to have access to collections of private data about applicants, students, awards, or instructors. These users typically want to get an analysis or a listing of a group of applicants or students or awards, rather than looking at individual student records. Individual student records will continue to be available on the existing mainframe system using PCICS.

These users may be involved in collecting statistics for departmental reviews or reports for the department head. They may be designated student advisors who want class lists or who want to explore patterns of enrolment, marks patterns, or patterns in applicant or awards data.

Individual instructors would not normally have or need access to this data to perform their duties. Class lists are available to them through the department advisors.

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Cost and Software Installation

The cost per user of this system is $ 470, payable by journal transfer to Computing Services.

  • This year's maintenance fee was $ 83, but this is subject to change each year.

GQL manuals are available on-line as .pdf documents. No copies of the software are provided - the software is installed by the user via Ida once the user is authorized by the OUR to have access to the data and has paid for a license.

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Application to Access the SDW

New users are asked to email the SDW Administrator with the following information:

  • Name
  • Department
  • Email address
  • Account code
  • Any notes, including whether an available license needs to be transferred to the new user

Please note that this information, after review and approval by the SDW Administrator in the Registrar's Office, will be forwarded to ITS for invoicing and license control.

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Registration for Training

Registration for the training is automatic once the user has completed the above-mentioned web application form. Training is organized on an as-needed basis.

Each SDW user requires a userid (normally the same as their e-mail userid) and a BI Query password. The SDW account information is provided to users at the first training session.

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Mandatory Training

The Office of the University Registrar co-ordinates and administers the training. Users are required to attend a training session.

The goal of the training session is:

  • Basic Training: Data structure - to understand the data, its structure and relationships in the warehouse, and to use the data to consider how to answer typical questions, review & modify the standard reports.

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BI Query/SDW support is provided by the SDW Administrator in the Office of the University Registrar. Inquiries regarding the data or 'how to' questions about BI Query/SDW should be addressed here.

A comprehensive dictionary lists all possible data values for all variables. Periodic updates are made available when warranted. The data dictionary is maintained by the SDW Administrator.

A listserv ( has been set up for user support and communications. After the training sessions, attendees are added to the listserv. Any important information regarding the warehouse is conveyed through the listserv.

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System Requirements

Only PC version of BI Query is available

See the Open Text Website for system details.

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Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000