In Insights Report Builder, part of Performance Plus, all the data is sourced from our Brightspace Data Sets. Therefore, as the Brightspace Data Sets (BDS) evolve over time, you will be able to benefit in Insights Report Builder as well.
Changes to Brightspace Data Sets follow our Change Management Policy.
Adopting Minor Version Changes
Most months, there are minor version changes to Brightspace Data Sets. This usually means that new columns and new data sets are added. You can choose to adopt changes immediately or later when you come across a use case. These types of changes will not break any of your pre-existing assets built in Insights Report Builder.
For example, in 20.20.09, we released Survey Objects as a new BDS and added WordCount to the existing Discussion Posts BDS. These are both minor changes. New columns will be added to the end of the existing data set and new data sets will appear in the Data tab in Insights Report Builder after the FULL BDS generates following your CD Update. Since minor updates happen in place, there is no action needed by you until you want to adopt the new data point(s).
Adopting Major Version Changes
Major changes, however, do require action from you to ensure that the reports you rely on do not break. Your organization can take up to 6 months from when the new major version is released to adopt it by changing the configuration variable: d2l.Tools.BrightspaceDataSets.Version. While a major version applies to BDS as a whole, it is common that only a handful of BDS’s are affected by the major version change.
For example, in 20.20.10, we will be introducing BDS version 6. The following major changes are expected:
- SymbolString, RangeStart, RangeEnd and AssignedValue are removed from Grade Schemes
- ActivityName, ActivityType, AssessmentType, AssessmentThreshold, AssessmentThresholdCriteria, ObjectLookupId, RubricLevelRequired and RubricName are removed from Competency Activity Results.
- LevelAchieved is removed from Rubric Assessment Criteria.
- LevelAchieved, RubricName and ActivityName are removed from RubricAssessments.
- SurveyName is removed from Survey Attempts.
- HasReleaseCondition is removed from Announcements.
- ForumId is removed from Discussion Posts.
Each of these will show up as new data sets in Insights Report Builder. All others without a major change will update in place. You can learn more about why these changes were made by reading this blog post.
D2L updates the out of the box template data flows and cards to ensure they continue working after the changes. You may also need to update your own data flows and cards to ensure they continue to receive fresh data updates. If you do not make any changes and you rely on a column that has been removed, the data will stop refreshing but the card will still show the state of the data from the last update. When data is relied on for decision making, it is important that it is up to date. Therefore, it is a good practice to review any work needed on your side in Insights Report Builder before you make the switch to a new major version.
Assessing the Impact of a Major Version Change
Here are the steps you can follow to assess whether you will be impacted by a major version change. Completing these before you adopt the new major version will ensure you are ready to keep your reports up to date for your stakeholders.
In the DataSets section of the Data tab in Insights Report Builder, search for each of the BDS’s affected by the change. In this example we will use Discussion Posts.
Figure: Searching for a DataSet.
Click on the data set name to open it and select the “Lineage” tab from the header below the navbar. This will be the current version you want to look at and the new version, 6 in this example, if the new version has already been generated.
Figure: Reviewing the Lineage of the DataSet.
- Here, you can see all the places this BDS is in use in your Insights Report Builder instance. You can see which data flows consume it, which cards leverage it and which alerts have been created against it. These will tell you all the places you may need to update when you switch to the new major version. If nothing else shows up here, there are no actions needed on your part. Templates owned by D2L Automation will be updated automatically. Dataflows that have breaking changes will be created as new DataSets for the next major version while those without any such breaking changes will be updated in place.
- Next, you’ll want to review each place the BDS is used to understand if the change associated with the major change will break a report. In this case, ForumId is being removed. If I relied on ForumId to join on another BDS, included the column in an output data set, or used it in a card such as a column in a table or a count in an aggregate, I will need to now join on Discussion Topics BDS to get that value.
- Repeat for each affected BDS to ensure you have captured all changes and impacts. When the version is switched by your administrator, the next generated data set will be imported into Insights Report Builder, ready for you to make any necessary changes.
- The BDS’s that have a major change will show up as new data sets. You can now remap your data flows, fusions and cards to the new data set.
What a Major Version Change Looks Like in the Insights Report Builder Tool
You will note that your Brightspace data sets in the Insights Report Builder tool have a numeral after the name that corresponds to the Major Version number.
Data Sets with non-breaking or no changes: After a major version change has occurred, the update process will directly replace all data sets with non-breaking changes to the next major version. The name will be changed. You will not need to take any action on dependencies on those data sets.
Data Sets with breaking changes: After a major version change has occurred, the data sets from the previous version will remain with all of their relationships to cards and data flows preserved. The new version data sets will be created without any relationships. It is your responsibility to remap the dependencies to the new version of data sets, handling any modifications needed to accommodate the changes (see process above).
Previous Version Data Sets with breaking changes: Will be removed from the system automatically when the data is updated if and only if they have no dependencies (flows or cards).
If you have additional questions about adopting a major version change in Insights Report Builder, please feel free to post below or reach out to your account team for some additional support and to learn about our consulting engagements.