Originally published April 30, 2019
If you are new to reporting or Brightspace in general, the terms Org Unit and Org Unit ID are likely confusing, but it is the most valuable filter/parameter you can use to limit the data sets you generate to the scope needed for the specific reporting need. Four Advanced Data Sets (found in the Data Hub) allow filtering by Org Unit ID. They are: All Grades, CLOE, Instructor Usage, Learner Usage. This article will explain what org units are and explain three different ways you can find the org unit ids specific to your instance of Brightspace.
What is an Org Unit?
An org unit is a piece of structure within a hierarchy in Brightspace. A Semester, Department, Program, Course Template, Course Offering, etc. are all org unit types within Brightspace. The structure is unique to each organization and is configured as part of the implementation process. Each organization may use some or all of the possible org unit types in their structure. The benefit of filtering using an org unit higher in the hierarchy then course is that you will get ALL of the values for the org units beneath that org unit in the hierarchy. For example, if you filtered the All Grades data set by the Semester Org Unit “Fall 2019”, you would get all the grades for all the courses within the Fall 2019 semester.
What is an Org Unit ID?
Each org unit has a unique number used for identification within our system. It will not change, so once you have the org unit id for a Program, for example, you should be able to filter using that number without needed to update it periodically. Even if you change the name of the org unit, the number will remain the same. This number is an integer that will have no relation to any course code or other identification number your organization may use.
Where Are Org Unit ID Values Mapped to Org Unit Names?
Org unit IDs can be found in three different locations. Two can be found in the Brightspace UI while one location is actually another data set (ideal for developers/non-admins working with the data).
1. The easiest way to find the ids for a Brightspace administrator is in the Org Unit Editor tool. You can navigate there from the cog menu. In this area, all org units will be appended by their org unit ids. This area will also show some of the structure, so the children org units are clearer. For example, in the below image, there are two departments: Chemistry with an org unit ID of 144639 and Communication with an ID of 6855. The Communication department has been expanded to show the course templates that fall under them. If one of the course templates was expanded, all of the course offerings created from that template and their ids would be visible.
Figure: A list of Parent and Child Org Unit IDs
2. Another way to find the org unit id within the application is by navigating to the org unit you wish to filter by (generally in this case a course template or offering). Once there, the org unit id will be present in the URL. This method doesn’t work well for the higher org units in the structure that are more abstract (e.g. Program) but can be an easy way to quickly locate a course offering’s id for filtering.
3. The third method for finding the org unit id is likely the first choice for those using the API to run Advanced Data Sets, and those that are not regularly logging into Brightspace, but still need to use the data for reporting. All org unit IDs, associated names (e.g. ‘Chemistry’), and their types (e.g. ‘Department’) can be found in the ‘Org Units’ Brightspace Data Set. The one challenge with referencing the ids in this data set is that additional data sets are needed to understand the structure between org units, but this data set can be an ideal reference to keyword search when you already know the name of the org unit you need to filter by but not the ID – for example ‘Fall 2019’ from the example above.
Need further help working with data? Stuck on any of the above steps? Lacking one of the skill sets needed? D2L provides flexible levels of Data Solutions Consulting services that can assist with any or all steps in the process detailed in this post. If you are interested, please contact your D2L Customer Success representative.