IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Tag Archive for: reports


Automation Will Set You Free, Sort Of

If you have a repetitive task then automation is your friend. The catch is that when anything changes your automation likely breaks. Still if you are running a report that requires a lot of check box selecting you might enjoy this tip sent in by Stephen Rondeau.

Stephen is using iMacros to automate running the Class List By Curriculum Course Section report.

Class List By Curriculum Course Section

I use the class list to get a list of all people enrolled in our programs, since I don’t know of any other way to get it. I run it multiple times just before and during the first two weeks of each quarter.

I use an iMacros script to select the right values from the dropdown lists‎ and generate a report in CSV format. That report is saved in a folder that is being watched for changes; when the report is saved, a script is run to extract and reformat the information into a form I can use to create user accounts, get class lists per course, etc.

– Stephen Rondeau, UW Tacoma Institute of Technology

Stephen’s automation is probably more than most people can handle but recording and replaying a macro is easily within reach.


iMacros is a Firefox addon that lets you record and replay repetitious work. The next time you find yourself running the same report over and over consider recording a macro.

Class List By Curriculum Course Section

Kimberly Swayze is in the top 10 users of the Class List By Curriculum Course Section report.
Here is what she has to say about it:

Class List By Curriculum Course Section

EDW reports are incredibly useful. In seconds, you can pull up student e-mail addresses if you are trying to contact students in one or more entire classes.

You can find out how many students are declared in your major or minor (along with their contact information and other helpful data), you can bring up specific groups of students (all international students, for example, or all freshmen, or all graduate students, or all students from underrepresented groups). You can create a list of all of your students who graduated in a particular quarter or year, or which of your undergraduates have applied to graduate.

These reports can easily be exported as excel spreadsheets (or PDF, word, etc.), and imported into an MS Access database for quick analysis or archiving.

– Kimberly Swayze
Academic Counselor, Undergraduate Advising


Thanks Kimberly for taking the time to tell us about how you find value in the Class List By Curriculum Course Section report. If anyone else has anything to add please leave us a comment.

What Business Intelligence Tech Do I Need?

There are a lot of options in the Business Intelligence (BI) world. It can be confusing trying to sort out which solution is right for which project.

One of the largest division lines is speed. Are you able to wait 30 seconds for your data to show up or no you need to immediately see your data rendered so you can move on to your next query?

Here is a light-hearted but handy flow chart reference detailing what SQL, reports, Tableau, and Cubes are good for.

BI Tech Infographic

Let me know what you think at!

Why Are The Reports All Jumbled?

Lisa Nordlund wrote in because she was frustrated with the way the reports were being laid out in the Report Manager. She was used to the report manager rendering a nice neat grid and could quickly find her reports by location.

Here is what is going on and a better method of finding your favorite reports.

We recently upgraded to the latest version of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), a Microsoft tool, and unfortunately the Report Manager doesn’t work as well with other browsers as it does with Internet Explorer.

So if that sloppy grid is intolerable there are two fixes.
1. Use Internet Explorer.
2. Use BI Portal.

Why is the BI Portal unaffected by Microsoft’s changes? Because the BI Portal is a custom web user interface that sits on top of Microsoft’s SSRS. It is a compatibility layer that lets us build in useful features that Microsoft left out like Favorites and Most recent reports.

Favorites and Most Recent Reports

Favorite and most recent reports

Did you know that if you use the BI Portal you can favorite reports and they will be listed on this page? Also you can find your most recently run reports on this page. The only caveat is that reports run today will show up on the list tomorrow.


Hopefully this little tip will help you more quickly access the reports you need. Please let us know at if this was helpful or if you are already using the BI Portal and what features you like.

Class List By Curriculum Course Section

Marjorie Olmstead was nice enough to share with us how she uses the Class List By Curriculum Course Section report.

Class List By Curriculum Course Section

I have used the class list in two ways recently to help with understanding the undergraduate experience in our major (physics).

First, I looked at the students who took at least one quarter of calculus-based physics in academic year 2010-2011 and compared this list to current enrollment and graduation data (also available through the biportal to determine where these students ended up at the university. Of over 2000 students, about 100 ended up as physics majors, while the rest are distributed among 120 different majors. This informs instructors of the class about the varied needs and goals of our students.

As a second use of this data, I used class list demographic data to determine the demographic composition (gender and race/ethnicity) of our undergraduate majors classes, both in a snapshot of our current classes, and in a cohort study (looking at freshman classes 4 years ago, sophomore classes 3 years ago, etc.). The results highlighted that our majors courses have both a lower fraction of women and higher fraction of ethnic minorities from traditionally under-represented groups than the freshman course (serving those 2000 students), which the departmental diversity and climate committee is now working to understand and address.

Another quicker use of the lists on the personal rather than departmental level was to compare the enrollment of my current 400-level class with that of the recommended 300-level prerequisite in the past two years to get a sense of how many of my students have that background as I prepare my lectures.

-Marjorie Olmstead
Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs
Department of Physics


Thank you Marjorie. I am certain that other departments are doing similar analysis. If so please tell us about it at If you aren’t then maybe its time to give it a try.

Class List By Curriculum Course Section can be found on the BI Portal.