User-defined attributes, or custom attributes, can be created to support specific forms to gather the types of data an institution requires. User-defined attributes must be associated with a defined entity in the system. After being added, user-defined attributes become part of the outcomes assessment database.
Considerations for User-defined Attributes
Design the user-defined attribute with care so that the attribute can be logically located by filtering. After being added and used in a form, user-defined attributes cannot be deleted from the database. However, they can be made unavailable so that they do not appear in the user interface.
Each user-defined attribute must be associated with an entity in the system such as Course, Unit, or Improvement Project. Attribute IDs must be unique. IDs have a 20 character limit, must begin with a letter, and can contain only uppercase letters from A-Z, numerals 0-9, and the underscore (_) character. Attribute names identify the intended use of the attribute and the attribute description is displayed in the instructions for batch population of data.
Attributes can be made Read Only when referenced in a field on a form so that when the data is populated by a batch process it cannot be manually changed. Attributes can also be made secure so that only those users with privileges to view secure data can see them.
If an attribute is not available, it does not appear as an option when creating a field on a form. Making this attribute unavailable does not affect any fields referencing it and does not affect any values that may already be stored.
Create a User-defined Attribute to collect one-time student approval for the use of their content for assessment purposes. This saves time and mitigates the risk of asking students for permission too many times. Create a User-defined Attribute using the short string selection type. Select Unit Affiliation as the entity to associate the attribute with. Selections include "yes," "no," and "not yet." Label the attribute "Approved Data Use" (or similar). Add the new User-define Attribute to the template that represents student (institution) affiliation. Next, create a Distribution List that contains students who are set as "not yet" to send them an Artifact Template to collect permission. Other Distribution Lists that send assessment instruments would filter out those students who are set as "no" and "not yet" and include only students set to "yes." To learn more, see About Form Templates, Outcomes Distribution Lists, and About Outcomes Artifacts.