The Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center

School District Data Warehousing
One of the many challenges facing educators today is accessing data that can be used to support the decision-making process and assist with planning school improvement initiatives. The Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center (MHRIC) has been collaborating with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and other Regional Information Centers throughout the state to develop services to address this issue. One such service is data warehousing. Data warehousing is the coordinated, architected, and periodic copying of data from various sources into an environment optimized for analytical and information processing. Specialized software tools, such as Cognos PowerPlay Web, are used to access the stored data. These powerful, multi-dimensional, analytical tools make a school district's data available and easily accessible through the Internet. The twelve New York State Education Regional Information Centers and the New York State Education Department have jointly entered into a contract with Cognos to purchase and distribute PowerPlay Web licenses to member districts. This reduces license costs to school districts and helps ensure consistency across the state. District information is immediately available from any computer with Internet access, a secure web user id and password issued by the Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center.

Definitions of Data Warehousing Terms
NOTE: There is a documented problem between Cognos software and Internet Explorer 5.5. You will not be able to use Internet Explorer 5.5 to log in to any secure Cognos cubes. Cognos is investigating this problem and has assured us that they will issue a fix as soon as possible to rectify the situation. MHRIC will apply the fix as soon as possible following the release. In the meantime you may access secure cubes from an earlier version of I.E. or use Netscape. To check your version of Internet Explorer, start your browser and select About Internet Explorer from the Help menu. If you need assistance in downgrading Internet Explorer to a previous version, please contact our Help Desk. 1. Sometimes the numbers in a row do not total to the number on the screen. For instance, my numbers may add up to 10, but the last column contains a 12.

A. This will happen when you have hidden column(s). The last column includes values from hidden column(s). 2. How can I save a view to Excel? Each time I try, I get a file with the extension of .exe and then I cannot open it in Excel.

A. This is how you do it:

1. Click on the Export to CSV button. 2. When the Save As window opens change the file name and give it an
extension of .xls. 3. Open this file in Excel. 3. How do I logout when I am done? A. Cognos does not provide a logout procedure. When you close your browser, you will effectively be logged out. 4. What if I need help with analyzing the data I find?

A. Contact your local BOCES (Orange-Ulster, Dutchess, Sullivan, and Ulster BOCES). They are experts in data analysis and the activities that support School Improvement initiatives. 5. Can I use a MAC with PowerPlay Web?

A. Yes.We have discovered that Netscape is the browser that works the best on the MAC.

6. Can I use any browser with Cognos PowerPlay?
A. Yes, you can use any browser with Cognos PowerPlay. Usually, it's best to use the most recent version. There are advantages to using Internet Explorer (IE) over Netscape. For instance when using the Save to CSV button, IE gives you a choice of opening directly with Excel or saving the file. Netscape forces you to save the file and you must type in the .csv extension as part of the file name. When creating a Bookmark with Netscape you must edit the Bookmark to change to a descriptive name. When creating a Favorite in IE, you are given the opportunity to type in a descriptive name as part of the process. Internet Explorer also seems to be more stable than Netscape. If I use a computer that is not my own to access a cube, will other people who use that computer be able to see my district's data?? A. No. Remember that closing your browser is how you logout of Cognos PowerPlay. Anyone who tries to access a page listed in the browser's History will be presented with the Cognos PowerPlay Logon screen. However, if you feel more comfortable, use the following steps to clear the cache and history.


For Internet Explorer:

1. Select Tools on the Menu bar. 2. Then select Internet Options. 3. On the General tab, click on the Delete Files button and the Clear
History buttons. Doing this removes all the cached files and all the History files from the hard drive. For Netscape:

4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Select Edit on the Menu bar. Then select Preferences. Click on Navigator in the left hand list. Click on the Clear History button and OK. Select Advanced in the left hand list. Click on Cache (under Advanced.)

9. Click on the Clear Memory Cache, then OK and also the Clear 8.
Disk Cache button and then OK.

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