My Blog: Creating Fake Course Data

10 October 2019

I need to show that my University Package works, so I am building a demonstration university website packed with oodles of fake data, which mirrors that found in a real university website.

The old stand-by "Lorum Ipsum" will only get you so far... In order to create a believable real-life facsimile, I have to source believable data for a variety of scenarios, and merge that data together in a coherent manner. The dataset will need to provide sufficient scenarios to use when testing newly created functions, and exceptions that need to be accounted for.

I need:

  • Courses:
    • ... made up of subjects;
    • ... which in turn are made up of modules;
    • ... with text and photos to represent those subjects.
  • People:
    • ... to teach those courses and subjects;
    • ... to support those academics;
    • ... to lead the organisation;
    • ... with photos and biographies to represent those people.
  • Text and photos to populate the other pages of the website:
    • News articles;
    • Events;
    • Projects;
    • Case-studies;
    • Publications;
    • Campaigns;
    • etc.

The core set that I am focusing on initially are the courses, subjects, and people.

Subjects

Courses in the University Package are made up of one or two subjects, so I needed to generate the list of subjects first.

My list of subjects must fit in with the university profile of the demonstration website, which is that of a Liberal Arts institution. As such, I created a mixture of arts, STEM, and education subjects, with a few outliers thrown in for diversity and interest:

  • The Arts:
    • Art and Design
    • Creative Computing
    • Dance
    • Drama
    • English Literature
    • Fine Art
    • Graphic Design
    • Interactive Web Design
    • Life Drawing
    • Multimedia
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Sculpture
    • Textile Design
  • STEM:
    • Computing
    • Engineering
    • Environmental Analysis
    • Environmental Studies
    • Software Development
  • Education:
    • Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT)
    • PGCE Primary and Early Years
    • PGCE Secondary
    • Primary and Early Years Education
    • Professional Education Studies
    • School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)
    • School Direct (PGCE and QTS)
    • Secondary Education
    • Teach First (PGCE and QTS, leading to MEd)
  • Other:
    • History
    • Law
    • Religious Studies

The list should be believable, with logical groupings that fit within the imagined list of Faculties. These were then arranged into academic levels, with some subjects having progression to higher degrees, plus the addition of a few post-doctorals and fellowships:

Subject Code Subject Level Subject Name Academic Department
AS ARTD Associate Degree Art and Design Art and Design
BS COMP Bachelor's Degree Creative Computing Science and Engineering
BA DANC Bachelor's Degree Dance Humanities and Law
BA DRAM Bachelor's Degree Drama Humanities and Law
BS ENG Bachelor's Degree Engineering Science and Engineering
BA ENGL Bachelor's Degree English Literature Humanities and Law
BS ENVI Bachelor's Degree Environmental Studies Science and Engineering
BA FINE Bachelor's Degree Fine Art Art and Design
BA GRAD Bachelor's Degree Graphic Design Art and Design
BA HIST Bachelor's Degree History Humanities and Law
BS IWEB Bachelor's Degree Interactive Web Design Science and Engineering
BA LAW Bachelor's Degree Law Humanities and Law
BA MULT Bachelor's Degree Multimedia Art and Design
BA MUSC Bachelor's Degree Music Humanities and Law
BA PHOT Bachelor's Degree Photography Art and Design
BA RELG Bachelor's Degree Religious Studies Humanities and Law
BA SCUP Bachelor's Degree Sculpture Art and Design
BS SOFT Bachelor's Degree Software Development Science and Engineering
BA TEXT Bachelor's Degree Textile Design Art and Design
CPD PES Continuing Professional Development Professional Education Studies Education
PHD COMP Doctoral Degree Computing Science and Engineering
PHD LAW Doctoral Degree Law Humanities and Law
FD FINE Foundation Degree Fine Art Art and Design
FD GRAD Foundation Degree Graphic Design Art and Design
FD TEXT Foundation Degree Textile Design Art and Design
MS COMP Master's Degree Creative Computing Science and Engineering
MA DRAM Master's Degree Drama Humanities and Law
MS ENG Master's Degree Engineering Science and Engineering
MS ENVI Master's Degree Environmental Analysis Science and Engineering
MA FINE Master's Degree Fine Art Art and Design
MA HIST Master's Degree History Humanities and Law
MA LAW Master's Degree Law Humanities and Law
MA MUSC Master's Degree Music Humanities and Law
MA PEL Master's Degree Primary and Early Years Education Education
MA SCUP Master's Degree Sculpture Art and Design
MA SEC Master's Degree Secondary Education Education
MA TEXT Master's Degree Textile Design Art and Design
PD LIFE Personal Development Life Drawing Art and Design
FELLOW HL Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Humanities and Law Humanities and Law
EYITT Teacher Education Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) Education
PGCE PEL Teacher Education PGCE Primary and Early Years Education
PGCE SEC Teacher Education PGCE Secondary Education
SCITT Teacher Education School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) Education
SC DIR Teacher Education School Direct (PGCE and QTS) Education
TEACHF Teacher Education Teach First (PGCE and QTS, leading to MEd) Education

Each subject was given its own subject code, which in turn was used in the generation of the course codes.

Courses

Assembling the list of courses took some thought. For single honours, it was a simple matter of picking suitable subjects and upgrading them. Combined awards had to be logical and sound appealing to an audience of school leavers. My experience within the education sector helped me significantly here.

Course Code Course Level Award Type Award Mode Subject 1 Subject 2
AS ARTD Associate Degree BA Specialised Art and Design
BA DANC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single Dance
BA DRAM Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single Drama
BA ENGL Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single English Literature
BA FINE Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single Fine Art
BA GRAD Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single Graphic Design
BA HIST Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single History
BA MULT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single Multimedia
BA MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single Music
BA PHOT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single Photography
BA RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single Religious Studies
BA SCUP Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single Sculpture
BA TEXT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Single Textile Design
BC DANC DRAM Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Dance Drama
BC DANC ENGL Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Dance English Literature
BC DANC HIST Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Dance History
BC DANC MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Dance Music
BC DANC RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Dance Religious Studies
BC DRAM ENGL Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Drama English Literature
BC DRAM HIST Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Drama History
BC DRAM MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Drama Music
BC DRAM RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Drama Religious Studies
BC ENGL HIST Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint English Literature History
BC ENGL MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint English Literature Music
BC ENGL RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint English Literature Religious Studies
BC FINE DANC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Fine Art Dance
BC FINE DRAM Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Fine Art Drama
BC FINE ENGL Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Fine Art English Literature
BC FINE HIST Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Fine Art History
BC FINE MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Fine Art Music
BC FINE RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Fine Art Religious Studies
BC GRAD DANC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Graphic Design Dance
BC GRAD DRAM Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Graphic Design Drama
BC GRAD ENGL Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Graphic Design English Literature
BC GRAD HIST Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Graphic Design History
BC GRAD MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Graphic Design Music
BC GRAD RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Graphic Design Religious Studies
BC HIST MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint History Music
BC HIST RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint History Religious Studies
BC MULT DANC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Multimedia Dance
BC MULT DRAM Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Multimedia Drama
BC MULT ENGL Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Multimedia English Literature
BC MULT HIST Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Multimedia History
BC MULT MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Multimedia Music
BC MULT RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Multimedia Religious Studies
BC MUSC RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Music Religious Studies
BC PHOT DANC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Photography Dance
BC PHOT DRAM Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Photography Drama
BC PHOT ENGL Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Photography English Literature
BC PHOT HIST Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Photography History
BC PHOT MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Photography Music
BC PHOT RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Photography Religious Studies
BC SCUP DANC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Sculpture Dance
BC SCUP DRAM Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Sculpture Drama
BC SCUP ENGL Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Sculpture English Literature
BC SCUP HIST Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Sculpture History
BC SCUP MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Sculpture Music
BC SCUP RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Sculpture Religious Studies
BC TEXT DANC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Textile Design Dance
BC TEXT DRAM Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Textile Design Drama
BC TEXT ENGL Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Textile Design English Literature
BC TEXT HIST Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Textile Design History
BC TEXT MUSC Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Textile Design Music
BC TEXT RELG Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Combined Award Joint Textile Design Religious Studies
BC FINE GRAD Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Fine Art Graphic Design
BC FINE MULT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Fine Art Multimedia
BC FINE PHOT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Fine Art Photography
BC FINE SCUP Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Fine Art Sculpture
BC FINE TEXT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Fine Art Textile Design
BC GRAD MULT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Graphic Design Multimedia
BC GRAD PHOT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Graphic Design Photography
BC GRAD SCUP Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Graphic Design Sculpture
BC GRAD TEXT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Graphic Design Textile Design
BC MULT PHOT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Multimedia Photography
BC MULT SCUP Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Multimedia Sculpture
BC MULT TEXT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Multimedia Textile Design
BC PHOT SCUP Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Photography Sculpture
BC PHOT TEXT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Photography Textile Design
BC SCUP TEXT Bachelor's Degree BA (Hons) Creative Arts Joint Sculpture Textile Design
BC DANC ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Dance Environmental Studies
BC DANC IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Dance Interactive Web Design
BC DRAM ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Drama Environmental Studies
BC DRAM IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Drama Interactive Web Design
BC ENGL ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint English Literature Environmental Studies
BC ENGL IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint English Literature Interactive Web Design
BC FINE ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Fine Art Environmental Studies
BC FINE IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Fine Art Interactive Web Design
BC GRAD ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Graphic Design Environmental Studies
BC GRAD IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Graphic Design Interactive Web Design
BC HIST ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint History Environmental Studies
BC HIST IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint History Interactive Web Design
BC MULT ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Multimedia Environmental Studies
BC MULT IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Multimedia Interactive Web Design
BC MUSC ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Music Environmental Studies
BC MUSC IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Music Interactive Web Design
BC PHOT ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Photography Environmental Studies
BC PHOT IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Photography Interactive Web Design
BC RELG ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Religious Studies Environmental Studies
BC RELG IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Religious Studies Interactive Web Design
BC SCUP ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Sculpture Environmental Studies
BC SCUP IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Sculpture Interactive Web Design
BC TEXT ENVI Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Textile Design Environmental Studies
BC TEXT IWEB Bachelor's Degree BA/BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Textile Design Interactive Web Design
BS ENVI Bachelor's Degree BSc (Hons) Single Environmental Studies
BS IWEB Bachelor's Degree BSc (Hons) Single Interactive Web Design
BS COMP Bachelor's Degree BSc (Hons) Specialised Creative Computing
BS ENG Bachelor's Degree BSc (Hons) Specialised Engineering
BS SOFT Bachelor's Degree BSc (Hons) Specialised Software Development
BC ENVI IWEB Bachelor's Degree BSc (Hons) Combined Award Joint Environmental Studies Interactive Web Design
LLB LAW Bachelor's Degree LLB Specialised Law
CPD PES Continuing Professional Development Postgraduate Diploma Specialised Professional Education Studies
PHD COMP Doctoral Degree PhD Specialised Computing
PHD LAW Doctoral Degree PhD Specialised Law
FD GRAD Foundation Degree Fd Specialised Graphic Design
FD TEXT Foundation Degree Fd Specialised Textile Design
FD FINE Foundation Degree FdA Specialised Fine Art
MA DRAM Master's Degree MA Specialised Drama
MA FINE Master's Degree MA Specialised Fine Art
MA HIST Master's Degree MA Specialised History
LLM LAW Master's Degree MA Specialised Law
MA MUSC Master's Degree MA Specialised Music
MA PEL Master's Degree MA Specialised Primary and Early Years Education
MA SCUP Master's Degree MA Specialised Sculpture
MA SEC Master's Degree MA Specialised Secondary Education
MA TEXT Master's Degree MA Specialised Textile Design
ME ENG Master's Degree MEng Specialised Engineering
MS COMP Master's Degree MSc Specialised Creative Computing
MS ENVI Master's Degree MSc Specialised Environmental Analysis
PD LIFE Personal Development Undergraduate Certificate Specialised Life Drawing
FELLOW HL Post-Doctoral Fellowship Specialised Fellowship in Humanities and Law
TEACHF Teacher Education MEd Specialised Teach First (PGCE and QTS, leading to MEd)
EYITT Teacher Education Postgraduate Certificate Specialised Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT)
PGCE PEL Teacher Education Postgraduate Certificate Specialised PGCE Primary and Early Years
PGCE SEC Teacher Education Postgraduate Certificate Specialised PGCE Secondary
SCITT Teacher Education Postgraduate Certificate Specialised School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)
SC DIR Teacher Education Postgraduate Certificate Specialised School Direct (PGCE and QTS)

In this list of courses, the course code derives from the subject code. In UK universities, the undergraduate and teacher education course codes would probably come instead from the master UCASCOURSEID field from the UCAS list.

For each course shown above, I also need to set:

  • Application method - How do you apply for the course? UCAS or direct application?
  • Entry profile - what grades do you need to get onto the course?
  • Fee band - How much does the course cost per year?
  • Main location - What city is the course based in?
  • Course length - How long does it take to study full- or part-time?

All of this data is stored in a large Microsoft Access table with linked sub-tables (I'll provide details on this in a later blog post).

Transferring the Data

With this subject and course tables completed I now have the values to use in the following datatypes:

... and with those entered, we can enter the subject and course data into:


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