Modelling multiple-intake Programs in RIO Education
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An Educational Institution offers a Program that takes new students frequently. When in the Application stage, applicants may choose among different Terms to start the Program. For a specific cohort of students, the Program's duration may be different depending on the intake in which the cohort started the Program.
Suggested data model
First of all, it is important to make a good choice of the type of Term in which the Program will be based. As a general rule, "An appropriate type of Term will be one that will always allow us to relate a student's enrollment into a Program and/or its Courses to a specific Term, thus allowing us to differentiate the different offerings of both the Program and the Courses".
Let us suppose we have a situation like this: A Program has two intakes every year, one in September and another in December. For both intakes, the Program's delivery ends in June the following year. This means that the Program Offering starting in December is a more intensive version -but still the same study plan.
We need to choose a type of Term to model this Program. We may not want to use "Semester" as the type of Term to do that. The reason is that both intakes would happen in Semester 2, thus making difficult to tell apart between them. A choice of term based on "Quarter" would make more sense, because September's intake could be linked to "Quarter 3" and December's intake could be linked to "Quarter 4". Just note that "Start" and "End" dates can be anything within the Term. We would just need to perform a similar check at Course level, making sure that the type of Quarter choice for Term allows for differentiating between different Course Offerings of the same Course.
We would model the two intakes as two Program Offerings, starting in Q3 and Q4 respectively.
Course Offerings would need adjustment though. They would need to fit the commencement date for each Course as well as the duration, which in the case of the December intake is expected to be shorter.
When applicants request admission into the Program, they would specify a Starting Term. Once admitted into the Program, in the Student Community, a student starting in Q3 will be offered the recommended Courses for Term #1 whose Course Offering is Q3. A similar thing would happen for students starting in Q4, yet involving Courses offered in Q4 to start with.
The Program Pathways would be the same for both Program Offerings, since so are the Program Plan and Plan Requirements (and assuming students will continue to have the same study load per Term irrespective of their intake).
Otherwise, different Program Pathways should be offered and applicants would be required to choose the proper Pathway at Program Application stage.