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Ellucian Colleague Integration

The Coursedog Method

Coursedog can implement a bidirectional data exchange with Ellucian Colleague through one of three primary integration pathways:

  • Direct Database (Unidata or MSQL) queries
  • Colleague Student Web APIs
  • Ellucian Ethos APIs

Each pathway has a distinct list of benefits and considerations to take into account. We also understand that each institution is unique in regards to their system and customizations. Coursedog takes a simple 3 step holistic approach to find the best fit for your integration needs.

  1. Technical Discovery Session - Our initial step is to gain a better understand of your technical landscape. We will discuss your current set-up, customizations, security, and integration preferences. 
  2. Data Workbook Session - It is important to understand how your institution stores and maintains the following data: sections, courses, departments, buildings, rooms, instructors, and terms. Example screenshot from a Data Workbook:
  3. Recommendation Session - After gathering information we will present our best fit analysis along with considerations and benefits for each (See below).

Direct Database (Unidata or MSQL) queries

Direct database queries are the backbone of most integrations to Colleague. It allows controlled direct access to data regardless of the level of customizations. Coursedog will handle the ETL data mapping work once the data is pulled from Colleague. 

It is the best fit for the following types of institutions:

  • Highly customized data structures
  • Legacy system configurations (e.g. UniData)
  • Not currently using Colleague Student Web APIs or Ethos.
    • Note: Any customizations to the data structure may require additional extensions.

Benefits

  • Does not require an upgrade (Web API or Ethos)
  • Security - You have full control of who has access to each table and run the client scripts. Standard transfer protocols available such as SFTP are available.
  • Flexible to your needs. IT staff will likely have the expertise to help close any gaps due to customizations.

Considerations

  • May not be the long term vision of the IT staff (See Ethos)
  • Shared Support Model - Support responsibility is shared given the need for a local client and 
  • Client IT staff may not have expertise or resources to assist with the deployment.

Transfer Protocals

Coursedog supports two primary transfer protocols for a direct query approach:

  • Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) - Authentication will be handled solely via Private Key (PKI) authentication per client. All transmissions will be handled over SSH so no need for you to open any additional ports (22). 
  • Local HTTP/REST client - Coursedog will install a lightweight client that will pull the information from your database and expose the information externally via HTTP. All transmissions will be handled over SSL so no need for you to open any additional ports (443). 

UniData institutions: Coursedog interfaces with Colleague on UniData through the creation of SQL tables & virtual attributes for use as a translation layer between Coursedog and the Colleague UniData database files. 

Colleague Student Web APIs

The Student Web APIs offer Colleague institutions a modern standards based approach to expose their data.

It is the best fit for the following types of institutions:

  • You stay close to the out of the box Colleague data structures
  • Updated system configurations (e.g. SQL)
  • Currently using Colleague Student Web APIs to expose data externally.
  • IT staff is available to install any extensions necessary to close gaps due to customizations.

Benefits

  • Modern standards based (REST, JSON) approach to expose your data.
  • Security - You control who has access via a key or single username/password.
  • Flexible to your needs. IT staff will likely have the expertise to help close any gaps due to customizations (see Web API extensions).

Considerations

  • May not be the long term vision of the IT staff and Ellucian (See Ethos).
  • Requires an upgrade to the Colleague Web API.
  • Limited out of the box functionality. Web API extensions may be required. 
  • IT staff may not have expertise or availability to install extensions (if necessary)

Ellucian Ethos APIs

Ethos is Ellucian’s preferred integration pathway for Colleague. It boasts a unified data model across all platforms built on Open standards (REST, JSON).

It is the best fit for the following types of institutions:

  • You stay close to the out of the box Colleague data structures
  • Updated system configurations (e.g. SQL)
  • Currently using Colleague Student Web APIs to expose data externally.
  • IT staff is available to install any extensions necessary to close gaps due to customizations.

Benefits

  • Modern standards based (REST, JSON) approach to expose your data.
  • Preferred Ellucian solution that is under active development.
  • Security is consistent with Ellucian and industry standards.
  • Flexible to your needs. IT staff will likely have the expertise to help close any gaps due to customizations (see Ethos extensions).

Considerations

  • Requires an upgrade to Ethos. 
    • IT staff may not have expertise/resources to perform upgrades.
  • Limited out of the box functionality. Ethos extensions may be required. 
  • IT staff may not have expertise or availability to install extensions (if necessary)
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