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Ellucian Colleague Integration

The Coursedog Method

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

  • Direct Database (Unidata) queries
  • 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. For example, if you have Ethos enabled we will likely center our discussions around the Ethos integration pathway. 
  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

Coursedog has a pre-built package of sql for bidirectional integration ready to deploy to your environment.   Direct database queries are the backbone of most integrations to Colleague and allow controlled direct access to data regardless of the level of customization. Coursedog will handle the ETL data mapping work once the data is pulled from Colleague. 

Direct Database Query is the best fit for the following types of institutions:

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


  • Does not require an upgrade (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.


  • 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  
  • Client IT staff may not have expertise or resources to assist with the deployment.

Transfer Protocols

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

  • 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).
  • 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). 

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. 

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). Coursedog is a trusted Ellucian Partner and boasts an Ethos validated solution.It is the best fit for the following types of institutions:

  • Currently using Ethos APIs to expose data externally.
  • Your institution has minimal Colleague data structure customizations
  • Updated system configurations (e.g. SQL)
  • IT staff is available to install any extensions necessary to close gaps due to customizations.


  • 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).


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

See our Ethos Access and API Requirements for more information

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