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Homegrown SIS Integration

The Coursedog Method

Coursedog has two options to implement a bidirectional data exchange with Homegrown SIS systems via flat file transfers or Coursedog’s robust API to GET and POST data to their systems.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.

Direct Database queries

Direct database queries are the backbone of most integrations to Homegrown systems. 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 your SIS.

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

  • Legacy system configurations (e.g. Mainframe, Unidata, AS400)
  • Highly customized or dispersed data structures
  • Not currently using web services to expose data externally.

Benefits

  • IT staff has the knowledge and availability to help stand-up a bidirectional integration.
  • 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 Protocols

Coursedog supports 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). 



APIs

In some cases, Coursedog may be able to build out custom integrations with homegrown systems, often those that leverage an Oracle DB, but this would be evaluatated on a case-by-case basis. Coursedog has done Homegrown SIS integrations with several top universities such as Columbia Law School custom integration.

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

  • Currently using APIs to expose data externally.
  • IT staff has the knowledge and availability to help stand-up a bidirectional integration.
  • IT staff is willing to share the support and maintenance of the bidirectional integration (e.g. outages, upgrades).

Benefits

  • Modern standards based (REST, JSON) approach to expose your data.
  • Security is consistent with industry standards.
  • Flexible to your needs. IT staff will likely have the expertise to help close any gaps due to customizations.

Considerations

  • IT staff has the knowledge and availability to help stand-up a bidirectional integration.
  • IT staff is willing to share the support and maintenance of the bidirectional integration (e.g. outages, upgrades).

For an outline of the Coursedog API, you may consult the following resources:

  • Class Scheduling API: link here
  • Events API: link here
  • Curriculum API: link here
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Coursedog is the author of this solution article.

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