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Community Member

API vs. SIS imports for Users, Courses, etc.

Currently, we generate flat files as CSV files for users, courses and enrollments. The files get pushed every 2 hours between 6 AM and 6 PM, then get processed by Canvas. Canvas does the diffing in the files and creates users, courses and enrollments. This all seems to be working fine, but we are thinking about switching over to an API approach for this process. It is my understanding that using the API, you can basically do enrollments in near real-time, so as soon as someone enrolls in a course via the SIS, they will show up in the course in Canvas.

What I'd like to know is who else is using this method? If so, what advantages and pitfalls have you run into? Which SIS do you use (we have Ellucian Colleague)?

I have some API & Python scripting experience with Canvas, and quite a bit of programming experience, so I don't think this would be too terribly difficult. If I'm wrong, please feel free to disabuse me of my delusion. 🙂

1 Reply
Community Member

I'm like you.  We do have about 6 different integrations that go each night/early morning.  The API option is good, especially for a new user to get them in to Canvas at least.  The advantage obviously is the near real-time perspective.  The down side I guess is the management of imported users, courses, etc. done this way versus a unified approach through the file uploads.