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Community Participant

Ok to manually add a student before SIS sync? Possible problems later?

Our Canvas sync to Infinite Campus happens once a day in the evening. If I were to add a student to the Infinite Campus roster in the morning and manually add him to the Campus course, will my next sync this evening throw an error?

Also will this manually added student have any issues with grade pass back to Infinite Campus?

The reason I want to add him to Campus in the morning is that we are in Summer School session and time is precious. I don't want the student to miss a day of course work while waiting for the sync to happen.

Thank you,

Kathie Adams

6 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @adamskathryn , greetings! I'm not familiar with Infinite Campus so it's hard to say if it will really mess something up or not. Yet, I'm sharing this with the Canvas Admins‌ and Canvas Developers‌ groups to see if they know or can provide some guidance on this. 

Hope it helps! Kona

Community Contributor

Hi Kathie,

There are a couple of potential “gotchas”: first, by default, manual actions take precedence, so if you were to later change some of his information in Infinite Campus (like email address, or loginID, or the spelling of his name if there were a typo), that might not be automatically synced to Canvas, depending on the flags you have set for the sync. He also won’t appear in the SIS reports if you use those. Most of the time these aren’t serious issues, but if you’re using diffing or have complicated synchronization routines, it could potentially be a problem.

Second, if you use different authentication systems for different users (say, faculty and students use different AD endpoints) that can only be controlled via the sync. Manually-created users get the default auth order.

And finally, while grade pass-back should work, if there are any auto-generated integration ids, you need to make sure you those are entered correctly for the user.

A good compromise if any of that is a problem for your scenario is often to manually upload CSV files with information for just that users via the SIS IMPORTS tab, which lets you manipulate the full range of user settings that the regular SIS import manages.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there,  @adamskathryn ...

I've been reviewing some of the older questions here in the Canvas Community, and I stumbled upon your question.  I wanted to check in with you because I noticed that we have not heard back from you since you first posted your question on June 5, 2019.  I see that you've received a couple responses from  @kona  and  @jsavage2 .  Have you had an opportunity to review their feedback?  If so, did either of their replies help to answer your question?  Please feel free to click on the "Mark Correct" button next to one of their replies if you feel that his/her response has helped to answer your question.  But, if you are still looking for some help with your question, please let us know that as well by posting a note below so that someone from the Community might be able to assist you.  For the time being, I am going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered" because we've not heard back from you and because there hasn't been any new activity in this topic for six months.  But, that won't prevent you or others from posting additional questions and/or comments below that are related to this topic.  I hope that's okay with you, Kathryn.  Looking forward to hearing back from you soon.

Community Member

HELP  @chofer  ! 

I do need this question answered and could use a little more detail. During the school year, we sync regularly between PowerSchool and CANVAS. During the summer we turn off the sync and then when we want the students to be able to see their new schedules, we sync back up in the fall. No issues there. 

We want our incoming students to have a headstart getting familiar with CANVAS, BEFORE the fall sync by creating some club/activity "courses" where they could try their hand at posting to discussion boards, doing informal conferences, practice different quiz question formats, do file uploads, refresh math skills, etc. These would be CANVAS courses within our organization but NOT attached to their specific scheduled classes, no grade passbacks needed.

How can we create those new student accounts in CANVAS in such a way that they are receptive to the sync from PowerSchool when it occurs later? Is there a manual export from PowerSchool we can upload to CANVAS without the schedule information to replace the transfer that happens through the sync? Is there a particular CSV template or other mechanism that we can feed CANVAS manually about these students? If so what are the required credentials?

The idea is to leave the two systems standing apart throughout the summer but adding NEW common students in each one AND not having a bunch of duplicate accounts spawn when they are allowed to sync together later. I am just a teacher in this scenario and will happily provide this info to our CANVAS and PowerSchool leads to implement. I just want to do my part in finding the answers! (That's you jroche‌ and mkowalczykSmiley Happy!)

Thanks  @chofer  for any insights you can offer.

Community Coach
Community Coach


This isn't my area of expertise, unfortunately.  In my above response, I was simply checking in to see if  @adamskathryn  was still looking for some help since we've not heard back from her.  Hopefully you'll be able to get some feedback from others here in the Community.

Community Participant

Hello Thea and Chris,

Yes, you can do a manual .csv upload for your new users.

The key to preventing problems when your sync starts in the fall, is making sure that you fill in the SIS_ID in the users file with the same formula that your sync will use. I am not familiar with PowerSchool, as we use Infinite Campus. However you need to check an existing student in your instance of Canvas to see how the SIS_ID is constructed. For example, we use a unique identifier for students in teachers. It is a key in the data base. For teachers, we use staff_t + uniqueID and for students we use s + uniquieID If you don’t do this correctly, your sync will likely throw errors and/or the students will have difficulty when the Fall term starts as there will be two user records with the same email address and loginID

Once you determine how your institution builds the SIS_ID, you will need to format your users, sections, and enrollments for upload. We use a SQL script to generate the files as we are a very large district. There is a detailed guide HERE to format the files that you need. This is article on the Canvas Community site.

A very important tip is: You should practice importing data in your Canvas test environment before importing any content to your production environment.

I like your idea to get the students started prior to the first day of classes.

Best Regards,