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kevinw
Community Contributor

Simultaneous Students Uploads from different SIS

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We don't use Canvas in the average way. We are a publisher that sells our material to multiple school districts throughout Texas. So here's my question: 

What happens when we have two, three, four, five etc different school districts who upload students to a course using information from their SIS? Given, they will all be in their own unique courses. But right now our standard procedure is to have them manually enroll via a link or email address, but we're getting a press from school districts who want to be able to export their grade book in an easier way. 

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Well, if you're talking about text/html/image content delivered via the web, I think it's going to be nearly impossible to absolutely prevent copyright infringement, but publishing via LTI could make it a little bit harder. Unlike Common Cartridge, which essentially means that you lose control over the content bundle once it's out of your hands, you could build an LTI tool that would just display the appropriate content in the page when the user requests it. 

You can think of LTI as a mechanism for a third-party tool to dynamically insert content and functionality into LMS pages; when the LMS launches your tool, it sends your tool information about the LMS instance/institution, class, current user, and the current user's role in the class. It can also send along information about the specific placement of the content in the course, such as a Canvas module.  Your tool then can provide content that is appropriate for the institution, course and user who is requesting it. The LTI protocol allows you to verify that the request is coming from a valid LMS instance, so you could only deliver content to institutions who have a license (for example). 

Building such a tool/content publishing system definitely wouldn't be a trivial amount of work, but the LTI protocol itself is fairly simple and tools can be built in pretty much any programming language.  

--Colin

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kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @kevinw , I'm not sure of the answer to this question, but due to the technical nature I'm going to share it with the https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/admins?sr=search&searchId=6421da30-e0ae-49fd-bd8f-2a3539ca5a3...‌ and https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/canvas-developers?sr=search&searchId=c95c8962-eab9-4264-92e4-...‌ groups in the Community to see if they can help. You might consider joining these groups and checking out their resources/discussions.

tross
Community Champion

The textbooks that we use through Canvas, our teachers link the course material into the course that we create from the SIS import.  We are a Texas district and we do this currently with multiple textbook vendors.  You are welcome to message me directly with more specifics if you would like.

kevinw
Community Contributor

I'd love to chat. I sent you a follow. 

ColinMurtaugh
Community Champion

Hi Kevin --

If I understand you correctly, you host courses on your Canvas instance that are used by students and teachers from multiple institutions (as opposed to publishing content that these schools would use within their own LMS)?

You can bulk import course, user and enrollment data from multiple sources into your instance, but you'd need to be absolutely sure that there was no overlap between the unique user IDs and course IDs supplied by each school system.  One way to achieve that would be to "namespace" the data -- essentially add a unique prefix to the IDs in the datafiles for each school system (i.e. make sure that all Austin course and user IDs start with AUS-, all Dallas course and user IDs start with DAL-, etc). 

However, it's going to be very tricky to deal with multiple authentication systems, assuming that at least some of these schools have their own login system that they want to use. 

I'd encourage you to consider using LTI to publish your content in such a way that it can be pulled into these districts' own LMSs (assuming they have them); that would free you from having to worry about managing users and courses in your own Canvas instance.

--Colin

kevinw
Community Contributor

Hello Collin, 

Yes you understand our issue perfectly. Thankfully Instructure has complied with common cartridge requirements and so the course can be transferred from one LMS to another provided that they also comply. However, our biggest concern over that is copy right issues. Before we were a publisher we were a non-profit, and we still are. Our material was used illegally by different schools through out Texas. To a big corporation this may not be a huge problem. However to a small non-profit organization this can be fatal. Especially now as our first year as an approved publisher by the Texas Education Agency. 

Being a math guy and a lowly IT-coordinator I'm unfamiliar with LTI development and things of that nature. Would it be possible to make an LTI that prohibited copy right infringement? We are all under the impression that once the course is out of our institution and into another, we have lost control over what happens to the content from there. 

Well, if you're talking about text/html/image content delivered via the web, I think it's going to be nearly impossible to absolutely prevent copyright infringement, but publishing via LTI could make it a little bit harder. Unlike Common Cartridge, which essentially means that you lose control over the content bundle once it's out of your hands, you could build an LTI tool that would just display the appropriate content in the page when the user requests it. 

You can think of LTI as a mechanism for a third-party tool to dynamically insert content and functionality into LMS pages; when the LMS launches your tool, it sends your tool information about the LMS instance/institution, class, current user, and the current user's role in the class. It can also send along information about the specific placement of the content in the course, such as a Canvas module.  Your tool then can provide content that is appropriate for the institution, course and user who is requesting it. The LTI protocol allows you to verify that the request is coming from a valid LMS instance, so you could only deliver content to institutions who have a license (for example). 

Building such a tool/content publishing system definitely wouldn't be a trivial amount of work, but the LTI protocol itself is fairly simple and tools can be built in pretty much any programming language.  

--Colin

tross
Community Champion

The LTI tool is really what I prefer from a school district perspective.  Even though common cartridge is nice, the district has to make it available to each teacher and they have to import it.  The textbooks that are easiest for our staff are LTI.  I set them up for the district and the teacher and students can use.  It really works well.  We also roster directly with the textbook vendor for license management in most cases.  We prefer to automate as much as possible but not create extra logins and passwords that our staff and students have to deal with.

kevinw
Community Contributor

So what is a good place to start for if we wish to develop this tool?

 @kevinw ‌, one place to start looking for guidance is in the https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/canvas-developers?sr=search&searchId=ebc79d82-86f6-4ec3-9fde-...‌ group here in the Canvas Community. You can participate in the group by joining it; to do that, click on the link to the group and select Join Group from the Actions dropdown at the upper right of the group home page.