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Courses and SIS Integration

We are band new to Canvas and created our courses in Canvas so that SME's and Instructional Designers could get them ready for teachers/students. I just read that enrollment will have to be done manually for courses that are created manually.

  1. Does this mean that we will not be able to enroll students through our SIS?
  2. If so, can we just set up the CSV, do SIS import now to get the courses created, then copy the course content to the new courses?
  3. And when it's time would we just run the SIS Import again to have the teachers and students added to their courses?

I appreciate any insights or advice on how to get this done.


Thank you,

Tina Shang

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4 Replies
Community Champion

In order to use the SIS import for those manually created courses, those courses will need an SIS ID in the settings of the course. If you add that to each course manually or using an API or Postman script, then you can still enroll them using the enrollments.csv using that SIS ID. We actually build sections in the courses with the SIS import and enroll the students into sections instead of courses. Our state requires gifted and SPED students to be on a separate roster for state reporting so we combine all those sections into one course for the teacher.

You can also do the course copy method if you would like to. I think writing a script to add the SIS IDs to the existing courses would be less work.

The enrollments.csv part of the SIS import can be run whenever you need to after the courses and/or sections are ready. We have scripts that run nightly to build the CSV files and run the SIS import.



Matt, thank you for the response. We do have SIS IDs for each of the courses and that is how we thought it would work, but I just wanted to be sure that I was understanding everything correctly. This is a brand new school so we have not done any of this before. I finished my Master's in Instruction Design and Curriculum Leadership in December, but one gaping hole in my graduate degree was Learning Management Systems.  I mentioned this during my program and provided it in my feedback to them following the program. I have 20 years of experience in Web Development and CMS or I would be completely lost.

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Community Champion

I totally understand! Having finished my Masters in August, I find that graduate degrees in Instructional Design and Instructional Technology (which is the one I got) are hopelessly out of date in what they cover. I've been a Canvas admin for 5 or 6 years so let us know if you have any other questions about the SIS imports!

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@MattHanes Thank you. I am sure that I will be back with more questions down the road. I agree they are hopelessly out of date in what they cover and especially when you work in emerging technology. Our school is a virtual reality school. Our students will be fully remote and do part of their school work synchronously with their teacher and peers in Virtual Reality Headset (Meta Quest 2) and part of it in the LMS (Canvas/Formative) sometimes asynchronously and sometimes synchronously in small groups through MS Teams.

Initially I was hired to work on the VR side and we had someone on contract working on Canvas, it wasn't too long before I took over the LMS because we realized how important it was going to be that the LMS and VR components create a seamless learning experience for students, that meant intentional scaffolding and a lot of collaboration. It has been extremely interesting and a ton of fun so far.

We have run several pilot programs, but In the Fall we get to do it with an entire school's work of students. 😬

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