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Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Import users to single Canvas account from Powerschool and Jenzebar

I'm looking for anyone that has imported users to a single Canvas account from multiple SIS. 

Our college uses Jenzebar and we have an Early College program that would like to start using our Canvas but they use PowerSchool. We do not want to combine SIS accounts as we need to keep the Early College students separate.

The word from Canvas is that this is doable but I would have to be careful with naming conventions, etc. 

Does anyone have any experience with this? Advice? Cautionary tales? 

Thanks!

3 Replies
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Community Coach
Community Coach

kevin.wagenmaker@montcalm.edu, we use Jenzabar, but use CAS to log into Canvas so I can't be of much help with this. Yet, I am going to share your question with the https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/canvas-developers?sr=search&searchId=b0ecad6e-9076-406a-b78b-...‌ and https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/admins?sr=search&searchId=d32715e6-9b72-4c9a-bcf5-e77e583d6d7...‌ groups in the Community to see if they can help!

Good luck in your quest!

Kona

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Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi kevin.wagenmaker@montcalm.edu,

While we never ended up implementing this, due to the sheer size of our institution and multiple stakeholders not necessarily part of our core systems, it was something I investigated as part of our implementation project for Canvas.

In it's simplest form the things you would need to be aware of are:

  1. You must ensure you have unique login IDs. Generally Canvas uses email addresses for login IDs however, some institutions use a numbered identifier. Which are you using (as I will need to dig a bit deeper depending). If it is email address, you need to ensure either a) there is no chance that an email address will exist in both systems or b) if there IS that possibility, that you account for it in your provisioning process and appropriately deal with the account merging process. I would say if there is a possibility, look into account merging.
  2. A big question you have to consider (following on from the last): Is there *any* possibility *ever* of a student starting in one system and moving to the other? If so, are they given a completely new ID and email address? If the answer is yes to both, then you are OK, if the answer is Yes to one and No to the other, then you are going to have to look at merging accounts which would be an exciting creative opportunity!
  3. You must ensure you have unique SIS_IDs. Therefore you would need to ensure the identifiers that each student system creates are not in the same namespace. i.e. if one creates IDs with an 8 digit ID and the other creates IDs with a 7 digit ID, you are OK (albeit I would call out this isn't very future-proofed). Or if one creates in the format 'a123456' and the other 'b123456' then you are OK too. I can't really make assumptions here and I have seen many different formats. So I would ask, what specific ID formats do each of your SIS systems use? 
  4. Integration ID. Now this is a field that I think you will need to dig a little deeper into. I would strongly recommend before you do that you have a brief chat with your implementation consultant at Instructure. I am digging very deep in my memory about how this works and therefore I would suggest you re-validate this to ensure it hasn't changed. The Integration ID field is used in exactly (and only) this scenario. Again this has to be a unique identifier, however it can be designated to allow you to programatically ascertain *which* SIS a particular account originated in. This is incredibly useful as you would need to do so for updating students and so on. Even if you have unique SIS_IDs as a seemingly easy identifier, using the Integration ID to designate which SIS an account came from would be more reliable than simply looking at a format. You could use something like 'jenz_123456' and 'pschool_123456' as an example.
  5. Next up is Authentication. How are you handling authentication for these users, if they create passwords locally in the system you should be fine! If you have centralised authentication (such as Shibboleth, Active Directory, LDAP etc) then you will need to consider this as well. Getting accounts into the system is only part of the puzzle, having accounts from two sources, will make things a little more complex if you have two entirely separate central authentication systems. So, I will hold off on going into too much detail here until I hear back from you on how your authentication is set up. Once I know that I will let you know the relevant considerations for your setup.

Lets start with that! If you can come back to me on the couple of questions above, I will delve a little deeper into the relevant areas. I will also keep my thinking cap on for any other relevant things that come to mind too!

Hope that helps!

Stuart

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Hi stuart.ryan@collaborative.education!

Thanks for your response! Very helpful! I have sent it on to our IT department to dig into it. I will let you know what questions they have!  

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