eThink Stories: The Joys Of A Sound LMS-SIS Integration With Ellucian

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What would you do if you’re tasked with achieving a 99% retention rate in your LMS for a decade?

For Premium Moodle Partner and Global Platinum Totara Partner eThink Education, it all comes down to providing customers with a best-of-breed LMS solution tailored to their needs. Fortunately, the leading open source LMS provider has shared their recipe for success: Fully-managed solutions, customizable learning platforms, and industry-leading service and support.

But the recipe applies for eThink just as well as for Ellucian, one of the most prominent Student Information Systems (SIS) providers in the U.S. Not only is Ellucian eThink’s longest standing partner, it was essential in its existence, as it was where eThink co-founders Cheryl Patsavos (COO) and Brian Carlson (CEO) first had the opportunity to work together. It is no wonder why Ellucian and eThink’s values are so aligned. A common belief of the importance of building a “culture of learning” within organizations and institutions set the stage for one of the most closely knit LMS-SIS integrations in the business.

SIS-LMS Integrations: A holistic, hassle-free solution that can  enhance security

eThink customers receive unlimited, seamless integrations at no additional cost. While eThink offers agnostic integrations with any SIS, eThink frequently connects Moodle and Totara LMS with Ellucian’s highly-regarded SIS products. Through this integration, eThink customers enjoy real-time sync of academic information, administrative roles, registration and enrollments, and course management. As an Ellucian Ethos Connected Partner, eThink and Ellucian have consolidated a longstanding, collaborative partnership that ensures secure, effective integrations between their LMS and SIS systems.

In terms of managing data, the benefits of a LMS-SIS integration are beneficial in continuous and compounding ways. Though they are- often thought of as two sides of the IT coin at institutions, they overlap in many areas. The LMS plays a more visible role for the educational community, driving the core educational message of an organization and reflecting their vision; while the SIS is the backbone of the operations, helping out with the often dull but essential actions that make great learning possible and sustainable. Integrating the two systems and having them work collaboratively with one another can streamline the experience for teachers, administrators, and IT teams alike. Even though there is no substitute for some pre-planning —on things like hierarchies and naming conventions, for example— deploying the integration greatly simplifies educational processes. These real-time integrations are possible thanks to several technologies and protocols that have evolved during decades of R&D.

The integration also keeps users within a single entry point, taking care of the information exchange for them. Cybersecurity experts agree that the biggest source of vulnerability isn’t the technology, but the human. As automation picks up, and key data exchange steps are moved away from human intervention, overall systemic security is expected to increase. This holds true as long as the integrations are set up properly, of course.

What to expect from a world-class LMS-SIS integration

Ellucian’s Banner SIS solutions generally stand out among users and reviewers due to its usability and reliability. Paired the eThink integration with Moodle, the benefits multiply.

  • Grading. Grading is one of the most essential components of an SIS and LMS integration. The SIS contains the building block of the academic records, as well as  criteria for enrollment, registrar and financial actions. Grading often occurs in the LMS and, when integrated, that information will be reflected back to the SIS. Keeping the data updated, synchronized and secure is an imperative.
  • Create users on either side. The LMS populates fields about users, courses and learning plans automatically from SIS registrar data. Most organizations have an initial admissions period, processed in the SIS, which then automatically becomes the basis for LMS users and enrollments.  The integration, however, is flexible enough to allow two-way student creation. A student can be created first on the LMS, and the integration will develop a profile on the SIS and fill in the blanks as needed.
  • Templating. Courses, categories and programs are the result of harmonizing educational ambitions with administrative realities. Templates help facilitate work on both sites, ensuring consistency and uniformity among systems. The ability to maintain information, its structure and the way it’s displayed between systems are basic necessities.
  • Events and management tracking: Advanced elearning organizations find value in data granularity, as they can draw valuable analytics to understand and predict student and operational performance. In this case, it’s not only about merging sources of data into a unified reporting dashboard, but to ensure they are formatted in mutually understandable and useful ways.

To wrap the integration up 

These features are, of course, just the basis of the pyramid. For a solution to be considered reliable at an enterprise level, the ability to track changes and provide auditing and custom roles are necessary to provide oversight and ensure compliance. Working with a knowledgeable LMS partner like eThink to build and monitor your SIS and LMS integration will ensure its continued success. 

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