Note: This document references views and actions that are only available to Echo Administrators
To ease the administration of Echo, districts can chose to sync Echo with their SIS. This process uses data from an SIS to automatically manage user accounts, courses and enrollments.
- User Sync: Enabling a user sync will automatically create new user accounts when new students, teachers, or parents are added to the SIS. Teachers still have the flexibility to create their own course structure in Echo and use course enrollment codes to easily add students to their courses.
- Courses Sync: Enabling a course sync will use data from the SIS to automatically create all courses for the teachers. Teachers will lose control over things like the base/derivative structure and course naming. Enrollment codes can be used to avoid manually enrolling students.
- Enrollment Sync: Enabling an enrollment sync will use data from the SIS to automatically enroll and withdraw students in courses. This requires that course sync has also be enabled.
As with any automated process, syncing data from an SIS can remove some flexibility in how Echo is used by teachers. If you've ever had a snack stuck in a vending machine, you've experienced the downside of automation. It can never be as adaptable as a human and will necessarily force some constraints on users. Consider the following before syncing with an SIS:
- Plan Ahead: It can takes weeks to test and work out the kinks of a new SIS sync. It's best to initiate a sync durring the summer break when users are not using the system and when there is sufficient time to fix any problems.
- Bad Data In ... Bad Data Out: When an SIS Sync is enabled, a data stream coming from the SIS gives specific command on when to add, edit, and delete students, courses and enrollments. This requires the data stream to accurately reflect what's happening in the classroom. Any inconsistencies in the SIS will have an effect on what teachers and student see in Echo. Bad data in the SIS becomes transparent once it's uploaded to Echo. This can lead to user frustration with Echo and the district's technology department. It is critical to allow enough time to verify that the data stream is accurate before enabling any SIS sync.
- Individual Assignment Scores: While it is possible to enable a grade passback structure to automatically keep the SIS up to date, there are some limitations. In most cases, individual assignment data from Echo will not be synced with your SIS. The nature of the Multi-Outcome Scoring gradebook in Echo does not have an equivalent in most SISs. Only the current/final course grade will be transferred to the SIS.
- Integrated Courses: Many schools integrate courses (two ore more courses combined and treated like a single course). If these courses are separate in the SIS, you may have to create and manage the integrated courses manually. The more accurately the data in the SIS reflects the actual student schedule, the less manual manipulation will be required.
- Base/Derivative Course: In most cases, an SIS sync with Echo will create the expected base and derivative course structure. At the same time, more creative implementations of the base and derivative may not be possible in an automated sync. Many schools who want to take full advantage of Echo’s Base and derivative course functionality may not wish to automatically generate courses based on the SIS course list. Users may want to have more flexibility than that approached would allow...
Three Sync Options
Option One: OneRoster
Echo's OneRoster Sync supports the rostering of users, courses, enrollments, and observers(parents) through the IMS OneRoster specification.
About OneRoster: OneRoster is an IMS Global Learning Consortium specification for exchanging data between systems. Commonly, this exchange will happen between the student information system (SIS) and the learning management system (LMS). Echo supports OneRoster 1.1.
How It Works: The OneRoster SIS Sync allows data exported from an SIS to be uploaded and processed by Echo. This can be fully automated if the SIS exports can be scheduled and then sent via secure FTP to Echo. In some cases, SIS providers have pre-bult the necessary export files that meet the OneRoster specifications and have FTP functionality built in. In other cases, SIS administrators can create custom reports based on the specifications or use external FTP tools.
For more information on how Echo uses the OneRoster standard as an SIS Sync, see the OneRoster FAQ.
- Before attempting to enable an SIS Sync, submit a support request to Echo Support so that we can support you. In most cases, a temporary sandbox domain will be created in order to test the sync before enabling the sync with live data.
- Only users with system Administrator permissions can set up and review SIS sync information. Echo Admin permissions are not sufficient to enable and configure the sync.
- Currently, the OneRoster Sync doesn't allow for grades to be passed back to the SIS automatically, but it is possible to export course grades from Echo so that they may be imported into your SIS.
For step by step instructions on how to enable the OneRoster SIS Sync, click here.
Option Two: Using .csv Files
If your SIS doesn't support OneRoster or if you wish to have more control over the data being synced with Echo, a second option is to use .csv files exported from your student information system and formated to be imported into Echo.
How It Works: In the Users tool, Courses tool, and Enrollments manager is a feature that allows you to import data into Echo from a properly formatted .csv file. By exporting data from your SIS, you can quickly create files to import users, courses and even course enrollments into Echo. To see a complete description of what data can be imported into Echo, see "How do I import data into Echo?"
Course grade data can also be exported from Echo into a .csv file so that grades can be uploaded into your student information system.
Option Three: Custom Built Options
Echo is built on a platform with a robust API library. This means many possibilities exist for extracting and posting data to and from Echo. Districts have the option to build a custom sync tool tailored to their specific needs. These can be simple grade extractions or full blown integrations. If this is something your school/district is interested in, we can connect you with the right people to make sure your solution is successful.
Echo is constantly being improved based on the feedback from users and we strive to keep our documentation up to date. If this document doesn’t match what you are seeing in Echo, please let us know.