School Data Sync: An Overview

School Data Sync

An Overview of School Data Sync

School Data Sync is (SDS) is a free service available in Office 365 Education suite that helps its users to read the school and roster data from the school’s Student Information System (SIS). It also creates groups for Office 365 which are also used for Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, it also creates class teams for Microsoft Teams and OneNote Class Notebooks, school groups for Intune for Education, rostering and SSO integration for many other third-party applications.

SDS also helps to automate the process of importing and synchronizing Student Information System with Office 365. This tool also provides application developers a single cloud API which they can use to integrate multiple SIS providers with any application they have created, along with single sign-on (SSO) capabilities. App developers can use the API to access section, student, teacher, school, and class roster information to personalize experiences for teachers and students who use their apps.

To use or access SDS you can log-on to the SDS website or by simply opening SDS from Office 365 Admin Center. Microsoft provides free, one-on-one support to deploy School Data Sync.

There are several methods by which users can sync SIS information with Office 365. Those methods are mentioned below:

  • Using Comma separated value (CSV) files which include CSV files in SDS format.
  • CSV files in Clever format and OneRoster CSV files.
  • Using API PowerSchool / OneRoster.

No matter which method the user tries to use, their requirement remains the same.

To access SDS users must have Microsoft Office 365 Education Pack or they must be having Global Administrators Permissions.

Methods which user may require to deploy SDS using SDS / CVS format files are:

SDS CSV V1 File Format. To support import SIS data into Office 365, you can use School Data Sync formatted CSV files. Use this method to export or build School Data Sync SDS format CSV files based on your SIS data, set up a sync profile, and upload CSV files to SDS for processing.

SDS CSV V2 File Format. Use this method to export or build School Data Sync CSV files from your SIS data, set up a synchronization profile, and upload the CSVs for processing to SDS. There are few reasons why do you want to do it and those files are:

  • CSV – contains all synchronized users and user functions, and allows you to specify the level of teaching or learning for each user.
  • CSV – contains all organizations and helps you to identify a hierarchy of organizations.
  • CSV – encompasses all classes and their affiliation with organizations.
  • CSV – contains all class enrollments and allows user roles for each class to be specified.

The new SDS V2 CSV format supports the 28 most common user roles found in K12 and Higher Education.

In addition to the role of User Organization, which is typical in Higher Education, the new SDS V2 CSV format will serve section roles.

Multiple Org Associations adopt the SDS V2 CSV format.

With the latest CSV format, there are several new values provided by SDS.

Another method to deploy SDS with Office 365 is by using Clever Format CSV files: Clever is an identity management and rostering solution. School Data Sync allows you to use CSV files in the Clever format to import and synchronize SIS data with Office 365. Using this method, you’ll export or create Clever Format CSV files for School Data Sync based on your SIS data, set up a synchronization profile, and upload the CSV files into SDS for processing.

The last method is by deploying SDS with OneRoster format CSV files: OneRoster is an SIS data formatting industry standard. School Data Sync helps you to import and synchronize SIS data to Office 365 using CSV files in the OneRoster format. You can export or build OneRoster Format CSV files for School Data Sync based on your SIS data using this tool, execute them through a conversion process to the required SDS format, set up a sync profile, and then upload the converted CSV files for processing to SDS.

User can also deploy SDS using API (PowerSchool SIS): PowerSchool is a provider of SIS which works with School Data Sync (SDS) to support Office 365 import and synchronize SIS data. The SDS links directly to the SIS and synchronizes data using PowerSchool’s REST-based APIs. It is possible to prevent exporting and handling CSV files from the SIS database using this process. Instead, you build an SDS sync profile and sync it directly from the PowerSchool SIS.

Users can deploy SDS using OneRoster API: OneRoster is an industry-standard and format leveraged by SIS providers that work with School Data Sync (SDS) to support Office 365 import and synchronize data. SDS connects to the OneRoster formatted SIS directly and uses the OneRoster APIs to synchronize data. You can prevent exporting and handling CSV files from the SIS database using this tool. Instead, you build an SDS synchronization profile and synchronize directly from the accessible SIS OneRoster API.

Enable Sync to Insights – Preview: Sync to Insights-Preview integrates SDS Sync Profiles data with User Behavior data from Microsoft 365 apps, providing educators and leaders with useful contextual information that can be found in the Team Insights App. These data will enable leaders to understand how well learning methods operate, to uncover patterns, to recognize opportunities for learning changes and to adapt learning strategies. Go to the Settings page in the SDS Admin Console to ensure the Class Insights and Sync to Insights settings are enabled.

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