Integrating Moodle and iSAMS (MIS)

July 9, 2014

We were recently invited by iSAMS to write a guest article detailing the importance of integration between a school’s Moodle and Management Information System (MIS).  We welcomed the opportunity to provide the article for the iSAMS and Moodle community as it is a subject we regularly encounter with our customers when discussing their ICT needs, here it is:

Moodle and iSAMS integration

Further to numerous requests, by both Moodle and iSAMS users, we’re happy to be able to offer an integration between Moodle and iSAMS.  The integration has been developed alongside our technical partner and has been made possible through interaction with the official API released by iSAMS.

Why is integration needed?

As every teacher, administrator, parent and student knows, the number of ICT systems used by schools is rapidly growing.  Whilst all these systems add their own value, it’s important to ensure that the management of each system doesn’t get out of hand.  We need to maintain the value and integrity that ICT brings without experiencing soaring management overheads.

Whilst Moodle is an excellent system for teaching and learning, without the correct management it can be time consuming to use.  One of the most common and time consuming tasks is the need to manually upload online courses and hundreds, if not thousands, of users.  As you can imagine, this is a very laborious task that unfortunately has to be completed at the beginning and throughout every academic year.  This is a real “pain point” for all those involved, BUT, the good news is, the Moodle-iSAMS integration resolves this issue!

How does it work?

The integration we provide has been developed to work with the official iSAMS API. This gives schools the confidence that all required steps have been taken to ensure the solution is robust, secure and supported.  It also means the integration will not only work well now but also in the future as further developments and upgrades are released for both iSAMS and Moodle.

Specific information is transferred from the HR, Pupils, Schools and Teaching areas of the API to enable the integration to work as it does. This information is then authenticated against Active Directory (LDAP) to allow for a single sign on to Moodle, mirroring user credentials.

What are the benefits?

The main benefit gained from an integration between Moodle and iSAMS is the invaluable time saved by school staff.  Automating the process of generating users, creating courses, and enrolling users within those courses will save teachers and administrators countless hours over the full school year.  As well as the initial creation of users, courses, groups and cohorts, the integration constantly keeps the VLE information updated through daily synchronisations.

We want teachers to have the freedom and resources to use these systems for improving teaching and learning; not give them extra administrative tasks to complete.  As opposed to creating users, you can complete your iSAMS reports.  As opposed to generating courses, you can create engaging online content for the VLE.  As opposed to enrolling users, you can look for the latest and greatest edtech tools.  You get the picture, we want you to do what you’re best at…teaching.

Who’s using it?

We are currently in the process of installing the solution with our first iSAMS and Moodle users. For these schools, whilst the usage of both systems was good, they felt it could be better and more efficient.  Alongside customisation and consultancy work we have been able to provide on their Moodle platform, the big requirement was linking their VLE with iSAMS.  They wanted a seamless link for all user/course management.  They wanted to take the stress and time out of the user roll-over and constant updates. They wanted to be able to access their iSAMS timetables through the VLE for students/teachers.  All of this is possible with the integration.

Hopefully this gives you a flavour of just what’s possible when using iSAMS with other systems. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions or queries.

Contact us for information about our Moodle MIS integration services.  We offer Moodle SIMS, CMIS, Veracross and iSAMS integration.

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