I apologize in advance for this post being a little extra geeky. If you prefer the posts with pretty pictures and screenshots to look at, this would be a good time to scroll back through some of the ones you've missed in the past.
Today I wanted to spend a little time talking about how the Kansas MIS2000 system gets its Assessment and Course History data for sending to MSIX. There are quite a few states that have pretty sophisticated integrations with other state systems for doing this, but I really like the way Kansas has done it and I think it should be a model. Kansas has really embraced the use of what are called Web Services. I wanted to give you a nice link to a site or graphic that explains what they are a bit better, but I just couldn't find one. So I'll take a stab at it myself. A Web Service is a nice simple way for one system to get information from another system.
In the case of Kansas, their Web Services provide a nice, simple way for MIS2000 to get Assessments and Course History data from their state-level student data system, which they refer to as ODS. Every night MIS2000 produces a list of all students in Kansas who have an active enrollment. Then for each student, it asks ODS what that student's current set of Assessments and Course History looks like. MIS2000 then sets about making MIS2000 exactly match what ODS has. If anything changed, MIS2000 sends the changed student up to MSIX.
Kansas also provides a couple other web services that make it possible for MIS2000 to automatically add enrollments for certain kinds of students and to automatically update the school and district tables.
Other states have provided ways for MIS2000 to do essentially the same thing, and some states have even provided Web Services for doing one or two things in the state. But Kansas is the only state we work with that has gone all in on them and uses them exclusively as the way to integrate systems. And it works very nicely.
I know few of you have much pull with your state IT departments at all, but keep your ear to the ground and if you hear talk of using Web Services to connect student systems, think about getting some more information about it.