By: Lavniet Dhillon, Product Manager
Introducing SIS Course Merge
Brightspace administrators who use Integration Packs for Student Information Systems (IPSIS) source systems currently manage courses and users with the IPSIS Section Association tool. This tool allows administrators to efficiently transfer sections to new or existing course offerings, enabling them to merge classes without affecting the SIS.
The July 2023 / 20.23.7 Brightspace release introduces the new SIS Course Merge tool, providing administrators with additional flexibility. You now have the choice to continue using IPSIS Section Association as an administrator-only tool or explore the capabilities of SIS Course Merge. SIS Course Merge enables administrator to gradually transition to it as an administrator tool and empower instructors to manage their own merge requests. SIS Course Merge ensures seamless mapping with the IPSIS source system.
Note: For new customers, we no longer recommend the use of the IPSIS Section Association tool. SIS Course Merge encompasses most of its functionality and can serve as an administrator tool if necessary. Keep an eye on the Release Notes for any future updates or announcements regarding the IPSIS Section Association tool.
Reviewing SIS Course Merge for use in your organization
Important: We do not recommend that you disable the IPSIS Section Association tool for everyone during the review process unless SIS Course Merge has been successfully tested for your organization. However, if you have a test site available, there are three review models available, each with its own purpose:
- Review as administrator replacement - Test whether the new SIS Course Merge tool can replace the Section Association tool for administrators. The SIS Course Merge tool offers enhanced functionality and support for lead and department-level administrators during the merge process.
- Review as administrator to provide merge functionality to support staff - Administrators can use this model to ensure that support staff have access to the merge functionality. The SIS Course Merge tool includes features to streamline the process and provide better support.
- Review to provide instructor access - Administrators can use this model to test providing instructors access to the SIS Course Merge tool. It enables instructors to manage their own merge requests, improving efficiency and autonomy.
If you do not have a test site or prefer to review on your production environment (which is not recommended):
- Target specific users only - Focus on specific users or user groups during the review as an administrator.
- Expand the review scope - Pay close attention to departments, sections, and course offerings that are being merged. Consider all relevant details during the process.
Note: These recommendations and instructions may change, so check this blog post regularly for updates and announcements related to the review process.
Considerations during review and transition to SIS Course Merge Tool
- If you are currently using Section Association, your organization's lead administrator can enable the SIS Course Merge tool from the Organization Tool list. Alternatively, contact the D2L Support team to enable it for you.
- For existing users of Section Association, disable the tool before enabling the SIS Course Merge tool to ensure a smooth transition.
- Consider transitioning during a new semester start or school year for better alignment and organization.
- For existing users of the Section Association tool, you can continue using it while strategically planning your transition to the SIS Course Merge tool, following the recommended transition steps. However, we strongly advise creating a precise plan to fully migrate to the SIS Course Merge tool and disable the Section Association tool.
- It is recommended that you only have one of these tools enabled in production because content merged within Section Association cannot be managed using the SIS Course Merge tool. Using one tool ensures a smooth and efficient course management process aligned with your long-term goals. Note: During the transition phase, both tools can be kept ON while understanding the implications.
For detailed instructions about how to customize permissions according to your preferences and requirements, see About SIS Course Merge.
Transitioning to SIS Course Merge
To help you navigate the transition process from Section Association to SIS Course Merge, we have outlined clear steps and key considerations for existing clients. Let's dive in!
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the SIS Course Merge Tool
Take some time to explore the features and benefits of the SIS Course Merge tool on the Streamline your course management with the new SIS Course Merge tool blog post. Our documentation and resources provide valuable information to enhance your teaching experience. Keep and eye out for upcoming release notes as we continuously improve the tool.
Step 2: Training and Support
Take advantage of resources we provide including webinars, FAQs, and user documentation in Brightspace Community that can equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to make the most of the SIS Course Merge tool.
Step 3: Pilot Testing
Consider conducting a pilot test of the SIS Course Merge tool with a select group of courses or instructors, ideally on a test environment. This hands-on experience allows you to gather feedback and fine-tune your implementation approach. Address any specific needs or requirements that arise during this phase.
Step 4: Gradual Rollout
To minimize disruptions, we recommend implementing a phased approach to transition to the SIS Course Merge tool. Start with a subset of courses or departments and gradually expand. This methodical rollout ensures a smooth transition for all users.
Future Planned Enhancements
We are committed to continuously improving and enhancing the functionality of the SIS Course Merge tool. Our development team is actively working on future updates and enhancements that include:
- Identifying user progress. This function checks if any learners included in any sections already have progress in the current course and alerts the user performing the merge action. This helps to identify if any activities or content is already complete. Currently, only a content check takes place.
- Enhanced Audit Log interface within the tool. This function allows users to review previous merge actions within the SIS Course Merge tool. Currently, these reviews are only available for administrators using a Brightspace Data Set.
- Performance enhancements.
Stay tuned for announcements and release notes to learn about the exciting features and improvements that will be introduced in upcoming versions of the tool. We hope this easy-to-follow transition guide helps you smoothly move to the SIS Course Merge tool. We're here to support you every step of the way. Together, we'll make this transition a success, enhancing your teaching experience with the SIS Course Merge tool.