As key stakeholders in educational institutions make decisions to mold the best learning environment for today’s students, accurate and comprehensive data is crucial. Many struggle with downloading, uploading and merging data from multiple systems to provide information for education leadership, parents, teachers, and counselors as well as required reporting for state and federal purposes.
When the Missouri Research and Education Network (MOREnet) began developing a solution to integrate data from different systems across an educational institution, the primary goal was to help members merge and gather data from a host of existing applications automatically, without the cost of hiring third-party development resources several times per year.
In 2019, MOREnet launched a technology integration solution to K-12 members, the K-20 Interoperable Data Solution (KIDS). With KIDS, information about students currently in a Student Information System (SIS) can be automatically shared into other applications such as a learning management system (LMS), Active Directory, Google Directory and more. Data is delivered in a single direction or bi-directionally in a safe, comprehensive environment using Kimono as a platform. As an extension of a member’s educational and technical staff, MOREnet staff are equipped to help set up and customize KIDS to meet specific needs. MOREnet provides updates, assists as information or applications change and troubleshoots when challenges arise.
With nearly 4,000 students, Camdenton School District was one of the first members to subscribe to KIDS. They are currently using it to integrate data between Active Directory account creation and suspension, Google groups management, SpedTrack data massage and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) class rostering. KIDS can be expanded to a variety of other systems as Camdenton is ready.
Adam Johns, system administrator at Camdenton Schools, said, “KIDS has definitely saved us time and made certain aspects easier. We can spend more time on other work processes while we know that we only have to worry about the KIDS systems if there is an issue.”
Although KIDS began as a way to solve data challenges for K-12 schools, MOREnet quickly learned that higher education institutions have similar needs. And, because their primary member groups work closely with one another, MOREnet established a statewide forum for an open exchange on interoperability ideas and needs. The Missouri Data Interoperability Vision Exchange (MoDIVE) started as a day of discussions to learn and interweave an information exchange between K-12, higher education and public libraries.
According to Nathan Eatherton, deputy CIO at Columbia College, “There are dozens of integrations from point-to-point, each traditionally done manually. A data integration tool would mean less coding and configuring and more overall visibility and easy access to real-time data. Using a systematic approach could in most cases shave weeks of work.”
Two years into their interoperability journey, MOREnet has barely scratched the surface with this solution to their members’ needs. However, excitement remains about the integration and streamlining opportunities they can offer their members – saving them time, building efficiencies, improving data quality and enhancing the user experience along the way.