Configuring a Snapshot Flat File integration is straight forward provided you understand some basic principles of the SIS Framework and have an understanding of your integration goals as they relate to data life cycle. The following presents a basic defaults-based configuration followed by a description of how customization of the individual settings may impact the function of the integration.

Snapshot Flat File configuration

Follow these steps to create and configure the basic information for a default Snapshot Flat File integration:

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Integrations, select Data Integration.
  2. Select Student Information System Integrations.
  3. Hover over Create Integration and select Snapshot Flat File.

On the next screen, you are presented with the editable options for the configuration.

Step 1: Integration properties

Integration Name Required Enter a unique name for the integration - this is the name shown in the list of configured integrations on the Student Information System Integrations page.
Description Optional Type a description for your integration. Useful for further identification of integrations.
Shared Username Required The Shared Username is generated automatically from the SIS system and populated to this text box. This is used for data post operations along with Shared Password.
Shared Password Required Type the password generated from the SIS system.
Feed File Delimiter Required Select the delimiter type that is used in the current Feed File. The delimiter is the character used to separate fields in the data file. Delimiter options:
  • Comma
  • Colon
  • Pipe
  • Tab
  • Other
Integration Status Required Integration Status options:
  • Inactive: The system will not process requests or update data in the database.
  • Active: The system will process requests, update data in the database, and be visible to the users.
  • Testing: Data is not integrated into the live system.

Blackboard recommends that integrations begin in Testing. Selecting this status will allow you to test the integration and fix any issues which may arise before committing to the integration. After testing is complete, the status should be set to Inactive or Active.

To perform advanced configuration, an integration must be set to Testing of Active status.

Log Verbosity Required The Log Verbosity option determines what is visible in the SIS Logs screen for this integration.
  • Errors Only: Any fatal issues, any issues preventing create, update, disable, or purge operations.
  • Errors and Warnings: Any non-fatal issues, any issue with an individual record, or any successful operation which required a change to the record.
  • All Diagnostic Messages: Any successful activity, including record types and counts, timing, and data.
  • All Diagnostic and Debug Messages: All individual records, and data transformation attempts.

Selecting a verbose log level will also select the less-verbose log level or levels that precede the selected log level. For example, if you select the Messages log level, errors, warnings, and messages will be logged.

Step 2: Integration properties

Learn Data Source Required Determine the data source used during the integration with Blackboard Learn.
  • Use the Learn Data Source defined in the inbound data
  • Use the same Learn Data Source for all new inbound data. Select New Data Source from the drop-down list and enter the new data source key in the text box.
  • Use the same Learn Data Source for all new inbound data. Select an existing data source key from the drop-down list.

Note: Data Source keys must be previously defined using the Data Source Management Tool (see Data Source Key Overview)

Batch Uid Prefix Optional Avoid ID conflicts by prefixing identifiers for objects created during the integration. Blackboard recommends that you do not change this setting after data has been created for the integration.
Parent Hierarchy Node Required This option is available only for IMS Enterprise 1.1, IMS Enterprise 1.1 - Vista, and Snapshot Flat File integrations.
  • Create hierarchy under the top level
  • Create hierarchy under the specified node. Select Find Node if there are nodes available to be chosen.

At this point configuration of a default Snapshot Flat File integration is complete and you may test it by setting the Integration Status to Test and manually uploading a Snapshot Flat File data file - see Snapshot Flat File Data Format for starter examples).

Advanced integration settings

While the default settings are adequate under most conditions, your integration goals may pose requirements that necessitate further configuration changes. In some cases, alignment between desired goals for Learn data management and SIS data management may not be possible. The advanced settings allow for in-Framework management of incoming data to enforce Learn data goals.

Advanced settings for an integration are possible through three points in the Student Information System Integration administrator interface:

  1. Creating custom field mappings
  2. Creating custom headers
  3. Advanced Integration Settings in Step 3 of an integration configuration.

To learn more about creating field mappings and custom header mappings, see Snapshot Flat File Custom Field Mapping and Snapshot Flat File Header Descriptions.

Available Advanced Integration Settings for inserts and updates are:

  • Do Not Insert or Update: Ignore incoming data for this object.
  • Insert Only: Only add new objects; do nothing if an object matching this data external key exists.
  • Updates Only: Only update existing objects; do nothing if an object does not exist.
  • Smart Inserts or Updates (Default): If there is no matching object in Learn add it as a new object; if a matching object exists in Learn then update it with incoming data.

You may also determine what happens when a delete process is being performed:

  • Do Not Disable or Purge: Do not delete or mark for deletion any object in the system based on the feed file.
  • Disable: Mark for deletion, but do not actually delete any objects in the system based on the feed file.
  • Purge: Delete object from the system based on the feed file.

The above settings may be applied to each object supported by Snapshot Flat File (as displayed in the UI). Changes to these settings from the defaults will enable fine-tuning the integration to provide object management beyond what is provided just by the data in the available SIS feeds.

Learn more

Planning SIS Integrations

Data Source Key Overview

SIS Framework Overview

Snapshot Flat File and Snapshot XML Overview