Set up a sync job, step-by-step

After you install Little SIS Sync Agent, you can create sync jobs. Once you begin creating a sync job, the pages advance, taking you through each step. All you need to do is to complete the steps and save the job. In this article, you'll learn how to set up a sync job step-by-step. 

Creating a sync job is a multi-step process. During setup, you'll configure settings to sync your SIS classes to Google Classroom. A sync job contains the following settings:

Let’s get started.

Creating a sync job

To create a sync job, do the following:

  1. Open Little SIS Sync Agent.
  2. Click + Create your first sync job.
  3. Enter the job name in the Provide a name for this sync job field.
    Note: If you have existing jobs, consider cloning and modifying an existing job. If you are using the same enrollments file, this can save you a lot of time.
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  4. Click Next to advance to Source data & mappings.
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Selecting source data

Next, you need to select the source CSV file that contains your enrollment data. Don’t worry if the file contains more classes/records than you intend to use in this job. You’ll be able to exclude them later in the setup.

To select a data source, do the following:

  1. From Source data & mappings, click CHOOSE FILE.
  2. Navigate to the location where the file is stored. 
  3. Select the file.
  4. Click Select source CSV file. The file is listed in the Enrollment Data Source(s) section. The fields in your CSV file, populate the Field Mappings section.
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Note: If you were able to join all required fields into a single export, you’ll need to identify only one source file.

Creating a class alias

The Class Alias field is the least obvious and most critically important. The alias provides a unique tag for each Google Classroom class that is part of the job. This makes the class available for future updates. For more on class aliases, see the article and video on data requirements. Here are some tips for constructing a good class alias:

  • Something like SchoolID-CourseID-SectionID-Year/TermID is quite common. You do not need to concatenate these fields in your source data. You'll have more flexibility if you leave these as separate fields. 
  • The string should be unique across many schools and many terms and years. Pro tip: Add the school year manually to the end of the expression if you do not export it from your SIS.
  • Build it using stable record IDs instead of human-readable values. Course ID and Section ID are examples of stable record IDs. Noone but the Little SIS Sync admin will see aliases. Human-readable course names have more potential to change, creating problems with your sync.
    • The following fields populate human-facing sections within Google Classroom:
      • Class Name (required)
      • Section (optional)
      • Room (optional)
      • Description Heading (optional, rarely used)
      • Description (optional, rarely used)
  • Separate the different terms in your alias using a dash (-). The dash makes them somewhat more readable to you as you review staged jobs.
  • It's best practice not to use teacher identifiers in the alias. Teacher identifier aliases prevent the transfer of class ownership where the teacher changes in the SIS. When the teacher changes in the SIS, so does the alias.

To create a class alias, do the following:

  1. In the Class Alias section, click Edit Expression gear. Unique Class Alias builder opens.
  2. Double-click or drag your source fields from the Available Source Fields list to the Expression field.
  3. Double-click or drag additional fields if necessary. Your expression can be made up of more than one field. 
  4. If necessary, you can include string values as separators by placing your cursor in the Expression field. We recommend adding the school year value as a part of the alias. This allows a smooth transition between courses for a school year.
  5. If necessary, click the green indicator between fields to insert custom manual text. It is common to incorporate hyphens for easier readability,
  6. Click Save. The Class Alias section updates to show both the field and its mapping.
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Creating field mappings

To map fields, do the following:

  1. In the Field Mappings section, click Edit Expression gear for a field needing to be mapped. The expression builder opens.
  2. Double-click or drag your source fields from the Available Source Fields list to the Expression field.
  3. Double-click or drag additional fields if necessary. Your expression can be made up of more than one field. 
  4. If necessary, you can include string values as separators by placing your cursor in the Expression field.
  5. If necessary, click the green indicator between fields to insert custom manual text.
  6. Click Save. The Field Mapping section updates to show both the field and its mapping.
  7. Repeat these steps for each field you need to map.
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    Note: If you organize classes by bell period, we recommend the following when mapping the Class Name field. Use the word Period followed by the field for the class period in your Class Name field.
  8. Click Next to advance to Job Scope & rules.
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Reviewing job scope and setting inclusion/exclusion rules

The Job scope & rules step lets you do two things. First, you can verify the classes that will sync. Second, you can create inclusion/exclusion rules for the classes and/or teachers included in the sync job.

Reviewing Job Scope

To review the scope of the sync job, do the following:

  1. From Job scope & rules, click the Preview Class Sync button. A preview of all classes according to the mapping in the previous step loads.

    Note: The class number should be the same as the number of unique class sections that exist in your data export file. If the number is off, your alias construction may be incorrect. If that is the case, you'll need to revise the alias before you can proceed.
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  2. After reviewing, click Close.

Setting inclusion/exclusion rules

Inclusion and exclusion rules let you further define the classes and teachers in the sync. When you set an inclusion rule, only teachers/classes meeting the rule are included in the sync. When you set an exclusion rule teachers/classes meeting the rule are excluded from the sync.

It is best practice to include at least 1 inclusion rule. A common inclusion rule to catch all would be Teacher Email contains @. Your file may not be called Teacher Email. Use the column that matches up with that field in your CSV.

Inclusion rules provide the outermost container of the universe of classes to include. Adding many inclusion rules increases the boundaries of the set. In the example below, all classes within the school with School ID AA have been included. This totals 224 classes. Exclusion rules can reduce the 224 further. 

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Adding multiple exclusion rules further reduces the number of classes in the job. In the example below, an exclusion rule to exclude classes containing the name Physical Education. This rule reduces the number of included classes from 224 to 203.

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To add an inclusion rule, do the following:

  1. From Job scope & rules, click ADD INCLUSION RULE.
  2. Enter the Source Field for the rule.
    Note: As you enter rule criteria, the number of classes updates to reflect the classes that fit the rule.
  3. Select the criteria for the rule; equals, contains, is one of, starts with, ends with, does not equal, does not start with, does not contain and is not one of.
  4. Enter a Value for the rule to match on. 
  5. Repeat if necessary to add additional rules. 

To add inclusion  and exclusion rules, do the following:

  1. From Job scope & rules, click ADD EXCLUSION RULE.
    Note: As you enter rule criteria, the number of classes updates to reflect the classes that fit the rule.
  2. Enter the Source Field for the rule.
  3. Select the criteria for the rule; equals, contains, is one of, starts with, ends with, does not equal, does not start with, does not contain and is not one of.
  4. Enter a Value for the rule to match on. 
  5. Repeat if necessary to add additional rules. 

Pro tip: You must have at least one inclusion rule in order to have any exclusion rules. 

After adding all inclusion and exclusion rules, click Next to advance to Update Preferences.

Setting update preferences

These settings determine whether to add and remove students in linked Google Classroom Classes based on SIS data. In general, you should select both options. There are a few cases where you would want to deselect the Remove option:

  • If you suspect lags in your SIS source data.
  • To give teachers greater control over their rosters. There may be a reason for students to be in a Classroom who aren't enrolled in the SIS. Also, when removing students from classes, the teacher may still need to access student work for grading purposes. 

The Update preferences step contains the following tabs:

  • Roster Updates. This tab opens by default when Update Preferences opens.
  • Teacher Notifications
  • Class Links
  • Class Field Overrides 

Roster updates

To set roster update preferences do the following:

  1. Be sure you are on the Roster Updates tab.  
  2. Check the Add any newly-SIS-enrolled students to classes checkbox.
  3. Check the Remove non-SIS-enrolled students from classes if necessary. 
  4. Click the Teacher Notifications tab.
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Teacher notifications

In general, we recommend enabling the three teacher notification options. If you have concerns over email volume, be aware that: 

  • Notifications are always rolled into a single email per teacher within the same sync job.

  • Update notifications are not sent on PROVISIONED classes. Teachers must accept a class to receive notifications.
  • You should deselect these options if you are pushing out Classrooms before notifying teachers of the sync. While not recommended, we do understand this may happen. In this case, you do not want Little SIS Sync to be the first to tell the teachers they have new Classrooms. For change management recommendations and a teacher email template, visit the best practices section in the Helpdesk.

Note: Notifications are not customizable.

 

To set teacher notifications update preferences do the following:

  1. Be sure you are on the Teacher Notifications tab.  
  2. Check the Little SIS Sync creates new classes checkbox.
  3. Check the Little SIS Sync updates the roster or class details for an ACTIVE class checkbox.
  4. Check the Little SIS Sync links an existing class to a class within your SIS checkbox. 
  5. Click the Class Links tab.
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Class links

Little SIS Sync makes it possible to auto-detect and establish linkages between SIS course sections and existing, teacher-created Google Classroom classes. The Class Link settings let you turn this functionality on or off. You can also determine the teacher-creation date range to include for matching. We recommend the start date for teacher-class creation to be 30 to 60-days before the beginning of the school year.

Note: All linkages are manually approved in the Sync Analysis process.

To set class links update preferences do the following:

  1. Be sure you are on the Class Links tab.  
  2. Check the Scan existing Classroom class for potential matches based on the title and roster checkbox.
  3. Enter a date or select a date from the calendar for the Ignore any existing classes that were created before. The recommendation is to set this to no more than 30 to 60 days before the start of the school year.
  4. Check the Ignore any classes that have known links to Little SIS Sync.
  5. Click the Class Field Overrides tab. 
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Class field overrides

These settings determine whether Little SIS Sync should overwrite values on class information. Overrides include Course Name, Section, Room, etc., on linked Google Classroom classes. In general, you should not select these settings unless you have a specific purpose. Some viable reasons to enable these settings are:

  • Enforcing a class naming convention
  • Changing the naming convention on already-synced classes
  • Ensuring accurate room numbers 

To set class field overrides update preferences do the following:

  1. Be sure you are on the Class Field Overrides tab.  
  2. Check the values to overwrite existing values for SIS values.
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After setting all update preference settings, click Next to advance to Automation Settings.

Selecting automation settings

These settings determine the extent of automation to apply to the sync job. Let's take a look at the different automation settings.

  • Manually perform sync analysis, approve and execute all changes manually: When you are beginning to sync a new swath of SIS classes, you will want to start with Stage and execute this job manually. This lets you review staged changes, tweak settings, and restage as needed. Once you're satisfied, you can apply the settings.
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  • Schedule automated sync analysis, but, approve and execute all changes manually: If you are near the beginning of a school term, more roster changes are likely to be applied with each sync. Staging the changes may take Little SIS Sync some time, and yet it may be desirable to always manually review before applying changes. In this case, you'll want to select this option. 
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  • Schedule automated sync analysis, and auto-approve and execute all changes that meet the specified hold conditions: Once you are comfortable the sync job is set up correctly, you can select this option. It provides a set-it-and-forget-it experience but has some safeguard thresholds around unintended mass exchanges. 
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  • Job will be triggered via Managed Sync.
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