Rostering is the process of exporting your lists of students, teachers, and classrooms from your Student Information System (SIS) and importing them into Studies Weekly. Studies Weekly can automatically provision user accounts for students and teachers and organize them into virtual classrooms. By automating this process, Studies Weekly can daily synchronize your user accounts with your school's roster.
Studies Weekly can import your roster files in various formats.
Comma Separated Values (CSV)
Most Student Information Systems (SIS) will allow you to export your school roster as lists of students, teachers, and classrooms. Your school's technology staff can program your SIS to export these lists in a custom Studies Weekly CSV format.
One Roster® Specification by IMS Global
IMS Global is a standards body that has proposed a standard for exchanging school roster data in a universal format called One Roster®. Studies Weekly can import CSV files that conform to this standard as well as import data streams that implement the One Roster® Application Programming Interface (API) protocol.
There are various ways to deliver your roster files to Studies Weekly.
- Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)
Your school's technology staff may be able to instruct your SIS to regularly generate roster files and securely transfer them to Studies Weekly using an SFTP account that Studies Weekly will provide. This will allow Studies Weekly to sync user accounts against your school roster as frequently as each night.
- One Roster® Application Programming Interface (API) by IMS Global
The One Roster® standard allows Studies Weekly to directly connect to a school's SIS and retrieve roster information via an Application Programming Interface (API).
- Third-Party Services
Some schools may choose to enlist the help of a third-party service company to help deploy their rosters. These service companies can provide a variety of services that help schools export data from the school's SIS, format the data into a valid roster format, and deliver the roster to Studies Weekly. Third-party companies that provide roster services may also offer related services such as a centralized portal where students and staff can log into their own account and then use a dashboard to click on links that will automatically log them into various service providers, including Studies Weekly (refer to Single Sign-On (SSO) below for more information).
ClassLink solves single sign-on and class roster challenges by providing identity authentication, single sign on through SAML and OAuth connections, and OneRoster API services. Studies Weekly can import your school's roster directly from ClassLink to synchronize your schools' user accounts each night. ClassLink will also provide a central login portal for students from which they can jump to different learning material content providers, such as Studies Weekly.
Clever offers the simplest solution to both rostering and SSO. The district syncs their roster with Clever, and Studies Weekly then synchronizes rosters with Clever nightly. All SSO options are available when rostering via Clever, including Clever's SSO: Clever Instant Login.
Single Sign-On (SSO)
SSO helps simplify the process of coordinating accounts across multiple service providers. It eliminates the need for users to remember a separate username and password for each account. SSO establishes a single point of login with a centralized identity provider. All other service providers establish a trust relationship with this central identity provider and defer authentication questions to it. This allows users to log in just once and then automatically access all of their accounts at other service providers that are confederate with the central identity provider.
Studies Weekly is the service provider and defers all authentication questions to your identity provider. There are many options for setting up your identity provider.
- Self-Hosted Identity Provider
Some schools have a Student Information System (SIS) that already provides students and staff with personal login profiles. Schools that have this capability may be able to extend their authentication services to remote service providers like Studies Weekly. Many login systems that implement Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) or Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS) can turn on a feature such as SAML that will allow other systems to re-use the authentication that already took place. Studies Weekly can create a custom SSO endpoint that will validate and trust authentication assertions that originate from a self-hosted identity provider.
- Third-Party Identity Provider
Schools that do not already have a system that allows students to log into personal accounts can enlist a third-party service to provide a custom portal where students can log into their own profiles. These services often provide a central landing page with links to affiliated service providers. They also set up the trust relationship and security protocol that allows users to SSO directly into Studies Weekly. Since these third-party identity providers often use the same school rosters to set up login accounts that Studies Weekly uses to provision user accounts, some identity providers will also relay the roster to Studies Weekly on the school's behalf, eliminating the need for the school to separately send the same roster to both the identity provider and Studies Weekly.
- Standard Studies Weekly Login
Do not despair if your school cannot set up an identity provider service. Though SSO is a nice feature, it is not required. Studies Weekly can still provision user accounts directly on www.studiesweekly.com where students and teachers can log in directly.
For SSO to work, Studies Weekly will need to establish a trust relationship with your identity provider and secure communications between the two systems.
- Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML)
SAML is a protocol for securely communicating between a service provider and an identity provider. Studies Weekly uses SAML 2.0 to broker communication, securely transmit data, and validate authentication assertions. Studies Weekly can create a custom SAML consumer endpoint to which your identity provider can direct security assertions. As most schools use identity provider systems that provide links to service providers on a central dashboard or launch panel, Studies Weekly prefers to use an identity-provider-initiated one-way login assertion SAML workflow.
- OAuth 2.0 Handshake
OAuth 2.0 is another secure protocol that allows service providers to trust authentication assertions from an identity provider. It provides methods for a user to set different levels of trust and information transfer as well as revoke previously granted permissions. Google and Facebook implement this type of authentication security. Studies Weekly can establish this protocol with your identity provider.
- Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) by IMS Global
IMS Global has created its own standard for securely communicating and sharing an authentication assertion between an identity provider and a service provider. Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) uses the OAuth 1.0 protocol to digitally sign requests to access content from a service provider. Studies Weekly can issue a consumer key and a shared secret value that LTI-enabled applications can use to securely sign and transmit requests.
Learning Management System (LMS)
Many schools employ a Learning Management System (LMS) to administrate computer-aided learning. An LMS is an application that provides a more secure and controlled environment than a standard web browser. An LMS imports the school's roster to provision accounts and set up classrooms. It gives teachers interfaces where they can post lessons, assign homework, administer assessments, and communicate.
Common Cartridge by IMS Global
Studies Weekly can provide its publications to schools that use an LMS in the form of a thin common cartridge. A common cartridge is an electronic file that contains the learning materials for a given course. Studies Weekly provides a thin version of the common cartridge since its materials are hosted online at www.studiesweekly.com. Instead of directly containing the learning materials, the thin common cartridge contains links to where the same materials are hosted on the internet. This allows the cartridge files to remain small. It also provides a layer of security between the LMS application and the learning materials which are hosted on the internet. This security is implemented through the LTI standard.
Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) by IMS Global
Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) is a standard that allows an LMS application to securely communicate with a remote service provider. This standard implements OAuth 1.0 and allows the LMS to securely communicate with a service provider which can then validate requests for content. To set up the LTI standard, Studies Weekly will provide the school with a consumer key and shared secret value. The LTI standard requires parties to use these values to digitally sign transmissions.
Please see our blog for Google Classroom implementation.