Canvas Integration

Overview

This article provides a general overview of the Veracross integration with the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). If your school does not already have this integration and are interested in enabling it, contact your account manager for pricing details. You can also learn more about Canvas.

Details

Veracross integration with Canvas has two facets: data and user experience.

Data: Data are exported from Veracross to populate Canvas with academic, schedule, and person data. The exports from Veracross to Canvas run nightly and make it possible for teachers to use Canvas exclusively as their LMS. As a default, Academic, Advisory and Homeroom courses are sent, along with all enrollments and scheduling information. This way, courses/sections that teachers, students and parents see in Canvas are sent by Veracross to Canvas, all classes and their rosters can be managed in Veracross, and the classes will “end” in Canvas when they are scheduled in Veracross to end.

Read in detail about Veracross – Canvas Data Sync to see which data are synced.

User Experience: An important part of this integration is user authentication and “Single Sign On” from Veracross (Faculty, Student and Parent portals) directly to Canvas. This integration makes it possible for users to simply log in to a Veracross portal and click a link to be brought directly to Canvas without needing a separate login.

Additionally, this integration makes it so that Canvas authenticates against Veracross even if the user doesn’t start at the Veracross portals, meaning that users only need to remember their Veracross credentials to log in to Canvas. Parents, Faculty, and Students do not need to remember a separate Canvas username and password with this integration.

Setup

Setup Overview

Most of the configuration occurs within Canvas and is performed by Veracross. Very little is required from the school.

Veracross needs to know the following in order to configure this integration:

  • Which grading periods should be a part of the integration? Typically this will be the “Minor Grading Periods” in Veracross, plus grading period “ALL,” but the school may choose to only send grading periods from a specific school level.
  • Which Course Types should be a part of the integration? As a default, Academic, Advisory and Homeroom courses will be included, but the specific course types included in Canvas may be configured.
  • Veracross needs a Canvas username and password for a school administrator in order to configure Canvas.
    • The administrator’s account must be enabled on the Test site as well as the actual site.
  • Veracross needs the school’s Canvas URL, for both the full Canvas site and the test site.

If your school is new to Canvas and it has not yet been used by teachers, setting up the integration is straightforward. If however your school has used Canvas previously, setup would first begin at the Test environment (https://schoolname.test.instructure.com ) and once configuration is successful there, it would be implemented at the production Canvas site (https://schoolname.instructure.com).

Setup Timeline

The setup process can take up to 4-5 weeks:

  • Up to two weeks for configuration and testing by Veracross
  • Up to two weeks for testing and verification by the school at the test site before “going live”
  • Up to one week for final verification by the school on the production site before inviting users

Testing Checklist for the School

Once the data sync and single-sign-on are live at the test site, school administrators will want to use the following checklist for testing. Once everything is successful at the testing site, then the integration will be implemented at the regular site and then the following checklist should be used to verify everything in the full Canvas site. Once the final test at the full Canvas site is complete, then school administrators may welcome Faculty, Parents and Students to Canvas and enable the links from the Veracross portals directly to Canvas.

If the school is newly implementing Canvas, or if Canvas is being implemented during the summer (after the “close school year” procedures have been run, but before the first day of the new school year) then creating the Veracross-Canvas integration will not require using the Test site, and the testing and setup process will be shorter.

Testing Checklist:

  • ✓ Log in directly at Canvas using Veracross credentials. The login page for Canvas will be a Veracross-branded login page that brings the user into Canvas.
  • ✓ Log in to the Veracross portal (impersonate a parent, student or teacher if needed) and click the link for Canvas. The login to Canvas should happen automatically.
  • ✓ When logged in to Canvas as the Teacher, verify against Veracross configuration that the user can see the correct courses, sections, and students.
  • ✓ When logged in to Canvas as a parent, verify against Veracross configuration that the user can see the correct courses and grades, and content.
  • ✓ When logged in to Canvas as a Student, verify against Veracross configutation that the user can see only the correct classes and gradebook.
  • ✓ Add a new parent, student and/or faculty member to Veracross, and create their user account in Veracross. Test single sign on from Veracross to Canvas the following day.
  • ✓ Add a new course section with a teacher in Veracross. Log in as that teacher, and verify the new course and section appear in Canvas the following day.
  • ✓ Add new enrollments (new students) for this new section in Veracross. Verify the new enrollments appear in Canvas the following day.
  • ✓ Review and test the setting on the Admin Dashboard: “Hide all future enrollments”.For schools that want to hide classes from students or parents, but make them visible to teachers, this setting will be important: In the summer, schools may wish to hide enrollments from students in advance of publishing schedules, but during the year schools may wish to display future enrollments as a way of communicating the upcoming term schedule.

Important Notes for Implementing Veracross/Canvas Integration

  • It is simplest to begin this integration either at the beginning of a school year or if the school is new to Canvas. Implementing a mid-year sync between Veracross and Canvas (if the school currently uses Canvas) may be complex, and in some circumstances may not be possible. Veracross would have to review the school’s current use of Canvas to be able to determine if a mid-year implementation is possible.
  • If the school already sends data to Canvas independently of this integration, it is important that all prior/older classes have their status set as “Complete” before beginning the automated, Veracross-provided sync, which will send all Active and Future classes to Canvas. The key will be determining whether the Enrollment IDs would be moved to a newly created (different) course ID than they had previously been associated with via manual data sync.
  • The school must have an account with Canvas for this integration to be enabled.
  • Class Scheduling best practices: If a class meets all year, in Veracross the class schedule should only use the “ALL” grading period. If the class is scheduled in Veracross for each grading period individually (whether semesters, trimesters, quarters, or some other set of minor/major grading periods), it is recommended that the school fix the class schedule to reference fewer grading periods, for instance just the ALL grading period. If it is scheduled for each grading period individually, that will require that teachers copy course content within Canvas more frequently than if the class were scheduled for the “ALL” grading period.

Veracross integration with Canvas is an extra-cost feature. Ask your account manager for pricing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the data automatically sync two ways?

No, the data are only sent from Veracross to Canvas. All gradebook data entered in Canvas will remain in Canvas. The Veracross portals will likely remain the place that teachers enter report card grades, take attendance, and more; and parents and students will still use the portals for communication and to receive reports.

What if a course/class/enrollment have been deleted in Veracross after the sync has begun? Will that course/class/enrollment be deleted in Canvas?

It depends. Canvas won’t delete something if a Canvas user has modified it (for example, if a teacher has added content to a course or published it), but otherwise Canvas will delete anything omitted from the data sync.

Are you using TLS 1.2 in your Canvas Integration, as required by Canvas in their TLS Protocol Changes announcement?

Yes, we are using TLS 1.2 in our Canvas Integration; therefore, we are compliant and ready for the changes they roll out in September, 2020.