Student Information System
A Student Information System (SIS) stores and manages all the basic information about students such as demographic information, student schedule, and student performance data. A SIS is a familiar administrative component for brick-and-mortar schools and is also critical for an online learning program.
Typically the SIS will manage the registration process and may also be responsible for providing reports related to student progress (e.g. progress reports, report cards, completion reports, etc.). Thus your SIS will need some level of integration with your Learning Management System (LMS). This integration may be through one system generating export files which are then imported into the other system. The importing and/or exporting may be done manually or through an automated batch process. A more sophisticated system integration would allow for real time updates between systems – when action is taken on one system, the change is immediately reflected in the other system.
Integration of the SIS and LMS can be a complicated process. Some online learning programs decide to select a SIS that has been specifically designed for online learning programs as these vendors have already integrated their product with the more common LMS solutions. Other online learning programs choose to use a SIS that was developed for traditional school needs.
If your program is part of a larger organization that already has an established SIS, then the decision on which SIS to use may already have been made for your program. In this case, the planning issues become how to integrate it with your LMS. It is possible that your existing SIS supports integration with specific Learning Management Systems and if so, this will impact your selection of a LMS. If your SIS doesn’t currently support integration with a LMS, you may want to check with your SIS vendor to see if they provide integration services or you may wish to make integration process a requirement when selecting your LMS.