Arbor integration with Microsoft Office 365 via Microsoft School Data Sync

We’ve built a secure integration between Arbor and Microsoft Office 365, which syncs your courses, classes and enrolment information from Arbor automatically to your digital learning platform. This means when you want to set up classes, or if anything changes, you won’t have to enter data twice, saving you lots of time.

You’ll have in-depth support with your integration from one of our trusted partners. They can also support you with Single Sign On (SSO) and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).

For more information about this integration, or to get set up, contact accountmanagers@arbor-education.com

 

How does the integration work?

Arbor’s integration with Microsoft Office 365 is done via integration with Microsoft School Data Sync (SDS) rather than through a third party such as Wonde. Microsoft SDS is a free service in Office 365 for Education that takes the course and enrolment information from your MIS and creates Office 365 Groups for Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, class teams for Microsoft Teams and OneNote Class notebooks and school groups for Intune for Education. Arbor’s integration with Microsoft School Data Sync is based on OneRoster API. School Data Sync SDS connects directly to the OneRoster formatted SIS and synchronises data using the OneRoster APIs, to enable a sync to be set up without the need to export CSV files.

The synchronisation works one way - from Arbor to Microsoft SDS. This means that any changes made in Microsoft SDS are not reflected in Arbor, and would need to be made manually. As such, we recommend amending data in Arbor if needed.

What information is and is not synced?

Staff and students

To sync student and staff information, you need to make sure every student and teacher has a unique email address in Arbor, because it will be used as an identifier in the synchronisation.

The email address to be used for each student and staff member must be set as the Work email address and the Default. Please check profiles to make sure this is the case - you can see how to add email addresses as the default work email in bulk here

The data synchronised from Arbor to Microsoft SDS is:

  • Courses (course name) for the current academic year
  • Course academic leads for the current academic year
  • Students’ enrolment in courses for the current academic year
  • Students (first and last name) for the current academic year
  • Staff (first and last name) for the current academic year
  • Empty courses for the current academic year that do not have any students enrolled

Only 'bottom-level' courses are synced - in this example, Citizenship: Year 7: Y7Set1 and Citizenship: Year 7: Y7Set2 would be synced, but Citizenship and Citizenship: Year 7 would not.

example_bottom-level_courses.png

 

The synchronisation of deleted information:

  • If a student, staff member or course is deleted from Arbor, this will not be deleted in Microsoft - you will need to delete in Microsoft manually.
  • If an academic lead is removed from a course in Arbor, this will be reflected in Microsoft.

We do not sync assignment or guardian information.  

How often does sync happen?

Once the integration is set up in Microsoft, Microsoft will begin to sync your data right away, but the process can take a few hours to complete depending on the amount of data held in Arbor.

All further synchronisation is done by Microsoft SDS, depending on its setup and configuration - please contact Microsoft for further information. Usually, any updates will be visible in Microsoft SDS the day after they are made in Arbor.

Microsoft suggests that after the initial setup, synchronisation will happen approximately every six hours. If you don't see the data updated in six hours, please note that the data can take up to 24 hours to sync. 

How can I switch off the integration?

Switching off synchronisation between Arbor and Microsoft SDS has to be done both on Arbor and Microsoft.

To remove the integration settings in Arbor, go to School > Data > Information Administration and select Microsoft SDS. Click Disable integration and confirm that you wish to no longer synchronise your data. To switch off the synchronisation on Microsoft, follow these instructions.

 

 

How do we get started with the integration?

Our integration with Microsoft SDS can be purchased as a standalone feature and isn't included by default in our packages. To discuss your upgrade options, get in contact at accountmanagers@arbor-education.com.

We'll then match you with one of our Accredited Service Partners, who will support you with questions about Microsoft. Please note that Arbor Support will not be able to support you with any questions about Microsoft - please direct these to your Service Partner.

Your school will also need to be an Office 365 for Education user.

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Comments

2 comments
  • This looks great, but I have a potential spanner for our situation.

    Will we be able to sync 2 schools to the same office account?

    We have done this via CSV in the past but needed to tweak the CSV as the pupil identifier was the MIS ID which is not unique across the schools (it uses the short MIS ID not the unique one). 

    What are you using as the unique identifier in the sync process? Syncing via salamander uses MIS ID.

     

    many thanks

    Al

    0
  • Hi Al, thanks for your comment. I've sent you an email to discuss this further with you. We'd recommend contacting our support team at myteam@arbor-education.com for questions like this in the future to ensure a quicker response.

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