What is Beacon's relationship to our ERP or SIS system?

Beacon aggregates data about students from various systems in order to create a holistic view of the information about a student to staff.  Think of Beacon as a window into relevant student data that is housed in various systems.  Beacon does not allow students or staff to edit or modify data that is sourced from other campus systems.  The Student Information System (SIS) or Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP)  is considered the system-of-record or truth and Beacon is simply relaying the information to a select audience via it's user interface.

How does Beacon obtain our student data?

In order to accommodate as many campus IT system infrastructure combinations as possible (to keep costs low), Beacon uses a data import method that allows for the automated and regular importation of user data on a .csv file via a sFTP file drop location.  This method allows each campus the control of which fields they wish to send to Beacon as well as the ability to connect various systems data together into a single data transfer.  

This method typically requires some work from campus IT or IR resources that are familiar with ERP/SIS data extraction and sFTP protocols.

Please see the Data Exchange Methods section for more details about the available import process.

Which data fields does Beacon accept?

Beacon accepts a core set of demographic, enrollment, and academic data about students.  This core list of data is updated from time-to-time as new use cases are developed for the system. 

For more information about the accepted files, please refer to the links below:

Are there limits to the data that can be accepted in these fields?

Yes, several of the core student data fields have standardized validation requirements that may require some level of transformation of campus data to fit Beacon's model. 

What are these data fields used for in Beacon?

Student data fields are used for two primary purposes within Beacon.

1. In display for student success network members on a student's profile page.

2. In aggregate as filters for student success network members when creating groups of students to track or communicate with in Beacon.

Both of these uses allow for interventionists to quickly seek and review relevant information about a student in order to help them be successful.

Who can see this information?

Success network members who maintain the role of "Advisor," "Generalist," "Executive," or "Administrator" have access to review student-specific data for all available fields.  These roles are intended for full-time faculty/staff members of the institution.  Each campus may choose to apply the above roles to specific users using their own methodology. 

What about FERPA?

Each institution of higher education must align its practices with their own interpretation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Beacon provides multiple mechanisms to customize advice towards users of the system about their FERPA responsibilities via campus-customized messaging within the user interface and via email communications.  As the ultimate arbiter of roles within Beacon, the campus can control access levels for each cohort of users.

For more about FERPA and Anthology please review our technology and data statements page

Do we need to populate student data into Beacon before students can use the system?

No.  Beacon uses a method that creates user accounts on-the-fly upon the first time that the user logs into the site via your campus credentials.  However, many campuses choose to pre-populate information about students so that staff can begin to review information about their caseloads before the student has logged into Beacon. 



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