Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) is a public community college district that was established in 1925 and now offers 7,121 associate degree programs and 4,102 certificate programs to residents of Ventura County, Calif. More than 30,000 students attend classes online and at VCCCD’s Moorpark College, Oxnard College, and Ventura College.
During the fall semester of 2022, VCCCD students, faculty and staff were struggling to overcome significant technological challenges. VCCCD’s Ellucian® Banner Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) were not syncing effectively. Sync between these two systems is critical to empowering students to register for coursework more easily and access course materials. Both systems were heavily taxed and were able to update only once a day, and students and faculty were experiencing a performance penalty during peak usage times. Students were having trouble logging into the LMS and were unable to secure immediate online access to register for courses, participate in classes, and complete assignments. In some cases, they were completely locked out.
The lack of synchronization between the ERP and LMS systems also meant that students were having trouble registering for courses through the California Virtual Campus (CVC) Course Exchange. The CVC Exchange allows students currently enrolled in a California community college to instantly enroll in and attend online courses offered at eligible colleges, without filling out a separate application. The CVC Course Exchange also includes the combined list of courses from different community colleges In the California community college system that are available to students.
ERP and LMS systems are essential tools at colleges and universities. But poor or nonexistent integration between the two can create confusion and headaches, operational inefficiencies, and data security risks as manual data entry leads to data inaccuracy, duplication, and loss of valuable resources and time. Accurately aligning data between VCCCD’s ERP and LMS systems had become a time-consuming problem. Yet, despite staff shortages and a heavy workload, VCCCD’s IT team was doing its best to continuously monitor and maintain the systems.
Apogee College Data Adapter
VCCCD administrators were committed to addressing these technology challenges as quickly as possible for students who desperately wanted to proceed with their education. When frustrations peaked, VCCCD’s IT leaders turned to Apogee for help. VCCCD needed a “big lift,” and Apogee proved to be the right solution at the right time for the district with its unique cloud-based managed service, College Data Adapter (CDA).
Dan Watkins, VCCCD associate vice chancellor for information technology, and Shawn Bochat, VCCCD director of software applications and development, selected Apogee because of their prior experience working with Apogee experts Dave Fuhrmann and Mike Rose. Fuhrmann and Rose both previously worked in IT roles as VCCCD employees. Fuhrmann, Apogee vice president of cloud services and security solutions, served as VCCCD chief technology officer for eleven years. Rose, Apogee vice president of cloud services and applications development, worked at VCCCD for almost fifteen years and led VCCCD’s past efforts to migrate the district’s Banner ERP system to Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Offered as a cloud-based managed IT service, the Apogee College Data Adapter synchronizes data between Banner ERP systems and Canvas LMS systems in real time. Important features like course cross-listing and batch scheduling give students the ability to easily register for coursework, pay tuition, or access course materials through a single platform with no performance penalty during peak usage. College Data Adapter was deployed in less than sixty days, and Apogee provided the district with customized installation, configuration, and testing with ongoing monitoring and remediation included.
Real-Time ERP-LMS Synchronization Unlocks IT Time
Apogee College Data Adapter resulted in real-time data exchange between the Banner ERP system and the Canvas LMS, and Apogee continues to manage it for the district, unlocking valuable IT team time.
“Delivering high-performing, reliable, and secure data synchronization between their ERP and LMS systems gives VCCCD the confidence to let go of operational concerns and focus on their strategic priorities,” Fuhrmann explained. “Apogee College Data Adapter eliminates the burden of manual data entry and data duplication without sacrificing system security and performance. And because College Data Adapter is delivered as a cloud-based managed service, VCCCD was able to overcome IT staff shortages and time constraints. They gained a near maintenance-free footprint with ongoing Apogee monitoring and remediation.”
College Data Adapter was also installed and configured to match VCCCD processes and policies, enhancing the district’s IT operational efficiency without the need for process changes or workarounds that could have constrained student and faculty adoption and usage. The Apogee team provided quality assurance and production environments, along with a scalable and flexible path to adapt to growth and change and ensure policy and regulation compliance.
“Partnering with Apogee and leveraging College Data Adapter has been a game-changer for VCCCD. We’ve seen tangible results, including code visibility, streamlined maintenance, and automated functionality,” Watkins commented. “Thanks to Apogee’s expertise and seamless project coordination, we were able to implement CDA with ease. Apogee ongoing support gives us peace of mind, and we’ve gained more control over our ERP and LMS investments and budget planning than we ever thought possible. Most importantly, this solution has enhanced the student and faculty experience. Students no longer experience delays or lockouts in accessing critical course or financial data and information, and our IT team can now focus on strategic initiatives in other critical areas.”
“Our IT team no longer has to monitor Banner, Canvas, and the CVC daily to ensure that students have the access they need,” Bochat added. “Apogee quickly assessed our challenges and rapidly worked alongside the VCCCD IT team to complete the ERP-LMS synchronization project in less than two months. Typically, the fastest our IT team can complete an initiative of this scope and scale is six months, even if we had been able to tackle such an undertaking.”