Round-Trip Data Transfer

Terra Dotta’s Round Trip Data Transfer (RTDT) is a 2-way exchange of data between a client’s Terra Dotta Software and Student Information System (SIS). This service is designed:

    • to collect applicant information on a client’s Terra Dotta site as part of an application process
    • use this information to create a record for the applicant in the client institution’s SIS
    • convert these non integrated applicants to integrated on a client’s Terra Dotta site

Data Flow of RTDT Process:

  1. A student creates an application. Student’s application meets the requirements to be considered for admission/conversion to an integrated user.
    1. NOTE: Student is set up as non integrated. A non integrated user has obtained login credentials to your Terra Dotta site by providing their name and email address. Their profile information will be manually entered by either themselves or by an administrator.
  2. Once the applicant meets the requirements to be considered for admission/conversion to an integrated user, the student’s information is identified to be included in the push file (data extract file).
  3. Terra Dotta generates the push file with the student's information and posts it in the Terra Dotta provided SSH folder
  4. (ISSS Only) SEVIS required information is locked and not editable by the applicant
  5. Client generates conversion file and posts it to the Terra Dotta provided SSH folder
    1. TDS picks up conversion file from SSH folder.
    2. TDS converts users to integrated. An integrated user authenticates on your Terra Dotta site through a secure campus login (SCL) integration and has both core data fields (name/email/gender/DOB) and SIS-mapped parameters and addresses populated through an integration with your student information system and human resources datasources (SIS/HR).
  6. Email is sent to students that were successfully processed via the RTDT process. This email informs students that they should now login with the client authentication credentials to access their TDS application.

RTDT is designed to push a user record one time. The RTDT process cannot push a user record again once it has been converted via the Round Trip. If a secondary push is needed for converted users, then it will be handled in a separate project.

Step 1: User Creation

Applicants who are currently not affiliated with the client will start their application in TDS and not through the institution. These applicants are not integrated with a client’s SIS and will use their personal email address and custom password for authentication. Once the applicant is processed through the Round Trip Data Transfer process, their TDS user record will become integrated and the applicant will login with the client authentication credentials.

Step 2: Identifying Records to be Included in Push File

Non integrated applicants need to be identified before they enter the Round Trip Data Transfer Process and pushed to the client’s SIS. Terra Dotta’s standard procedure is to identify these applicants through client defined saved queries and query watches. The client defined query watch will call a custom process which will add the application tag ‘Ready to be Pushed’ to the application returned which meet the requirements. The custom process will also update an applicant parameter with the value ‘Ready to be Pushed’. The custom process can be called by multiple client defined queries and query watches.

Any additional logic needed to determine which applicants are included in the push file/data extract or any required data translations from the values stored in the TDS database will need to be further defined and could result in additional costs.

Step 3: Push File Specification

The push file (data extract) is designed to export predefined applicant information from applicants with the application tag and applicant parameter value defined in Step 2. The data extract will be placed on the Terra Dotta provided SSH folder. This is the same folder used for SIS Feed integration.

Data will be provisioned via a flat file and should meet the specifications outlined below:

    • Push File will always have column headers
      • A header row with column descriptors will be included
    • Must be a Tab-delimited text file
      • Tab-delimited with the appropriate number of tabs to maintain column alignment
      • Any empty/null columns will be null
    • Standard File Name: CLIENTIDENTIFIER_RTDT_{MM-DD-YYYY_HHMMSS}.TXT
    • File should be processed and placed on the client’s Terra Dotta provided SSH directory
    • Any multivalued data will be pipe delimited
    • Row delimiter will be CRLF

Step 4 (Optional): Parameter Lockdown and System of Record

**ISSS (SEVIS) Clients Only**

For clients who are utilizing the SEVIS module and plan to create SEVIS records for individual users BEFORE they are converted via the RTDT process, the users must have SEVIS information locked down in the TDS profile. The process of locking down information means that the user information will not be editable. Locking down SEVIS required information in the TDS profile will help ensure data integrity between the Terra Dotta system and client’s SIS. Locking down SEVIS information is not required if the client plans to create SEVIS records for individuals AFTER they are converted via RTDT as the client’s SIS will be the system of record for SEVIS. The lockdown is controlled by a Yes/No applicant/user parameter.

Step 5: User Conversion

After a user is created in the client’s SIS from the information found in the push file (data extract), the client will need to send Terra Dotta a Conversion File. When Terra Dotta receives the conversion file, the applicant’s user record is converted from non integrated to integrated. Converting the user ensures that the applicant will be able to login with the client authentication credentials and the user’s information will be refreshed through the SIS refresh process.

Data in the conversion file should be provisioned via a flat file and should meet the specifications outlined below:

    • Conversion File will always have column headers specified below:
      • UserID (from the client’s Terra Dotta System as provided in the data push file)
        • Type: integer
        • Length: 4-5
      • UUUID (client authentication process user ID)
        • Type: nvarchar
        • Length: 250
      • FirstName
        • Type: nvarchar
        • Length: 50
      • LastName
        • Type: nvarchar
        • Length: 50
    • Must be a Tab-delimited text file
      • Tab-delimited with the appropriate number of tabs to maintain column alignment
      • Any empty/null columns will be null.
    • Standard File Name: td_rtdtconversionfile.txt
    • File should be processed and placed on the client’s Terra Dotta provided SSH directory
  • A header row with column descriptors is required
  • Row delimiter will be CRLF
  • The character set for the file should be UTF-8

Step 6: Successful Completion of RTDT Process

Once an applicant's TDS user record is converted to integrated, an email will be sent to the applicant notifying the applicant of the new login process. Here is a sample of the notification email:

[#465] To:

[#466] From: [contact1 email]

[#467]Subject: [Institution Abbreviation] [Institution (Office) Name] [#11576] Website: Login Information

[Institution (Office) Name] - [#11575] Institution Credentials

[#11567] Welcome to [Institution Name] [#12292] 's [Institution (Office Name][#12293]!

[#16592] You should now use your institution user ID and password to access your application.

[#500]To login, use the following link:

university.terradotta.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Security.ExistingUserLogin

[#16593] If you have any questions or have trouble logging in, please contact us at us at [Contact 1 Email]

[#11573] Thank you,

[Institution (Office) Name]

[#471] This message was generated automatically


For more information on customizing this email please see the knowledge base article here.

Step 7: SIS Feed

Once the user is integrated, all changes to the user’s SIS information should be managed through the SIS and not in the Terra Dotta System. As a result, the user should be included as part of the institution’s scheduled SIS feed. Including the newly integrated users into the SIS feed will ensure the most up to date information from the client’s SIS is being used for the user in the Terra Dotta System.

Glossary

Push File (Data Extract): Terra Dotta generated file that includes applicant/student information that will be consumed by a client's SIS. The client uses this push file (data extract) to create/activate applicant/student records in their SIS.


Conversion File: Client generated file that includes applicant's/student's TDS user id, first name, last name, and UUUID. Terra Dotta uses this Conversion File to convert TDS applicant/student records to integrated. This conversion process allows the applicant/student to login to TDS using the client’s authentication credentials and ensures their information is maintained by the client’s SIS.


RTDT: Round Trip Data Transfer is a multi-step process of which

(1)an applicant/student submits an application in TDS as a non integrated user

(2)the applicant/student's information is pushed to the client’s SIS

(3)the applicant/student has a record created in the client’s SIS

(4)the client’s SIS returns a conversion file that includes a list of TDS records that should be converted

(5)the Terra Dotta System then converts the applicant/student TDS record to integrated

(6)the Terra Dotta System sends an email notification to the applicant/student notifying them of the new login process


Integration: Nearly all clients are interested in integrating Terra Dotta software with their data systems: student information system (SIS), faculty/staff directory (HR), and authentication system (SCL). The purpose of these three integration points (SIS, HR and SCL) is to allow the client’s existing data systems to interface with Terra Dotta software so that

a) institutional users data can be seamlessly and reliably available, and

b) user identity can be verified through established, universal authentication

The standard integration is one-way, from the client’s system to Terra Dotta software via an extracted copy of selected data (SIS Feed) from the client’s system.


SIS Feed: A nightly extract that is used to refresh user information pulled into Terra Dotta software from a client’s SIS.


System of Record: Per the RTDT process, when an applicant/student submits an application in TDS for the very first time, TDS is the system of record. Once the applicant's/student's TDS user record is converted, the client’s SIS becomes the system of record.