Questions

Common Questions

What is the Difference Between Data Warehouses, Student Information Systems, MiSchoolData and the Michigan Data Hub (MiDataHub)?

Everything really begins with the Student Information System (SIS), which houses the most up-to-date (transactional) data on student enrollment, demographics, attendance, courses, programs, services and grades.  

A data warehouse typically receives data from a SIS as well as other sources.  Data warehouses typically aggregate data over years for analysis and may house an assessment system for teachers to deliver assessments to students.  Data warehouses may not contain the most up-to-date information for current students, although they may have the most recent assessment data for assessments delivered through the product.

MiSchoolData is a very specific type of data warehouse and analysis tool.  It feeds off of many state-level data sources, combining state reporting and state assessment data.  MiSchoolData has a public side where de-identified, aggregate data is available as well as a private side that has some detailed student level data that is only available to those with authorized logins.  Since MiSchoolData works from state data sources, it is only as up-to-date as the last data dump received.

The Michigan Data Hubs is a product of the TRIG Data Integration Activity, and serves two purposes.  

  • It serves as a conduit for the exchange of data between data systems (SIS, Special Education, Assessment, Alert, Data Warehouse, Learning Management System, Library, Food Service, Transportation, etc.) based on a standard data format provided by the Ed-Fi Alliance.  As such, it works to make sure that the data in all systems is more complete, accurate and up-to-date.

  • It has an operational data store (ODS) database that houses current, up-to-date data merged from multiple systems in a common format.  This allows for a number of solutions to be built upon the ODS including dashboards, reports, a single sign-on, and ultimately state reporting.

Because it houses data in an ODS, MiDataHub can seem to have similar traits to Student Information Systems, Data Warehouses and MiSchoolData.  However, there are differences as well.

  • Similar to a SIS, MiDataHub houses student data and can be reasonably up-to-date and transactional depending upon how data is fed to the ODS.  MiDataHub only maintains data for fields that it needs to exchange with other systems or use for hub benefits such as dashboards, reports, single sign-on, and state reporting.

  • Similar to a Data Warehouse, MiDataHub  can provide dashboards and reports with actionable information.  Dashboards and reports from the data hubs tend to have more real-time time, current-year data rather than aggregated longitudinal data that would be provided by a data warehouse. MiDataHub is intended to work with other data warehouses not replace them.

  • Unlike other systems, solutions built on MiDataHub can be easily shared within the state and even between states that use the Ed-Fi Solution.  Otherwise, solutions can only be shared by those using the same system (PowerSchool or Skyward, for instance) and only when they use the products the same way with similar data standards.

  • Unlike district-level SIS and Data Warehouse systems, MiDataHub can serve as the basis for a statewide single sign-on that all systems can leverage if desired.

At the district level, what information is available on data integration so I can plan for my systems to be compliant/ready?

The Data Integration project is working to create connectors from the six selected student information systems:  Aequitas MISTAR/Zangle, Edupoint Synergy, Infinite Campus, Pearson PowerSchool, Skyward and SunGard eSchoolPlus. If you are on one of those systems, then you are well positioned for the future.   If you are in one of the districts implementing the Illuminate SIS, we are working with them to write the connectors to send data to the data hub in the appropriate format, but a timeline hasn’t been establish for Illuminate to complete the work.

Our team is constantly keeping a pulse on the systems districts use for Assessment, Data Warehouse, Special Education, Alert/Notification, Food Service, Library and Transportation. We continually work to gather the information needed to make sure that integrations are ready for the systems that you use.

From a technological standpoint, the only thing that you will need to do to be ready is to allow for SFTP traffic to flow from you network to the data hub, and back.  When we get close to that point, we will be providing trainings to help districts with all aspects of setup and configuration.

When can districts begin to use the data integration portion of the data hubs?

The main answer is that it depends upon when your SIS is ready for integration with the Data Hubs. When everything is set to go, e-signing the DHA is the only thing required for your district to begin working on the configuration process. Districts sign-up to go live by visiting https://midatahub.com/getting-started/district-application-information/ and completing the Google form referenced on that page.  That will allow us to assign a Data Hub Support Specialist to assist your district with the process as student systems are ready.

The Data Hosting Agreement seems to contain a lot of “legal-eze” and hold the district responsible for everything.  Should we sign that?

The intent of the Data Hosting Agreement (DHA) is to set the criteria within which each Data Hub will handle data on behalf of districts.  It is primarily geared toward giving the local district the control of what data is shared.

The agreement serves to protect the district and details the restriction and prohibition on what a Data Hub hosting agency or anyone acting on behalf of the agency can do.  Essentially we (data hub hosts and persons working on behalf of data hubs) are not allowed to give any information from a district to anyone else without permission of that district.  We have to carefully manage, protect and encrypt your data. We have to make sure the data is where nobody else can get to it. If you decide that you no longer want to use the data hubs, we have a responsibility to destroy and copies of your data and provide you with a certificate stating as much.  

Unfortunately we agree it is a lot of legalese, but that is for your protection as districts, not for you to be held responsible for everything.  We hope that clarification is sufficient, but there is the ability to download a PDF of the unsigned agreement to have your own legal counsel review should you choose.  The agreement does not need to be e-signed in order to complete the survey information we are requesting. It is acceptable to hold off on signing (or rejecting) the agreement until your district is ready to begin using the data hubs for integration of your district data.

Why are there so many users listed with authorization to my district in the cockpit application?

In order to expedite completion of the survey portion, we went the route of using MTRAx user information to initially assign rights to users.  In many cases, this resulted in the correct tech contacts being assigned to districts and has been extremely valuable. Unfortunately, the user information from MTRAx seemed to have a broader set of users than we expected.  Typically it included staff from your ISD and possibly other districts in the area. It is possible that those other users had a different access level in MTRAx, but we were unable to determine that in the data we received.

While we would prefer that those users had not been assigned as such, the amount of time that would have been needed to address the issue was significant and the impact is actually rather minor.  First, as district tech contacts you are able to remove anyone who you do not wish to have access by clicking the Delete button when you are logged in. That will only take a minute or two to complete.  Second, those extra users don’t have access to any data for your district and will not until your district SIS is integrated with the data hubs. As part of that process, we will verify that districts have the proper contacts and that they understand how to manage contacts going forward.  Finally, there may be some ISD contacts that you want to keep if your ISD provides SIS support for your district. That discussion is best held with your ISD, and any user removed can always be added back at a later time. We appreciate your assistance in cleaning up user access for your district.

Why are Superintendents included as users?

Superintendents are a key part of the process as they are the only ones able to e-sign the Data Hosting Agreement (DHA) for your district as mentioned above.  The DHA acceptance enables your district for data integration. Because superintendents frequently prefer not to become involved in that level, there is capability for them to assign a proxy to handle e-signing the agreement.  In either case, we would appreciate you reaching out to your superintendent on this process, assisting him/her with creation and use of their login, and advising on whether to e-sign the agreement or to hold off until later.

Why am I having issues logging in to set my password?

We are finding that users who copy their ID and password from the email notification are sometimes accidentally including an extra space at the end of the fields they are copying.  The system is actually interpreting that as part of the password rather than ignoring the space. It is unfortunately easy to do as the copy functionality seems to want to add in the extra space.  If you have difficulty with the copy/paste option, please try typing your email address in the user id field and manually typing the password. If you continue to experience login issues, please email support@midatahub.org for assistance.

What if I (or my superintendent) deleted the account email, thinking it was SPAM?

You may be able to recall the message from the “trash” portion of your email program.  If that isn’t possible, please email support@midatahub.org for a replacement email.

After I set my password, it says that I’m logged in but doesn’t take me anywhere.  What do I do next?

That is an issue that we hope to address soon.  The reason for it is that the password is part of our single sign-on (SSO) and when you go in to the SSO directly from the email, it doesn’t know which of the 5 data hubs you are assigned to.  Once your password is set, we recommend that you go to https://midatahub.com/getting-started/district-application-information/ and click on the link for the Cockpit Application for your TRIG Region.  If you do that just after setting your password, you should not have to log in again at that time as you are already authenticated.  If you are not previously authenticated, you will go to the SSO login screen and then be redirected to the hub that you chose following a successful login.