Lesson IX: Astra Schedule Imports and Exports

As a room scheduling tool, Astra Schedule should be your one stop shop to see all room usage across campus. Therefore, the import of data from your Student Information System to Astra Schedule is crucial. There a few things to know when transferring data between a SIS and Astra Schedule, so let’s dive in!

Imports and exports define the type and frequency of the bi-lateral data transfer between an institution's student information system and Astra Schedule. Astra Schedule imports section information only from your SIS, and we will review that data in our section scheduling lesson later in the course. The only data point that Astra Schedule exports are room assignments for sections. All other section information should be maintained in the SIS. Astra Schedule should be the system of record for room assignments, though, as you can see room usage for both sections and events in the system, like we've seen on the scheduling grid. This makes Astra Schedule your master scheduling tool for rooms!

Before running an import or export job, a term must be configured to tell the system what data to look for in the SIS. Let’s walk through this process next!

Define a Term

Import/Export Job Definitions

Now that you have a term created, you are ready to create import and export jobs. There are two types of jobs you can setup for Astra Schedule: Batch and Real Time. Each job will also have a status when it is running or finished. Let’s go through some definitions and the Job List before we setup a job.

Import vs. Export

  • Import: Astra Schedule is importing data from your Student Information System. This will be all relevant course and section information needed for scheduling.
  • Export: Astra Schedule is exporting room assignments only to your Student Information System. Astra Schedule does not export any other data from a section.

Batch vs. Real Time

  • Batch: Astra Schedule is importing or exporting information for all sections in a term. A Batch Import brings all section information from the SIS to Astra Schedule for the specified term. A Batch Export pushes all room assignments to the SIS from Astra Schedule for the specified term.
  • Real Time: Astra Schedule is importing or exporting information for specified sections in a term. A Real Time Import scans the SIS for changes to the meeting type, start time, end time, days met, start date, end date, or room assignment. If there are changes to these fields, this section will be imported via the Real Time Import. A Real Time Export pushes a room assignment change from Astra Schedule to the SIS as soon as the section with the changed room is saved.

Job Progress Statuses

  • Completed: The job completed successfully. This is best to see for export jobs. If you see this for an import job, most likely something is not right.
  • Running: The job is currently running. Batch jobs will say this only during the time they are running. Real Time jobs will always say they are running.
  • Warning: The job completed with warnings. Your import jobs will most likely say this, as warnings include invalid meeting patterns, canceled sections, and dropped rooms, which can be found in almost every import.
  • Error: The job completed with errors. If this occurs, submit a Software Support ticket.
  • Scheduled: The job is submitted and will execute at the scheduled time.
  • Blank Status: The job is new and does not have a scheduled run time.

The Job List

To navigate to the list of import and export jobs in Astra Schedule, click on the Settings tab and Import/Export Management. This will display the list of jobs that have already been configured.

The Name column displays the title of the job. For example, Batch Section Import. The configuration column displays the configuration file used for the job. This is also called the spoke file, and it is the file used to translate data from the SIS for use in Astra Schedule. The files can be either default files for a specific Student Information System or a custom file made for an institution. The Type column indicates the job type, either an Import or Export. The Mode column indicates whether it is a Batch or Real Time job.

The Last Executed column will display the last time the job was run. For a Batch Section Import or Export, this will most likely be the last time your job ran on its defined schedule. However, you can also run the job manually, and that time will display here. For a Real Time Import or Export, this will display the last time a change was processed and imported or exported.

The Next Run Date will display only for Batch Section Imports or Exports, with the next scheduled date or time. Real Time Imports do not have a scheduled time that they run – the only run when a change is processed. The Is Active column will tell you if the job is active or not. If it is not active, it cannot run. The final column is Progress, which will display the status of the job.

Now you’re ready to create your import and export jobs!

Build Import Jobs

Export Jobs and Maintaining Jobs

Export Jobs

Building your export jobs is the same process as the import jobs. You’ll select Export as your Type, while also selecting Batch and Real Time for your modes. The configuration file will always be the default SIS configuration export file.

For the Batch Section Export job schedule, we recommend running the export once at the end of the workday to capture all room assignments made throughout the day. For the Real Time Section Export, there will not be an option to build a schedule, as the job is real time based on when the section is saved.

Maintaining Jobs

One of the benefits of creating jobs for multiple terms that are not specific to a term is that you can use the same jobs you have created repeatedly. The job will continue to run on the schedule you have created – all you must do is change the terms that being imported. Simply click into the job, add and remove terms as needed, and the save the job again.

Now that you have your data in Astra Schedule and it is being updated regularly, it’s time to start making changes. This leads us to our next lesson: Academic Scheduling!


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