Discovery: How APIs Connect Your Business Systems – Free and Easy!

January 14, 2019

One of the most exciting and revolutionary technical innovations today is the application programming interface (API). APIs are used to connect one software application to another.

You use APIs every day without even realizing it. For example, when reserving a table at a restaurant online, booking travel, or posting a pic across social media, you almost certainly did it with the help of an API. It all happens in the background automatically. Very cool stuff.

But how do API integrations support education technology? It’s a question I put to Nikole Morris, one of Ed Map’s expert Solutions Architects.

Nikole knows that educators want to spend more time in front of students and less time handling administrative tasks. She has first-hand knowledge of how APIs allow our partner institutions to easily automate essential functions when managing course materials via Ed Map’s OPENVUE platform.

In the past, educational data was stuck in silos, making it cumbersome at best, and impossible at worst, to move data in and out of different systems. This resulted in tons of extra clerical work for educators and administrators. All this because educational apps and software did not, as a rule, talk to one another. Application programming interfaces (APIs) solved that.

At Ed Map, we think an API should keep simple things simple, and make complicated things possible. Here are three things to look for in an API:

Open and Free
An API is available to everyone. This allows third parties to develop apps that interact with your API and can be a source of innovation. The most popular APIs are “open” or publicly available for anyone to use at no cost. Open and free APIs offer institutions a low cost, straightforward way to automate.

Ease of Adoption
A well-designed API should be easy to use and well documented. Not all APIs are created equal. If the API is too complicated or lacks sufficient technical documentation, it won’t get much traction. Plug and play is the name of the game.

Sharing Is Caring
APIs should serve to automate the sharing of specific and useful data between two different applications. APIs can authenticate users, manage complex data sets, and deliver results. When it comes to managing course materials, this translates to higher efficiency and fewer messy spreadsheets!

Application programming interfaces are incredibly valuable for education – especially when our partner institutions manage their course materials via Ed Map’s OPENVUE platform.

Ed Map’s API allows for the automation of all essential higher-ed services related to the processing of orders, returns, financial aid, and reporting. With OPENVUE, you can quickly automate the processing of course material orders and the processing of returns.

Our open and free API can upload financial aid vouchers to your online bookstore accounts. Real-time data is delivered back to your institution to track student behavior and review order information. Export reporting allows you to post debits and credits to a student ledger with ease. Institutions can seamlessly send and receive data to and from their enterprise systems and OPENVUE with minimal development set up time required.

And that means more time for your students and less time handling administrative tasks. Who doesn’t like that?

Learn more. Take a moment and readHodges University’s spotlight story and discover how they found the most effective and cost-efficient way to help with administrative costs and ultimately prepare students for success!

Mark Christensen

Senior Director of Marketing

Mark Christensen has worked in K–12 and higher education in various roles throughout his career from teacher to administrator to ed-tech marketing communications. He currently works with Ed Map, helping institutions navigate today’s dynamic and changing content landscape. He holds his MBA in Marketing from Rivier University and his Ed.D. in Curriculum & Technology from Plymouth State University/Argosy.

Return to Blog