Microsoft has today revealed School Data Sync (SDS) is moving to general availability. The online classroom automation platform has been in preview, but is now open to all Office 365 users. In an announcement, Microsoft says users can sign up for the service at this request form.

For existing Office 365 subscribers, School Data Sync is free. The same goes for new customers to Microsoft’s productivity suite, with SDS now baked in. The solution allows schools and education centers to create online classrooms within Office 365. Setting up a classroom is achieved via the Student Information System (SIS).

Teachers can manage class rosters by importing the list from their SIS to SDS. School Data Sync will automatically keep the rosters up to date.

“Schools often find it can be costly and time-consuming to maintain the online classrooms because rosters naturally change throughout the year,” the company says. “With SDS, IT admins can save time creating online classrooms, and teachers can enjoy online classrooms that are up and running with students on the first day of the term.”

School Data Sync Integrated with SIS

Microsoft points out that SDS is compatible with most SIS solutions currently available. In preview form, School Data Sync has been popular and is used in 20 countries. Furthermore, the platform has been used to sync to over 100,000 teachers and 2 million students.

SDS brings a number of apps common on SIS platforms under one roof. With Office 365 Education, the apps are all available in the new service. Microsoft solutions such as Classroom Preview, OneNote Class Notebooks and Office 365 Groups and Sites are also integrated. The company explains how SDS makes classroom automation simpler:

“SDS was designed to make life easier for the entire Office 365 ecosystem. SDS saves time for IT admins and teachers, who get more time back for classroom instruction. For example, Riverview School District in western Washington wanted to deploy ClassPolicy—an app from our partner AssistX. Riverview and AssistX decided to integrate Riverview’s SIS with ClassPolicy through SDS rather than develop their own software to make the connection.”