The Future of Digital
Student Data Portability

Programme for 2015 Groningen Declaration Network Annual Meeting

May 5, 2015

Words of Welcome

9:30 a.m.-10 a.m.

Participants will be cordially welcomed in the Rectorado's plenary auditorium by our day time chair, by the rector of the hosting institution, and by the chief representatives of the three main conveners:

  • Peter van der Hijden, independent European consultant and expert in higher education and research
  • dr. Adelaide de la Calle, Rector, Universidad de Málaga
  • Mike Reilly, Executive Director, AACRAO
  • Kor Brandts, Director, Registers and Examination Services, DUO
  • Ricardo Torres, Chief Executive Officer and President, NSC

Opening Key Note: In Search of New Paradigms of Education Data Use

10 a.m.-10:45 a.m.

Abstract coming soon. We advise you to check your meeting app regularly. New updates will be uploaded the minute they are available.

CONNECTing the dots

11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

An intervention from the European Commission DGCONNECT about electronic data.

Erasmus Without Paper (EWP), an Update

11:30 a.m.-noon

Most Student Information Systems (SIS) of European Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) process and store student data electronically. When it comes to student exchanges in Europe, though, HEIs by and large still process exchanges by sending and processing curriculum info, learning agreements, transcripts of records, key data and bilateral agreements in paper, without any standardization, and in spite of the vast number of exchanges. Economies of scale are possible through commonly agreed technological standards and a federated network of trusted users, interconnecting single HEI built and HEI consortia built SIS, commercial student data management software providers and government student data depositories. Student data handlers in this federation will provide use connectors that will enable them to hook onto the network and exchange data, even those that do not have sophisticated SIS software. Interoperability is the keyword. The EWP consortium aims at bringing this vision alive by piloting the completely digital processing of Erasmus+ student exchanges

Open Badges: Promotion and Adoption of the Standard in Finland

11:30 a.m.-noon

Open Badges is an open standard created by the Mozilla Foundation to recognise skills we learn anywhere. Open Badges support the goals of the Groningen Declaration, being portable evidences of learning that citizens can share and display with whomever they want, wherever, whenever. This presentation will showcase initiatives and projects to promote the standard worldwide. Then, the Finnish project Open Badge Factory and the adoption of the Open Badge standard in Finland will be presented. We will conclude by presenting the challenges that organisations and earners have met and propose some strategies to deal with these issues.

Toward the Digitization of Credential Evaluations for Universities

noon-12:30 p.m.

This session will focus on a successful project between the University of Southern California (USC) and International Education Research Foundation (IERF) which involves the electronic transmission of credential evaluations results through the use of recognized open standards over the SPEEDE platform. The presenters will highlight the initial challenges in the development of the project, with emphasis on tools that are available now to institutions or service providers interested in moving into electronic data exchange (EDX). It will also present some of the challenges that need to be considered with respect to EDX data transmissions involving international education institutions.

Toward ‘Third Generation’ Qualifications Mobility

noon-12:30 p.m.

This session highlights innovations in qualifications mobility, and how opportunities for alignment across different areas of activity may herald a ‘third generation’ in graduation documentation and student mobility. The session presents outcomes from a recent APEC development initiative for diploma supplements in the Asia-Pacific, how these shed light on development and implementation challenges for qualifications mobility at the national and regional level, and on opportunities for future development.

An Alternative to the Central Depository Model: A Hub and Spoke Approach to Secure Credential Delivery

12:30 p.m.-1 p.m.

The recent hacking of centralized data stores like Apple Cloud and SONY give pause regarding data architectures that would accumulate target rich, sensitive student records into intermediate storehouses for delivery. Stanford University is working with two vendors to extend an alternative, on-demand approach where the central actor in the transmission retrieves credentials from a wide diversity of trusted academic sources and delivers them to a diversity of (university) recipients, at the request of the data subject. While this on-demand model ensures accurate, up-to-date record retrieval, it also empowers students, as they initiate the data transfer. Panelists will trace and illustrate an example of student initiation of record delivery to Stanford (one university recipient) from the China MOE (one trusted source); and the current staging for Stanford of similar sourcing from Europe and Australia.

African Qualifications Verification Network (AQVN) - An Overview and Looking Ahead

12:30 p.m.-1 p.m.

In a world rife with fraudulent qualifications, diploma, degree, accreditation and verification mills, setting up a network of trusted, credible verification agencies makes sense. SAQA took the initiative to do that. AQVN was established in November 2014, in a move to combat qualification fraud, particularly on the African continent. To do that, AQVN strives to make the verification of learners records quick, reliable and affordable. As a long term goal, AQVN aims at establishing Digital Student Data Depositories that can be quickly accessed, in full compliance with security concerns and privacy regulations.

Hopes are to involve the appropriate organisations from all 54 African countries. The issue of student data verification was already included in UNESCO’s revised regional Arusha Convention that was recently signed by 15 African countries and the Holy See.

Making Admissions Easier for Schools and Students: The CommIT Project and Federated Identity

1 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Making Admissions Easier for Schools and Students: The CommIT Project and Federated Identity

What if you could spend less money and time to onboard and manage accounts for new prospects in your admissions portal? And what if you could correctly match their third-party records without a second thought? Join us to learn about how the community-driven CommIT Project is using Federated identity in the US to answer these questions.

Canada: Building on student mobility and data exchange successes

1 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

This session will outline the organizational, political, and administrative landscape of education in Canada, including the role of the Association of Registrars of Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC). ARUCC has approximately 182 member institutions from across the country and, among other things, works to promote communication and the exchange of information among its membership. The Canadian PESC User Group, formed in 2011, formally links ARUCC with PESC and has been steadily working to promote PESC standards and the exchange of electronic transcript data. The session will highlight two recent successful pilot exchange projects that improve student mobility, along with some of the challenges and opportunities being considered.

Key note: Digital Student Data as a Means to Further Recognition and Visa Applications: Showcasing China’s Experience

2:30 p.m.-3:15 p.m.

CHESICC’s national student record database CHSI is widely used to further study opportunities inside China and for enrolment for national examinations. It is also widely used for outgoing mobility (overseas study enrolment), for credit card applications and for foreign visa applications. CSCSE maintains China’s incoming mobility database, which is widely used for the evaluation and recognition of foreign qualifications obtained by returning Chinese nationals and incoming foreign graduates.

This session gives an overview how China’s two national government based educational verification bodies, CHESICC and CSCSE, cater for the mobility needs of incoming and outgoing Chinese and non-Chinese migrants.

Tuning Into the Groningen Declaration: SAQA’s NLRD

3:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m.

SAQA's National Learners Records Database (NLRD) is South Africa’s national Digital Student Data Depository. Next to student data, the NLRD also provides all the information of South Africa’s National Qualifications Framework (NQF) – and is thus also known as the Management Information System of the NQF. As one of the first signatories of the Groningen Declaration, SAQA is proud to house one of the Groningen Declaration Network’s trusted national digital student data depositories, and seeks participation in one of the pilot initiatives under way among the Network’s signatories. This presentation will explore how this vision may become a reality.

Involving the Continent: Universities Australia on “the Road to Málaga"

3:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m.

The first time Universities Australia learned of the Groningen Declaration was at AACRAO’s 2013 Annual Conference in San Francisco. There, the outcomes of the 2nd annual Groningen Declaration meeting in Beijing, which preceded the San Francisco event, were discussed in a high profile General Panel Session, with well over 1,000 attendants. Among them the presenter of this session. In August 2013, the Groningen Declaration was brought to the 2013 HOSA (Heads of Student Administration) conference, with support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), from the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) and from Universities Australia (UA). That is where this story began and much progress has followed...

Life-long "Earnings": Closing the Skills Gap with Open Badges and e-Portfolios

3:45 p.m.-4:15 p.m.

Watch the unveiling of Bestr, a digital platform matching employers’ requirements with learners’ aspirations and learning opportunities, based on Open Badges and ePorfolios.

Bestr allows:

  • Citizens, to:
    • aggregate, organize and share their competences as Open-Badges
    • Showcase their identity and profiles through ePortfolio
    • access Digital Content necessary to extend their skills
  • Employers, users and issuers to:
    • define and publish desired competence profiles
    • select people by skills or certified professional profiles
  • Learning & assessment providers to:
    • Publish learning material
    • Provide competence certification paths.

This session will also feature a very special demo of one of the leading ePortfolio plaftorms.

ASREN - Enabling Innovation for Arab Academe Through Advanced e-Infrastructures

3:45 p.m.-4:15 p.m.

Research and Education Networks (RENs), by now stretching the whole world, enable collaboration and cooperation between researchers, academics, faculty and students. RENs do this by providing applications and advanced services to help in advancing innovation and enhancing education and learning. The Arab region houses thousands of universities, colleges, schools and research centers that may be connected to the Internet alright, but not always to global RENs. The Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) was founded to connect Arab universities and research centers in a regional, pan- Arab network that connects them to RENs in the rest of the world.

Public debate: The Effect of the Migration to the Issuance of Digital Credentials and Micro-Credentials within the Future of Data Portability

4:45 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Stand by for a public debate on the current state of the Digital Credential World.

What are the major roadblocks to adoption on a global scale?

The debaters will be roasted on questions such as:

  • What are Secure Digital Credentials and Micro-Credentials vs. Badges
  • Why we should not call them Badges? Who is?
  • What are the elements driving convergence of Digital Badging/Credentials frameworks?
  • What is required to deliver sustainable trust via portable and verifiable Digital Credentials?
  • What are the latest technical framework updates?
  • What are the impediments and pathways to adoption on a global scale?

General Panel Session. Digital Student Data and Automatic Recognition: Uneasy bedpartners? Or a match made in heaven?

5:30 p.m.-6:15 p.m.

Panelists will tackle the issue of automatic recognition and digital student data. Automatic recognition has been on the UNESCO agenda for a couple of years already, slowly developing the process. The EMREX project (in the programme for Wednesday 6 May) tackles automatic recogition as part of its wider task to make student centered international admissions a reality in the 6 participating states: The Nordic countries, Poland and Italy. We thus have at least 2 different points of departure: The world of academic and professional recognition on the one hand; and the world of IT and digital student data on the other. Our panelists will discuss what lies ahead, bring out the obstacles (if there are .. ), and hopefully swing their magic wands to bless the newly weds.

Signing Ceremony

6:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

At the signing ceremony, prospective signatories will take turns in signing the Groningen Declaration, the only Groningen Declaration ceremony where paper will be tolerated instead of a digital ceremony. All the same, this ceremony will be live streamed, for all participants and web visitors to follow.

Prospective signatories - * = still pending approval - include:

  • Australia - Universities Australia
  • Canada - ARUCC, Association of Registrars at Universities and Colleges in Canada
  • India - CDSL/C-NAD Central Depository Services (India) Limited/National Academic Depository
  • Latvia - Academic Information Centre/Latvian ENIC-NARIC
  • Netherlands - University of Groningen
  • * Russian Federation - Glavexpertcentr
  • Spain - University of Málaga
  • * Turkey - YÖK Council of Higher Education
  • * USA CollegNET, Inc.
  • * USA - IMS Global, Inc.
  • USA - IERF, International Educational Research Foundation
  • * USA - Parchment, Inc.
  • USA - PESC, Post-secondary Electronic Standards Council
  • USA - Stanford University
  • USA - TAICEP, The Association of Credential Evaluations Professionals

This list of projected signatories will be subject to change, especially as regards those signatories that still await approval (marked out with a preceding starlet *).

We advise you to check your meeting app regularly. New updates will be uploaded the minute they are available.

May 6, 2015

Words of Welcome

9:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

Laura Howard, president of EAIE - the European Association for International Higher Education - will chair this morning's sessions, starting off with a series of 5 consecutive plenary pilot presentations.

China Reaching Out to Serve European Institutions: Furthering Enrolment all Digitally

10 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

CHESICC's national student record database CHSI offers a number of different digital service models for European institutions. This session wil focus on the various delivery modes, with special attention for institutions that receive low numbers of Chinese students and for those that have little local expertise in IT infrastructure maintenance.

e-ID and e-Enrolment in Europe

10:30 a.m.-11 a.m.

e-Enrolment is short for “Digital Enrolment of Students Between European Countries, Using National Data Depositories” such as those in the Netherlands (DUO) and Belgium/Flanders (AHOVOS).

For the authentication of students, use will be made of the new European standard “e-ID”.

e-ID was developed by the EC for the implementation of the Regulation on electronic identification and trust services. It will be mandatory by 2018. Starting this fall, 2015 several e-ID pilots will begin, with e-Enrolment one of them. In the running up, DUO will carry out a small pilot on content and semantics between the Netherlands and Flanders. Pending the granting of the necessary privacy authorizations, work on this smaller pilot is expected to start in Spring 2015.

Update on the NSC-China Pilots (CHESICC and CDGDC). Lessons on the Road to Scaling

11:30 a.m.-noon

The pilot between the US and China began two years ago in earnest between CHESICC, CDGDC and the Clearinghouse. Along the way other US based entities stepped in and added to their existing bundle of services offered to US institutions a similar service, (which NSC is creating and offering for free) to the benefit of institutions who are current customer. The Clearinghouse vision is to create an international standards based exchange eco-system through trusted data depositories. The hurdles along the way have been working with multiple entity sources of trusted documentation, changes in management and technology teams, defining a glide path to academic scalability and finally, building a pathway to funding the project long term. Combined these have created an impact on the timing of the project, while the ultimate goal of creating a scaled systemic exchange eco-system between US and China is still the Gold Medal we are all pursuing.

Annual Report

noon-12:15 p.m.

The secretary of the Groningen Declaration Network will report on the year's work and outline the tasks and challenges laying ahead.

Task Force Presentations

12:15 p.m.-12:30 p.m.

The Groningen Declaration Network's Task Force chairs will report on their activities.

  • Business Case - Rick Torres
  • Dissemination - Victoriano Giralt
  • Pilots - Dik van der Wal

Closing Keynote

12:30 p.m.-1 p.m.

Content and speaker will remain one of the best kept secrets until the Big Day. Only this much can be revealed now: The closing key note will be improvised by a top notch speaker with a fine nose for the hottest topic of the day. Let yourself be surprised and make sure to be there.

Closure of Meeting

1 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Half an hour to wrap up and share your impressions, suggestions and musings with the others. The day time chairs and network chair will take questions and suggestions and make sure to have these included in the meeting's report.