Digital Student Data Depositories Worldwide 2013, Beijing

Wall

Bringing together sixteen countries from around the globe to discuss digital student data mobility – China; Netherlands; USA; Mexico; UK; Norway; Spain; France; Italy; Belgium; Sweden; Poland; Romania; India; Australia; South Korea.

Traditional as it happened notes, apologies for ommissions & misinterpretations, & must take this opportunity to thank the organisers & hosts, DUO & CHESICC, for great organisation, support, help – & a mention to the support staff from CHESICC in particular for their unfailing courtesy & assistance. A great event with a great objective.

CHESICC/Zhang Fengyou, Director. National qualifications database. More international students so more international/overseas emphasis. Overseas access to verification database. Groningen agreement: support, but a lot of challenges due to language, culture, systems etc.

Dik van der Wal/DUO.Groningen: agreement to digitally share student data. Sharing of diploma data = first stage. Digital diploma register. <nothing like it in UK, outside DARE>. Diplomas from all state recognised institutions – supported by government, better service. Individuals can view own data/download. Designated institutions have access to data; owned by citizens. Further development: more historical data; all education recognised by the government, private included; extend access to business world; exchange data with other EU/global diploma registers. <check position of Information Landscape> Again recognises challenges. Objective: linking of diploma registers across national boundaries.

Chinese Electronic Registration System/Xie Hanlin, Director of Administrative Office of Students Records, MOE. Electronic registration, enquiry & verification of student qualifications. Step 1: electronic registration of all HE certificates; all institutions send to MOE for registration in database, then can use for enquiries. Include photos in database, improving visualisation as well as accuracy. Step 2: 2004. Small number of institutions recruit outside state agreed numbers – fraud. 2007, new students record registration system, when students register, data sent to education dept of province to ensure legaility/validity. Dynamic information management of students from enrolment to graduation. Increased efficiency & quality. Now comprehensive system, from entry quals through enrolment to certification. 600 million records; registered 100 million HE certificates awarded in last 22 years. Supports decision making & management – enforce legality, reduce fraud, provides info after disasters. Facilitates distribution of government subsidies.

System of Information Consultation & Verification Service for China HE Students/Ning Xiaohua, Vice Director, CHESICC. 10.96 million people received HE quals in 2012, 3.6 million degrees. 3 verification organisations under MOE: CHESICC (HE study records & quals); CGDGC (degrees); & another doing international degrees. CHESICC = only HEQC verification/enquiry authority. Online enquiry/verification: free self-enquiry by students, also by other registered bodies. Online verification & Guilloche pattern. Easy, low cost, flexible, convenient. Available in English & Chinese, Pinyin translation. Barcode for validation. Demo: input code, get verification report. Can download, print, email. NCEE – National College Entrance Examination. Most important qualification for student selection. Changed to PQE. CHESICC started online enquiry in 2003 during SARS breakout. Data management & enquiries for applicants & colleges. Comprehensive info on colleges, courses, entry requirements etc – ref KIS. Gaokao platform – also covers student satisfaction rates – ref NSS, highly valuable to applicants. Also postgraduate platform. Study abroad: lack of high-quality educational resources in China + higher family income. Media reports of cheating in Chinese student applications – should consider difference in enrolment systems. College enrolment in China is government rather than market-oriented. Foreign colleges should use Chinese system = NCEE scores, online systems. CHESICC will focus on providing better services in this area. Great commitment to enhance cooperation. Informatisation remarkably improves education credit system. Use IT & databases, cheaper, easier, better. 2012: 70m reviews/enquiries, 3m verification reports. % of fake/unrecognised quals recognised in reviews dropped from 25% to 3% over 10 years.

China HE International Exchange Policy/Zong Wa, Vice Secretary General of Chinese Association for International Understanding. Student mobility; joint schools, overseas campuses. Confucius Institute – important international initiative.

The US SPEEDE server & why we expect today’s assembled central SIS to drove global student & skilled worker mobility/Shelby Stanfield, University of Texas at Austin, & Mariana Losada, Amue, France. Mariana: France: very attached to paper & bureaucracy. Studied abroad in 7 countries after starting off in Buenos Aires – so qualified to comment on internationalisation & student mobility! Cosmopolitan ‘bildung’ – self-cultivation. British Council – admin procedures/difficulties are second after cost as reason putting students off studying abroad. Interoperating digital depositories critical to international mobility. Shelby: Standardisation of Postsecondary Education Electronic Data Exchange. Rationale & needs:

  • Efficiency. Digital transfer clearly more efficient than manual. 1996: 729 transcript transfers; now 4m.
  • Standards. Lego illustrates the problem & solution.
  • Accuracy. Greatly reduced margin of error, greater consistency.
  • Reliability. Yes…
  • Authenticity. Yes…
  • Scalability. Technology & standards can meet the demand. Needs open systems architecture.

A big idea who’s time has come?

Taking up the challenge: showcasing the first phase(s) of the current ongoing global pilot of DUO & NSC/Jan Otten/DUO, Rick Torres, President, NSC. NSC: 255m records processed annually, 2.5bn enrolment records, 750m annual verification requests for enrolments & qualifications. NGO, 95% of all enrolled students. How? – services. Compliance (reporting); verification (enrolment, degree, certifocate); electronic data exchange; research (student tracker). Save HE £350m pa. 58% of income from verification services – providers, free, requesters, pay – income from business. DUO: part of Dutch Ministry of Education. Some verifications; StudentLink, national enrolment service. Piloting DUO/NSC verification service for Dutch/US students studying in the other country. Requestor verifies that they have the student’s permission to view the information – student may have blocked access (FERPA). Any student can have access to info on who has requested their information. No data held in other countries system. Jan: connecting diploma registers in Europe. DUO: supporting process of digital enrolment in HE. DigiD to Studielink to DUO, all processed into institutional SIS. Why can’t this process work across Europe? Need data, network & partners. Looked at 5 big scale network projects across EU: all have same building blocks, standards, architecture, semantics. New umbrella project: e-SENS. Looking for partners: must have central register/depository.

The Asia-Pacific Academic Credit & Qualifications Bank. Delivering on digital student data portability/Guillermo Pablo Lopez Andrade, Director-General, Secretaria de Educacio Publica, Mexico.

Non-financial definition of bank: a place where something is stored ready for use. ‘Flying money’ – first bank notes in China; now need ‘flying diplomas’: security, authenticity, stability, exchange, conflict resolution. Exchange: like exchanging money, need transfer equivalence. Place to save Academic credits. Facilitate the safe deposit, secure transfer, & international recognition of Academic credits. Banking analogy is great! Obstacles: in Mexico ‘apostille’ or legalisation process to recognise certificates etc; fraud: trust affected by false credentials; diploma ‘mills’ & accreditation ‘mills’; diversity; quality; lifelong learning. Status: so far only a proposal. Mexican Academic Credit & *RPL Bank – to reintroduce people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs). http://www.rodac.sep.gob.mx. RODAC operational model = triangle – compare with Digitary? ‘The creation of national student data depositories…is not only about efficiency, technology & security; it is also about changing educational concepts & innovating for a better future…’

Video Message: Straddling academic & professional mobility. A case for bringing in central SIS/Pedro Chaves, Principal Adminstrator, Europass, & EQF NCP Manager, European Commission. Free mobility of people, still basic principle. Key obstacle to student mobility: recognition of qualifications from other countries. <How does the HEAR fit in with all this stuff?> Countries outside the EU are considering Europass. European Area for Student Qualifications by 2015, allowing students to register qualifications, comparability of qualifications & skills, easy to use = success. Transparency, comparability & quality of qualifications.

Verification of student records & relevant policies for Chinese students studying abroad/Ming Tingxi, Director of Overseas Academic Credential Evaluation Office from Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange. Supports study abroad, promotes study in China, serves returning scholars & students, facilitates international cooperation & exchange. Verification for international students. Overseas academic credential evaluation.

AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers) Position Statement on Digital Student Data Portability (DSDP)/Mike Reilly. Benefits: trusted source; elimination of fraudulent records; student mobility; business efficiency; environmentally friendly.

EAIE (European Association for International Education) Position Statement/Hans-Georg van Liempd. The European centre for expertise, networking & resources in the internationalisation of HE. Benefits: smoother, faster, more cost effective operations for members. Committed to move from paper to digital; disseminate info electronically; support organisations that can takethe lead in DSDP; to inform members on its importance.

“In theory, practice is like theory; in practice, it is not”

Exchange of Experience. Peter Parmentier/Student Data in Flanders. All data centralised in real time by Flemisch MoE. Bologna process – significant impact; new structure, more flexible etc. Started SOA 2008-2009. Central database has to support new legislation, integration with 3rd parties, support enrolment. Student enrols at institution, HEI uses web service to send info to central systems, 2 way, links to other services: student portal (central), diplomas database = LED, centralises info from diverse parties, supports the labour market, information for citizens. So student accesses info centrally, not via institution. Rosemary Woodger/VETASSESS Australia. Government business enterprise, Assessment-only Registered Training Organisation. Verifies qualifications for immigrants. Approved Chinese organisations can upload documents, get verifications etc all online. VET e- Learning strategy: 2012-2015, to strengthen use of new learning technologies. One initiative = ePortfolios to improve quality & portability of learning information. Includes consideration of data privacy issues. Supports access through APL/APEL, credit transfer etc. http://www.vetassess.com.au. Anna-Lise Lande & Geir Magne Vangen/University of Oslo. The Student Management System FS. Covers all of HE in Norway. New strategy: more digital; national recognition registry; diploma bank. Result owner logs into Diploma Bank via national ID-portal. Mobility: can make a lot of improvements locally, but needs international cooperation. Standards are key. Gabriela Jitaru/Ministry of Education, Research, Youth & Sport, Romania. National student enrolment registry (RMU). Needed: a real image of HE participation; more centralised info to support development; increased visibility of info; consistent data; reliable data; synthesis of national indicators. So needed: integrated system at national level; data transfer/reporting between/from Universities; accurate consistent statistics & reports; interoperability with other systems. The enrolment registries of Universities become part of the central system. Institutions have local RMU component to manage interface. Data published in RMU portal. Prateek Mohan/CDSL, India. Central Depository Services Ltd. NAD – National Academic Depository. Diploma bank. Very similar to Digitary/DARE. http://www.nad.co.in.

Discussion Panel. What have panellists got from the day? Very relevant, good time to work together. Informative. A lot of work to be done. Common goal: digital student data portability. Learned a lot. Can make it very difficult for students to be mobile; need to make it easy. DSDP can help. Centralised systems may not be possible (eg Europe) – in which case need excellent interoperability. Governance: how do we set & communicate the rules. Comment on Groningen Declaration: should be as open as possible to start with, to encourage participation. Go back to your country & tell your government how important DSDP is, & get them to engage! Committee – thinking of 4 task forces. 1. Communication – everyone. 2. Find helpers – everyone. 3. Preparing business cases. 4. Data exchange/standards. Flagships in sync – let’s sync our flagships (not sink them…) 3 pilots: DUO & NSC; USA & Mexico; Netherlands & Belgium. Next meeting, this time next year, USA.

Last day/Note – visit to CHESICC offices. Liked the look of the colour coded nationwide map display of student registrations, updated in real-time.

UCISA 2013 – the Final Day #ucisa13

Mobile learning in the classroom – Mark Howell/Meru. Developments in the school sector. Mobile taking over. Technology permeates the very fabric of the school – it’s in the DNA (Primary School). Smartphone & tablet installed base will overtake PCs this calendar year. Informational ubiquity. Multiple automatically WIFI connected devices per student – will HE WIFI cope? Martini learning – again – how many more times? And so, what? Apparently things will happen that we weren’t expecting. Heavens above.

Idea Street – creating a culture of change – David Cotterill, Cabinet Office. Deputy Director, IT Reform Government Digital Service. Idea Street -project at DWP. 100,000 staff – innovation team with 7 people. 3 great myths about innovation: don’t have time; don’t have resources; don’t have culture. But really all about prioritisation – culture key. Sounds familiar! Drucker: the culture ate the strategy. HR: will help, make innovation an objective in everybody’s performance plans – yeah, that’ll work. Economic and social bargains can be contradictory. Game dynamics are very influential – appointment dynamics, have to be there at certain times to do certain things, Farmville – more users than Twitter, have to obey the game. (Seth Priebatsch). Next dynamic – influence & status, desperate to be Level 10 etc. School is a game, just not very well designed – why not use game dynamics explicitly. Progession dynamic – like LinkedIn, only 85% complete. Great stuff. Another dynamic – voyage of communal discovery. Crowdsourcing approach to promoting innovation. Similar to OpenLivin – create buzz, vote, team etc – idea owners build the team to take the idea forward. Ideas marketplace. Final: people like doing fun stuff; the unit of delivery is the team; start with user needs.

Transformation of public sector services – Mike Bracken/Cabinet Office. Executive Director for Digital Government Digital Service. Spending a lot of time trying to get IT out of the way. What’s exciting is the users, not the IT. Digital by default. Fix publishing. Fix transactions. Go wholesale. Build services like Google & Amazon – iterative, agile, user-focused. How do we usually do it? Start with policy, requirements, development, end with user needs. Now: start with user needs, get it out there quickly – otherwise the world changes while the users are waiting. But: requires a level of user engagement/effort that we don’t usually get? Objective: digital services so good that people prefer to use them. Working on stuff that matters – IT doesn’t, user needs do.

UCISA 2013 Day 2 Session 2 #ucisa13

Maximise the capability of your greatest resource – Gareth Cahill/BCS. What, a whole session about paperclips? What if I invest in my staff & they leave? or – what if I don't invest in my staff & they stay? Who's done the BCS thing? – St Andrews, Loughborough, University of the Arts. Merging SFIA with HERA/HAY. Good structure & stuff, bit dry, just needs doing – hell, why woudn't you want to understand your skills base & develop your staff?

Transforming leadership of your IT Service – from IT Director to CIO – Albert Ellis/Harvey Nash. The transformational CIO. Change ahead – well, it generally is. What is priority for CEO – save or make money. All CIOs – 62% make, 38% save; HE 47%/53%. CIOs feel 21% less important than did 5 years ago – is this necessarily a bad thing? Just realised I've seen this before…what attributes does CIO need? Vision high, blue sky thinker low; listening high/emotional intelligence low – contradiction? New normal? What? Skills to succeed: need to understand new business models, how technology can open up new channels with the customer; key point: make it easier for senior management to do their jobs; breakthrough thinking; simplify & articulate complex processes/technology & get things done in practice.

UCISA 2013 Day 2 #ucisa13

Students as producers of IT departments – Dan Derricott, Lincoln. Student engagement – we need to engage with students. Does your IT service engage with the student voice? Not enough! – but have to recognise that there are student voices, rather than 'a' student voice – engage with the diversity, Students Union can be helpful but probably not comprehensive. 1968 – students became more than students. Could not have imagined what they were going to get – but can institutions engineer this experience? Need to create an environment in which it can happen – but you can take a horse to water…Systematic engagement of students.

A CFO & an IT Director in conversation – Bob Rabone & Chris Sexton, Sheffield. Think about money. What is the point of an accountant? IT joke: people who solve a problem you didn't know you had, in ways that you don't understand: serious point, get better at explaining what you're doing. 3 reasons for doing something: cheaper, better, or income generating. Make sure you can explain in those terms. What do IT Directors want? Budgets that go on for more than a year. A procurement officer who understands IT procurement. Savings that come back to the department. Can get capital but can't get staff – get stuff but can't do anything with it…Thinking, Fast and Slow: Daniel Kahneman

(A thought, apropos of something: the psychopathology of organisations – identify a problem; create a job to solve the problem; perpetuate the problem; go back to the top of the slide (we are in Liverpool, after all…))

 

UCISA 2013 – Liverpool 13th-15th March Day One #ucisa13

Usual rambling commentary, impressions, interventions…

VC's Question Time. Chair: Peter Gallimore, former producer of BBC Today programme, with Nigel Weatherill, Liverpool John Moores, Howard Newby, Liverpool, & John Coyne, Derby.

  1. 24/7 support? John Coyne: critical platform for core mission. Hard to resolve: don't want shift systems. Need colleagues to appreciate the service delivery. Nigel Weatherill: need to ensure that we have resilient, quality systems to minimise downtime. Howard Newby: not what we want, but what students want. Have to operate in different timezones. Question from floor: how do you go about ensuring 24/7, instead of just hoping for it? Weatherill: comparison with 24/7 health support – need to look at new methods of service delivery, interacting with professionals from other sectors. Q from floor: outsourcing? Google/Microsoft. What wouldn't you outsource? Newby: commodity support vs. personalised service. Weatherill: educationally led institution but have to run on business principles. IT can be a differentiator – might outsource the basics, retain that which is specific to values and vision of LJMU for students. Coyne: need to put together set of best-in-class components that meet individual needs (EA perhaps?) – then make decisions about what you contract for & what you keep inside.
  2. Q from Tim Marshall (different subject): need to preserve but also open up information resources – open access. Newby: wholly in favour. Why should work which is publicly funded not be publicly accessible? Weatherill: also in favour; what would keep him awake at night? FOI & research data. When do the outcomes go into the public domain? Research needs opportunity to mature before enters open access. Coyne: direction is open access. Also concerned about FOI industry.
  3. Should IT Director be at the top table? Weatherill: at LJMU that person does sit at top table, but has wider brief – important thing is that they understand the business. Newby: senior team meetings always very large; how to configure academic & service structures. Basically, no. Coyne: should Director have early & influential strategic voice? Yes. Not necessarily helpful to talk about top table; can get Derby senior team round a stool. Consensus: need influence/access, not necessarily seat. Coyne: someone who can understand the purpose of the institution, map it to the capabilities of IT, and articulate it. Transparency of senior team activities? Weatherill: about communication. LJMU cascade approach – senior team to leadership team to staff. Needs middle-up-down management – recognition of key role of middle manager – Japanese approach. Newby: growth of less collegial, more business/competitive approach. All engaging in activities we wouldn't want competitors to have early sight of.
  4. Is HE a business? Coyne: stakeholders (students) are far more important than shareholders would be. Need to be business-like in efficient & effective delivery. Weatherill: educational institution that needs to be run on business principles. Driven by strategic framework. Newby: have to be business-like in terms of being efficient & effective – but also values-driven, belief in greater knowledge contributing to social progress. Need to be increasingly attentive to stakeholders – Ivory Tower is over.
  5. Q from Twitter: how do you get input from student body? & how important is NSS. Newby: embed NSS in more broad ranging/sensitive assessment. Days are gone when we knew what students ought to want. Weatherill: QAA Conference, Edinburgh – a lot about student engagement. Suggestion that student feedback needs to be systematised – but so much formal/informal that just happens. Coyne: unique programme representative system, annual Q&A, University held to account. Ignore the student voice at your peril – students good at holding up honesty mirror.
  6. Q from floor: an avalanche is coming? Newby: MOOCs – threat or opportunity? What is unique to University? Ability to award a degree – apart from that almost everything can be done by somebody else. Also – personalised service difficult to deliver in online experience. Also: what are students buying? Some, information & knowledge; some, a brand – are MOOCs strong enough. Can they address the social objectives of HE as opposed to just the economic ones. Future = blended learning, but be careful how you blend. Weatherill: what is the currency of a MOOC? HE currency: standards & accreditation. Coyne: a destructive technology or just the latest fashion that invites us to question ourselves? Newby: IT does mass bits, Socratic dialogue for rest (at least I think that's what he meant!)

 

oMbiel & campusM ULCC Senate House 28th January #mobileVLE

Random kind of comments, some from presenters (hope I've understood!) some from me…mine in italics, probably…

1. Mark Stubbs – Enhancing the student experience: Moodle & campusM at MMU. Doing a big transformation. New curriculum – couldn't give the students what they wanted with level of complexity in curriculum. Mobile timetables & stuff just wouldn't work. & everything is connected to everything else – so hard to make incremental change.

Focus: improve satisfaction, retention & success. Great seamless, organised online experience, great learning spaces, great teaching.

So: online experience. Personalised timetable as number 1 student requirement – surprise surprise. Also top of mobile requirements. Wrapping the institution around the learner. SRS: Unit4 good integration on programme & module codes. Didn't like Moodle UI out of box so wrapped around that too. Also Live@edu, Syllabus+. Built 'megamashup' – student/course codes used to join everything together. Launched September 2011: key, included curriculum rationalisation.

Next step: surface in campusM. 20k+ registrations. Access to Moodle & timetable = 2 big things by far. All about services surfaced via megamashup – assignments, reading lists. Requires good partners with good APIs. Joined-up approach for making a step-change improvement in student experience. Consistent programme/module codes for tagging, enabling the megamashup to find all relevant stuff for a student = the core.

3. Richard Horton/oMbiel: Why have an Institutional Mobile Strategy? 79% of students own a smartphone. 92% check their smartphone during lunchbreaks. 93% use while commuting. 77% check before getting out of bed. Dixons sold 5 android tablets per second in run up to Christmas.

Mobile First/BYOD. Brand. Security. Dynamically configured institutional app configured by permission & role. Different configs for different stages: open days; welcome week; etc.

Start small & build – OK, but need to build quickly! If doesn't deliver compelling functionality from the start, will be hard to keep going. Needs an EA model.

Build or buy? Changing so quickly that need good internal resource to keep up which is unlikely…need a group/resource that does nothng else, like an external supplier.

3. Imperial Mobile – our journey. Very uncomfortable, very slow. Contract to live in 12 weeks. Fairly limited go-live requirements. Co-located web team of comms & IT. Went for big rather than soft launch – if don't get them quick, lost for a year. Aimed at new students – not much to bring them back, not sticky enough, needed reasons to return. So: real-time transport info; course evaluation survey developed with AEK. Future: VLE; targetted & personalised.

4. Moodle Integration. moodleM. Uses Moodle web services where available, have written some new ones with ULCC for mobile optimisation – will be Open Source.

5. Richard Havinga/ULCC: The campusM eILP (Individual Learning Plan). Looks good…mobile ePortfolio, might take off.

So, what are we learning here? Essentially & most significantly, for me, that you need an integrated University to present an integrated mobile experience. So ref MMU – to achieve success, the mobile strategy requires a load of other stuff to happen that wouldn't be in the mobile strategy around integrating the University at the data, process & people level, not just the systems.

This Saturday is Groundhog Day.

The Future is Uncertain…

Yes, isn’t it.

I have over the years become increasingly frustrated when listening to various people, pundits, practitioners, whatever, telling me that these days ‘the future is uncertain’ or ‘the future is more uncertain’ or ‘the future is even more uncertain’ – suggesting that at some point in the past, clairvoyance was a science rather than a myth, what with the future having been certain and all.

Obviously there are variations in the pace of change, but if this magical time of certainty had ever existed, our ancestors might perhaps not have expended so much energy on astrology, palmistry, the I Ching, tarot cards and reading entrails.

I also get frustrated listening to ‘people…’ etc. telling me that if we just wait until we’ve finished the latest organisational restructure, or have brought in that new manager, or waited for that pig to fly past the window, then we will achieve some mythical stability that will enable us to engage in some strategic or project or programme planning in a context where what we plan will come to pass. (Notwithstanding one of the main purposes of planning being so that you’re prepared for the plan to fail…)

Hence in my frustrated state, I was very pleased to read the attached post by Roger Martin on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network ‘Strategy and the Uncertainty Excuse’ – well worth a look!

It’s messy and it always will be! So – get over it, and get on with it. Happy New Year!