- Initial use cases posted - November 17, 2009
- Wiki, distribution list, and Subversion repository available - November 10, 2009
EdUnify is a set of core services enabling the universal registration, lookup, and invocation of web services allowing clients to find, access, and secure data exchange calls. EdUnify will address deployed, implemented, and abstract services. Deployed services are those that are operational and can be accessed on the web. Implemented services have been defined and implemented, but are not deployed and operational. Abstract services are typically either specifications or designs. Abstract services may or may not have implementations at any point in time. The high-level goals of EdUnify are to:
- open and secure access of structured information managed across distributed databases.
- compatibility with existing technologies, tools and applications.
- enable development of new technologies, tools and applications.
- connect disparate systems, applications and technologies.
- leverage internet connectivity.
- abstract services to buffer physical properties underlying data sources.
- utilize a common framework, protocols and semantics accepted by industry stakeholders.
- communicate data and processes securely, reinforced by reuse.
The specific technical goals of the task force are to:
- document use cases that articulate our goals
- design a registry with metadata about web services
- define the metadata about web services that is essential to maintain to achieve our goals
- design any integration services required to achieve our goals (for example, an ontology service)
- develop web service registration and registration maintenance processes that make sense for higher education
- prove the concept with reference implementations among participating organizations
- formalize specifications through PESC
- drive adoption within our organizations
Statement of the Problem
Across education, the utilization and effectiveness of data and information technologies is severely inhibited by access methods, differing protocols, non-standard payloads, varying data definitions, and inability to trust disparate applications stove piped by proprietary design. Billions of dollars are spent annually trying to move data across components employed by stakeholder computer systems. The current state of automation, with all its redundancy, unnecessary aggregation and inaccuracy render a tremendous burden on the educational investment society as a whole is making.
Policy, governance, research, teaching, administration, funding, and learning are all impacted. The unintended consequence of metered design without considering the external interchanges which contribute to additional obstacles and costs is avoidable. The accurate, authoritative and secure transmission of data spanning components and stakeholders would respect and reinforce autonomy and roles, by connection, rather than push the work around mentality that has been fostered by the industry fearful of data access, use and security.
The education industry spends approximately 4% of operating expenses on IT which approximates $50 Billion annually. Of that, approximately 50% or $25 Billion is spent supporting connections and movement of data across disparate applications inside and outside the institution poorly. Even with that much money spent to keep things band-aided together where funding has been applied, the ineffective use of technology is wasting away the capacity of tools and the investment in automation. Without addressing the challenge to bridge systems and components, we will be continually haunted by what could be, rather than what is. Automation can empower and serve the industry with innovation and unity in purpose. Thus, the call for EdUnify, to create a registry, lookup, and supporting services to enable applications and computer systems to seek and connect through a common abstract pipe following community developed methods, protocols, payloads and services promoted on a voluntary basis.
The following use cases demonstrate how EdUnify will help constituents achieve their objectives. Dave Moldoff to provide initial use cases...Ed Hauser and Steve Wheat will review and edit them as well.
- Electronic Publishing of Academic Information
- Course and Program Transferability Disclosure
- Serving 21st Century Learners Spanning Multiple Institutions
- Enabling Student Applications to Access their Data
Transferability disclosure: Giving students access to course and program transferability pathways at the time they are contemplating a course or program, would offer the best chance for advising and guidance to help students understand the consequence and value of their course plans across multiple institutions. This is what is contemplated in H.R.3221 legislation passed by Congress last September 2009. In order for this to happen, institutions would need to either track how courses they offer would transfer to others, or they would be able to request through a common pipe, access the comparability decisions recorded by those institutions that have considered the course and institution in comparison to their own. The decision process of what is or not is not impacted. But, the use of information managed across different systems would help the student and advisors understand before transfer how courses would count.
Speeding up new developments: 60% of students attend two or more institutions before they graduate with an undergraduate degree. This does not count early college, PLA, CLEP or AP. How does a student know how an AP course would count toward a degree plan of a chosen school? They would have to visit and question each school independently. Time to degree has increased as enrollment patterns continue to shift and older students are now attending school part-time, enrolling in dual programs across more than one school. How can students track their progress when taking course work across two or more schools? Systems today, are not developed to serve this growing population of students and the new initiatives sought to improve 2+2 programs between community colleges and senior institutions.
Real-time access to data: Access to academic history, program course offerings, program requirements and fees would enable applications to calculate time to a degree, cost to finish a degree and the pathway customized to student specific needs.
- EdUnify Subversion Repository
- Technical Design Documentation
- December 17/18, 2009