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Student Data Interchange Gets Open Source Boost

As part of its OpenEAI Project, the OpenEAI Software Foundation has begun releasing new open source Web services that enable the secure exchange of student data between student applications systems and applications on the Web. The first release, Academic History Web Service, is intended to give students access to their data. Colleges and universities implementing the service will be able to allow authenticated students to import their complete academic history.

The core function of the new service--authenticating students and retrieving their academic histories--is the same for all institutions. However, institutions will have different student information systems and different methods for authenticating students. Contributors have designed pluggable modules to enable the authentication operation and the function of building a standard academic history from the student information systems. This design allows institutions using the service to configure it for their environments or to develop custom authentication and academic history provider modules when needed.

The Academic History Web Service is being developed and released as part of the OpenEAI Project to encourage maximum participation and collaboration among participating campuses. The Web services are free to download and the source code is available under open source licenses. The expectation is that the services will be improved and extended by institutions, with enhancements contributed back to the OpenEAI community to the benefit of subsequent adopters.

AcademyOne will be implementing the new Web services in its Student Passport and Transfer Credit Evaluation System (TCES). Students can use the Passport to create and save a curriculum vitae spanning multiple institutions and then manage it and share it with advisors and others as they evaluate their enrollment options. Advisors and administrators use TCES to evaluate a prospective student's prior learning, track evaluations, and provide a systematic and standard assessment to prospective students.

The OpenEAI Software Foundation is a non-profit corporation organized to develop and promote open source enterprise application integration. The foundation was founded by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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