Current and Future Technological Trends
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): Introduced to Higher Education in 1998, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) was the first data standard designed specifically for the electronic exchange of transcripts. The University of Toronto currently exchanges transcript data with the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) in the EDI data standard.
Extensible Markup Language (XML): Around the year 2000, new standards for transcript data were developed employing Extensible Markup Language (XML). XML is a format that builds on the standards of EDI but adds markup language to make transcript data both machine-readable and human-readable. The University of Toronto is currently working on transitioning EDI to an XML process.
Portable Document Format (PDF): The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a nearly ubiquitous and is fast becoming an industry standard for transcript production in higher education, replacing the traditional paper format. Not only is a PDF a visual representation of a student’s transcript, it is easy to exchange, and has built in security to help recipients authenticate the transcript.
Blockchain: Originally developed for digital currency, blockchain is a distributed ledger, encryption and record keeping technology that is slowly being adopted by vendors in the higher education space (e.g., BlockCert, IBM). Blockchain promises the highest security in the exchange academic credentials, without the need for human authentication.
PESC/CanPESC: The Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) is a non-profit data standards setting body headquartered in Washington, DC. PESC’s mission is to create interoperability between systems and data across higher education institutions around the world. The University of Toronto participates in PESC through CanPESC, which represents Canadian interests. CanPESC standards play a vital role in making transcripts more transferable between institutions within Canada and the rest of the world.
Groningen Project: The Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC), along with project partners, the Pan-Canadian Council on Admissions and Transfer (PCCAT), the Canadian University Council of Chief Information Officers (CUCCIO), and the Canadian Post-Secondary Electronic Standards Council (CanPESC), have come together to create the Groningen Project. The Groningen Project supports student mobility and seeks to make the exchange of student data across Canada and the world more feasible, through directly facilitating relationships between institutions and organizations, and creating a trusted network in which student data and credentials can be securely exchanged.
IMS Global Learning Consortium: IMS Global Learning Consortium is non-profit international standard setting group made up more than 500 members from private industry, education institutions, and government. IMS Global’s mission is to advance interoperability, innovation, and learning in the education technology industry through creating and facilitating the adoption of interoperability standards. IMS Global supports competency-based learning, micro credentials, and non-traditional learning, through the development of certified standards for digital badges, comprehensive learner records, and academic credential exchange.