Data standards define the format and structure of data that is exchanged between systems. This helps to ensure that the data are accurate and consistent. There are multiple benefits to using data standards:
Increased security: They can help to improve the security of credential management systems by ensuring that data are exchanged in a secure and consistent manner.
Reduced costs: They can help reduce the system’s costs by making it easier to integrate different systems and by reducing the need for manual data entry.
Improved efficiency: They can help improve the efficiency of credential management systems by making it easier to manage and track credentials.
Increased compliance: They can help organizations comply with regulations and requirements that govern the use of personal data and credential data.
Some common data standards, schemas, and practices for an integrated credential management system include:
A username (sometimes referred to as a student ID, campus ID, network ID, or NetID) is a unique electronic identifier assigned by an organization to an individual to allow that person access to its computer network and resources. Typically paired with a unique password, the username allows the individual to log into various systems, such as email, online courses, library resources, and other campus services.
User authentication standards help ensure secure access to sensitive information. Standards such as OAuth 2.0, OpenID Connect (OIDC), and SAML 2.0 define ways for users to securely authenticate themselves and grant access to authorized applications or services. These standards are important for ensuring that only authorized personnel can view, edit, or delete information in the system. They also protect sensitive data against unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security threats.
The Decentralized Identifiers (DID) standard enables the creation of a globally unique identifier that an individual or organization can use to verify their identity and prove ownership of credentials in a secure manner, without reliance on a central authority or third-party provider. This can increase security, privacy, and interoperability of credential data across different systems and stakeholders.
Credential offering information
The Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) is a format designed to express information about credential offerings in a standardized and interoperable way. CTDL is important for an integrated credential management technical system because it enables consistent exchange of credential information among different systems, platforms, and stakeholders. It makes it easier for users to find, compare, and evaluate credentials across different providers and contexts, and it also facilitates data analytics, research, and policymaking related to credentials. By implementing CTDL in an integrated credential management system, institutions can improve the visibility, accessibility, and transparency of their credentials. They also can use the growing variety of credential-related tools and services that are being developed using CTDL. Note: CTDL does not represent any information about individuals, but it can be connected and used with other such standards.
The Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange (CASE) standard provides a framework for representing and communicating learning outcomes, course objectives, academic standards, competencies, and skills. The CASE standard enables the exchange of information about such statements across different systems, including learning management systems, assessment tools, and other educational software. This interoperability creates a more seamless integration of data and systems, facilitating the management and assessment of learner outcomes. By using the CASE standard, an integrated credential management system can more effectively design, develop, and evaluate credential offerings that align with educational standards and competencies.
The CTDL Achievement Standards Network (CTDL-ASN) schema is used to describe and categorize competencies. A competency is broadly defined to include assertions of academic, professional, occupational, vocational and life goals, outcomes, and standards—however labeled. Common labels include knowledge, skills, abilities, capabilities, dispositions, habits of mind, and habits of practice.
The OneRoster standard provides a standardized format for exchanging rostering information between educational systems and applications. It is used to simplify the management of learner enrollment, course assignments, and associated data. The standard defines data elements and formats for key entities, including schools, classes, learners, teachers, and enrollments. It also supports the synchronization of course materials, such as assignments and grades.
Course tools and applications
The Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard enables seamless integration with other learning management systems and educational applications. LTI allows different systems to communicate and share data (such as user information, course information, and assessment results) without requiring multiple logins or manual data entry. By using LTI, credential management systems can provide a more streamlined and efficient experience for learners, instructors, and administrators.
The Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council’s (PESC) Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and XML schemas allow for standardized electronic data exchange among different systems and institutions. This makes it easier to transfer credential data, such as transcripts and enrollment information. Standardized schemas also ensure consistency and accuracy of the data being exchanged. This is particularly important for institutions that need to process a large volume of transcripts and enrollment data, as it helps to streamline the process and reduce errors. Standardized schemas also make it easier for learners to transfer credits and credentials between institutions.
The Open Badges standard offers a way to represent and share digital credentials in a standardized format. Open Badges are digital credentials that contain metadata describing the credential, such as issuer, recipient, and the criteria for earning the credential. The Open Badges standard enables interoperability across credentialing systems, allowing badges to be shared and displayed on different platforms and websites. By using this standard, an integrated credential management system can provide a portable and verifiable way to recognize and communicate learners’ achievements. This positions them better in the job market and supports their lifelong learning.
The W3C Verifiable Credentials (VC) specification provides a secure, standardized way of creating, issuing, and verifying digital credentials. It is decentralized, interoperable, and privacy-preserving.
The Comprehensive Learner Record (CLR) standard provides a standardized way of capturing and communicating a learner’s achievements and competencies across different learning experiences and contexts. The CLR standard enables the capture of a wide range of academic and non-academic learning experiences and outcomes, including competencies and co-curricular achievements. This can help learners communicate the full extent of their learning to potential employers, educational institutions, and other stakeholders.