News

SIF Association AU Implementation Projects paving the way for national open standards adoption

By Carletta
October 16th, 2013

The SIF Association Community in Australia (SIF AU) has made great strides in their adoption and utilization of open standards. Over the past few years, and with support from the National Schools Interoperability Program (NSIP), the AU community has undertaken a range of real-world implementation projects to test the functionality and scalability of SIF in a range of contexts. Value has been demonstrated in school level product integrations, enterprise level system integrations, interstate student data exchange and school access to commercial online services.

NSIP have identified the Student Information System (SIS) as the cornerstone application in the path towards interoperability in Australia. This is because it contains authoritative identity information that is critical to so many learning and administrative applications, increasingly on a ‘real time’ basis. NSIP has worked closely with SIS Vendors to ensure SIF meets local requirements and provided assistance in the development of SIF Agents for their products.

This has included development of a widely used profile of the SIF Implementation Specification referred to as the SIS Baseline Profile (SBP). The SBP applies in particular to the exchange of identity data and the linking of data generated in cloud application back to local identities. Further details can be found here:
https://www.sifassociation.org/Specification/Documents/SBP_Brochure.pdf

Significant projects that have been completed or are currently underway include:
– Register of Australian Schools (RAS) Technical Pilot: RAS is testing the capability of SIF to report school, campus identification data from the different Australian jurisdictions into a single School Register, which could be utilized by national and jurisdiction level bodies.
– Education Services Australia – Production ZIS: Education Services Australia manages a SIF Zone Integration Server for production use by education projects in Australia.
– Tasmania – Scootle Production: The Tasmania – Scootle Production project utilized an implementation of SIF Agents which is used to for internal purposes and made the Staff data available to Scootle. Open ID solution for Tasmania Department of Education staff to access Scootle utilizing their Tasmanian network sign credentials.
– Australian Capital Territory – Scootle Production: The ACT – Scootle Production project utilized an implementation of SIF Agents and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) solution for ACT Department of Education staff to access Scootle utilizing their ACT network sign credentials.
– Northern Territory – Scootle Production: Scootle provides national digital educational resources. The Tasmanian – Scootle Production project utilized an implementation of SIF Agents and OpenID access Scootle utilizing their Tas network sign in credentials.
– South Australia – Scootle Production: Scootle provides national digital educational resources. The SA – Scootle Production project utilized an implementation of SIF Agents and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) solution for SA Department of Education staff to access Scootle utilizing their SA network sign credentials.
– Northern Territory – Department of Education and Catholic Education Office: Northern Territory Department of Education aggregated student data and attendance information from the Department of Education and Catholic Education Office in to the Northern Territory data warehouse using the SIF AU standard.
– Tasmania – Improve: Improve is an online formative assessment tool provided by the national service provider Education Services Australia. The Tasmania – Improve project is re-using the provisioning of identities from the Tasmanian jurisdiction and applying these to Improve and reusing the same OpenID single sign-on.
– Connected Any Student, Any School (CASAS): Connected Any Student, Any School is a Tasmanian State wide multi sector project linking education school systems and e-learning using 21st century toolsets, systems and services through a collaborative data center.
– Tri-Border Attendance Strategy: Tri-Border Attendance Strategy looked at tracking the attendance of students who move between schools and state borders in Western Australia, South Australia, and Northern Territory. This cross-jurisdiction project used SIF to gather data from each jurisdiction, and then matched them centrally to provide a view of attendance across all three jurisdictions.
– Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM) Central Agent: The Catholic Education Office Melbourne is integrating the Catholic Information System (CIS) with the 39 schools’ student administration systems using both SIF ‘Classic’ and SIF 3.0.
– SIF Schools Pilot Projects: The SIF Schools Pilot Project involves four school pilot implementations, testing data transfer between the Student Information System and the Teaching and Learning applications within a school using SIF.

“One of the greatest strengths of the SIF Association is not the technology or the enabling data usage but the expert global community that is addressing the real world challenges being seen at all levels of the education lifecycle”, states Larry L Fruth II, Ph.D., Executive Director/CEO, SIF Association. “The various successful projects being supported by the SIF AU community guarantees that the SIF technical blueprint and surrounding effective practice sharing community ensures solutions-based, on the ground success stories.

The SIF Association AU Community is also heavily involved with the global Community developing the SIF 3.0 Specification. The SIF 3.0 Specification separates the data model and infrastructure, allowing for seamless localization of the SIF Specification and introduces alternatives to the monolithic message broker as well as supporting the industry standard REST platform. For more information on SIF 3.0, please visit: https://www.sifassociation.org/Resources/Developer-Resources/SIF-3-0/

About the SIF Association
The SIF Association is a unique, non-profit collaboration composed of over 3,200 schools, districts, local authorities, states, US and International Ministries of Education, software vendors and consultants who collectively define the rules and regulations for educational software data interoperability. The SIF Implementation Specification enables diverse applications to interact and share data efficiently, reliably, and securely regardless of the platform hosting those applications. The SIF Association has united these education technology end users and providers in an unprecedented effort to give teachers more time to do what they do best: teach. For further information, visit http://www.sifassociation.org.

About the Author:

Carletta