ETHZ.2

Exchange performance data

Long Title: Exchange of Performance Assessments
Leading
Organization:
ETH Zürich
Participating
Organizations:
EPF Lausanne
Other
Partners:
Universität Zürich
Universität Basel
Université de Lausanne
Université de Neuchâtel
Domain: AAA
Status: finished
Start Date: 01.02.2009
End Date: 31.01.2010
Project Leader: U. Hassler
Deputy Project Leader: C. Faivre

How can results of assessments be exchanged between different institutions?
This project delivers the necessary standard and an electronic exchange platform.

Results

The project's main result is the delivery of a standard that has been accepted by all Swiss universities how to describe and exchange performance assessments between them. On the base of these definitions an electronic exchange platform with the central component "EPA Node" has been implemented which can be used by all universities in order to report performance assessments to other universities. Since every university will want to implement a binding of the platform to its own IT systems and subsequent data integration steps, the platform comes with a lean Java API and web service interface offering the functionality needed.
The EPFL and the ETH Zurich started with the exchange of performance assessment messages in spring 2010 thus demonstrating the production-readiness of the proposed solution.

The following resources were developed:

Component Description
EPA Dataset The definition of the performance assessment message standard accepted by all Swiss universities.
EPA Node A JEE5 compliant enterprise application. It is the central component for the fully automated exchange of standardized performance assessment messages that will be used by any university who wants to participate in the exchange.
EPA Adapter ETHZ,
EPA Adapter ISAP
JEE5 compliant enterprise applications that bind the node to the university specific systems. Universities who want to cooperate can use these implementations as a guideline for the implementation of the binding to their node.
EPA Web Adapter JEE5 compliant enterprise application that offers a web based adapter implementation with a GUI. The application allows to interface the university's node and to import outbound messages from a file, respectively export received messages to a file.
Node Install Doc Detailed Documentation of the reference environment and installation procedure for the EPA Node application.
Node Operations Manual Description of administration functionality for a EPA Node that is offered in the node console.

The resources are available at the IT serivces department of ETH Zurich:

The EPA software system is currently being used for the exchange of performance assessment data between universities. The usage is not restricted to this kind of data though: The system could be easily adopted to support the exchange of other types of messages between universities where reliability and security are primary concerns.

Initial Position

Students frequently follow courses or some part of their study program at other universities. This happens in the following contexts:

  • joint-master-programs (master programs which are offered by several universities in common)
  • programs for which some part (i.e. a minor) is offered together with another university exchange students
  • individual courses taken at neighbouring universities

The performance assessments (exams, graded projects) are taken at other universities and they have to be transmitted to the home university.

Goals of the Project

The goal of the project was that

  • data concerning performance assessments (i.e. results, grades, titles) can be exchanged electronically between universities and universities of applied sciences in a standardized format.
  • the transmitted data can be integrated in the system of the home university in order to use it for transcripts of records and statistics.

Benefits of this solution

  • The work to get the grades and results of exams of other universities into the own system is substantially reduced.
  • The home university gets all results, not only the positive results selected by the students
  • Typing errors (i.e. titles and results) are eliminated and errors caused by parallel communication paths (directly from both the other university and the student), which lead to double counted credits, are reduced.
  • By means of this electronic exchange, it is possible to issue complete transcripts of records for students with exchange semesters without additional work. (Presently some universities mention the acquired credits at other universities only globally because of the workload.)
  • Professors of the universities do not have to work with different systems anymore to communicate the results of performance assessments since all students take the exams at the responsible university. (Presently courses of common programs between ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich are offered at both universities and the professors have a different way to transmit the results for each university).

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