How are you using PDF transcripts?

lightbulb ideaAACRAO and the AACRAO SPEEDE (Standardization of Postsecondary Education Electronic Data Exchange) Committee have been at the forefront of the development of electronic student records exchange. When the AACRAO SPEEDE Committee was first appointed in 1988, computers were still in their infancy and few people owned a home computer--(Did you?). The development of a standard format and server network for the exchange of electronic records was a truly visionary achievement resulting in the first SPEEDE EDI format to be released in 1990. It helped pave the way for significant changes in the way student records and data are exchanged, and how institutions conduct their business processes. The server network (UT Austin Server) reached a milestone in January 2013 after exchanging its 35 millionth electronic education record.

In 2008, AACRAO appointed the Electronic Transcript Task Force to examine the current state of technology for electronic transcript exchange, describe best practices, and forecast future developments (their report can be seen here). One of the conclusions of the report was that, while there were well-defined standards and best practices for transcript exchange using EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and XML (Extensible Markup Language), AACRAO had not yet developed best practices and guidance for the exchange of transcripts using an increasingly common PDF format. Bob Morley and John œTom Stewart also noted in their chapter on electronic records in the AACRAO 2011 Academic Record and Transcript Guide that the œproduction and dissemination of PDF transcripts are not guided by any standards, guidelines or best practices to date (page 71).

The AACRAO SPEEDE Committee has taken on the task of developing guidance and best practices for the exchange of PDF transcripts. To begin their work they have developed a survey of AACRAO members to learn more about whether and how they currently use PDF transcripts. Once the survey results are compiled, the SPEEDE Committee will begin the process of constructing best practices and guidance for the use of PDF transcripts to share with the AACRAO membership. 

œIn the rapidly changing world of electronic transcript exchange, the AACRAO SPEEDE Committee stands ready to support the needs of the AACRAO Community. Whether it involves helping to navigate implementation and adoption of existing standards and technologies, or assisting with the creation of new standards or best practices for emerging technologies, we are excited about what the future holds with respect to the expansion of electronic exchange technologies and services says Robin Greene, Chair of the AACRAO SPEEDE Committee.

Please help contribute to the development of best practices for PDF transcript exchange by completing the survey by May 1, 2013. The SPEEDE Committee hopes to complete its work over the next few months.


By: AACRAO Connect