Lessons learned: Two states’ electronic data exchange initiatives

December 2, 2019
  • AACRAO Annual Meeting
  • Electronic Records and Document Exchange
  • Meetings, Workshops, and Trainings
  • Records and Academic Services
  • Transcripts
  • AM2020 Data Exchange
map of U.S. with red points all interconnected

Institutions across the country are addressing electronic data exchange (EDX) either through top-down or bottom-up initiatives. For example, Colorado institutions launched a grassroots initiative to implement XML transcript exchange between postsecondary schools. The state of Indiana has successfully implemented an EDX format for secondary-to-postsecondary schools and is in the process of implementing a process for XML transcript exchange between Indiana’s post-secondary schools. 

EDX offers a number of advantages over PDF or traditional paper transcripts, including:

  • Improving transfer articulation.

  • Preventing fraud.

  • Reducing error.

  • Faster processing.

  • Reducing labor-intensive credit processing.

  • Potential for more self-service options for students.

Below is a brief description of the progress of each state’s in-process EDX endeavors. 

Colorado institutions have been having informal conversations about EDX initiatives for at least five years, according to Reid Kallman, Associate Registrar at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

Starting in October 2018, Kallman and fellow Associate Registrar Joey LaConte helped the grassroots effort become more formalized, bringing together about 13 four-year institutions and 13 community college systems.

“To do it as a grassroots initiative, getting buy-in for the vision across campus has been really important -- particularly helping people understand how EDX can improve business processes and help students in the long term,” said Kallman. 

“It’s also been really important to include vendors and business partners in the process,” LaConte added. “They’re an important key player in rolling out EDX.”

Indiana’s path to EDX has been decidedly different, as it came as a 2014 mandate from the Indiana Commission of Higher Education to facilitate high school-to-college credit transfer. The state supported institutions agreed to coordinate the electronic exchange of college-to-college transcripts as an extension of the high school-to-college mandate.

“In addition to coordinating the schema and the use of optional fields with the institutions, curriculum experts from each institution were consulted,” said Jeff Johnston, University Registrar at Indiana University. The transfer initiative aims to make core credit transfer more efficient, so all participating institutions agree to accept credits from students who receive passing grades in certain core classes. “We needed curriculum experts to make that happen,” he said.

Learn more
Eventually, leaders of both initiatives envision EDX transfer between states -- and around the world. 

Representatives from both states will discuss their initiatives, and lessons learned from the implementation process in their session “Getting the Ball Rolling on Electronic Data Exchange. Learn From Two Active Statewide Initiatives” at AACRAO 2020. Learn more about data exchange and the 21st Century transcript at the conference.


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