The Digital Student Data (DSD) Project was established in March 2015 to achieve the following key objectives:
- Credential integrity and security through the ability to provide third-parties with a verified document from a secure and trusted source reducing the need for the production and verification of hard copy documents and opportunities for fraud.
- Productivity improvements for universities through streamlined academic record production and management and, most significantly, the ability for universities to provide and access secure academic records from local and, critically, international institutions via international nodes.
- Student mobility and data portability through giving students control of their academic records in a form that is easily accessible and secure both locally and globally.
The DSD Project is a truly collaborative effort involving 39 Australian universities, who played a key role in the first stage. To complete the first phase of the project, the universities contributed $400,000 in funding and in-kind support at least equal to that amount to develop business requirements, engage KPMG to manage the tender process and identify a suitable vendor to develop the solution.
Extensive sector consultation has taken place over the last two years to develop a long-term sustainable, cost-effective solution for universities that will be accessible by students, employers and institutions.
The Steering Group set up by the DVCs-Corporate to oversee the project has confirmed Digitary and as the preferred vendor of the platform, with Deloitte as the local implementation partner.
The following seven pilot sites have been identified: The University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of New England, University of Western Australia, University of Adelaide, University of Auckland and Griffith University. The Project Group has worked with Digitary to finalise the DSD solution scope, pricing model and funding mechanism, implementation plan and costs. Higher Ed Services (HES) has been confirmed as the managing organisation of the project and contractual arrangements are currently being finalised.
Ninety percent of the universities in Australia and New Zealand have agreed to participate in the project and the following seven pilot sites have been identified: The University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of New England, University of Western Australia, University of Adelaide, University of Auckland, Griffith University. It is hoped that Monash and The University of Melbourne will implement the solution before the end of 2016.
The DSD Project is linked to the international initiative, the Groningen Declaration which aims to enhance student mobility and provide credential integrity and security for digital student academic data globally. Fifty-six stakeholders in 20 countries have signed the Groningen Declaration with Australia becoming a signatory in May 2015. Two of Australia’s largest source countries for international students, China and India, are signatories.
The Deputy Head of University Services and the Registrar at the University of Melbourne, Mr Neil Robinson, is Chair of the DSD Project Group and has successfully led the project since its inception. In May, Mr Robinson represented Australia at the annual Groningen Meeting where Australia was chosen as the host country for the 2017 meeting.
"TEQSA welcomes the Digital Student Data project and the commitment shown by the universities to working together on this important issue. Integrity in credentials and certification of qualifications is of vital importance to students, providers and employers,” CEO of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, Mr Anthony McClaran.
The Groningen Declaration aims to provide a better experience for students and promote mobility by creating secure digital student data collections worldwide to replace barriers imposed by outdated verification processes.
The founding seminar for what subsequently became known as the Groningen Declaration (GD) was held at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in 2012. The GD itself and the GD Network were developed by the Education Executive Agency DUO (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs), part of the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Universities Australia signed the Groningen Declaration at the Annual Groningen Declaration Network meeting in Malaga, Spain on 5 May 2015.
In recognition of the importance of this initiative to the university sector, a Digital Student Data Taskforce has been established, under the auspices of the Reference Group, to undertake a feasibility assessment and develop a sector-wide solution to enable digital student data portability and qualification security.
Higher Ed Services, Universities Australia’s professional services company, is providing secretariat support for the Taskforce.
Any enquiries should be directed to DSDTaskforce@hes.edu.au