BCcampus has been involved in the Transcript Exchange pilot project since 2009. It started as a proof-of-concept initiative to replace the older, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) method for exchanging post-secondary student transcripts. Three institutions have been involved: Simon Fraser University, Kwantlen University and Douglas College.
The British Columbia Registrars Association (BCRA) had initially approached BCcampus in 2008 with a request to replace the EDI method with a transcript exchange mechanism that would avoid the need to route transcripts through the University of Texas, which has been providing the hub for North American EDI transcript exchanges. B.C. privacy laws, and the aging EDI communications method make continuing with the existing mechanism undesirable.
At one time, nearly all B.C. colleges and universities were prepared to use the EDI method, but today there are only five institutions actively using this original process for sending and/or receiving electronic transcripts. The BCcampus Connector system has proven itself capable of supporting secure, immediate (within Canada) transfer of information between institutions, and was designed with the flexibility to provide transcript exchange functionality.
At first this seemed like a quick and easy pilot: demonstrate that a transcript can be exchanged between the three participating institutions. However, the team realized more work was required after studying similar initiatives in other jurisdictions and after reviewing the technical capabilities of the various student information systems in use in B.C. A key challenge has been to design a solution that supports the various versions of transcript standards.
BCcampus has engaged the services of a project manager to lead the team to successfully complete the three phases of the pilot project: implement the Connector-based transcript exchange mechanism at the pilot institutions, explore potential solutions for other, widely used student information systems in B.C. and prepare a plan for extending the solution to all B.C. post-secondary institutions.
For now, BCcampus has formed a small steering committee to oversee completion of the existing transcript exchange pilot project. Once the project nears completion, this committee will determine the best ways to take the project into full-fledged service.
For more information on Transcript Exchange, contact Randy Bruce: rbruce [at] bccampus [dot] ca.