SOA help control runaway higher education costs? Just a thought

Perhaps the costs associated with the complexity of institutions' outmoded back-end systems have something to do with ridiculous tuition costs. Well, a little bit of it.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on

Anybody in college or helping to put a kid through college is painfully aware of the insane tuition fees institutions charge, which have been far outpacing annual cost-of-living increases from year to year.

Credit: Wikipedia

Harvard: it costs a bundle and a half, but maybe SOA can help put a tiny dent in those costs...

Perhaps the costs associated with the complexity of institutions' outmoded back-end systems have something to do with these ridiculous costs. Well, a little bit of it.

The Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) says it is working to do something about it, and has developed what it calls its EdUnify SOA Governance Framework Initiative, which seeks to create greater efficiencies for a $25 billion integration headache faced by education institutions. In a new release, PESC says it is gaining support from leading educational institutions, organizations, associations, states and corporations for the framework.

EdUnify is a shared, neutral, community-based Web services registry and suite of semantic web tools designed to reduce costs of integration and improve efficiency by providing a service-oriented architecture governance framework for education.

EdUnify will launch publicly on October 15th at the EDUCAUSE Conference.

PESC Says the higher education industry spends approximately $25 billion per year supporting proprietary connections and movement of data across disparate applications and systems inside and outside the institution. The utilization and effectiveness of data and information technologies is severely limited by differing access methods, protocols, data definitions and proprietary designs.

EdUnify will include a lookup service that lists integration services, access locations for electronic services, protocols, payloads and authentication which are advertised by data exchange partners in various configurations. This lookup service enables institutions, states and others the ability to advertise their electronic services so others can find those services and automate their connections and their data trading needs.

Examples of Registered EdUnify Web Services include Student and Faculty Data Services; Institutional and Academic Data Services; Course and Program Transferability Disclosure Services; and Enabling New and Innovative Technologies to Support Teaching and Learning Services.

Subsequent phases of EdUnify will expand to include national and international functionality; an agent to link PK12 and workforce systems with higher education systems; functionality to enable timely disclosure to students through an academic transfer network regarding transferability of credits; as well as the option for a virtual private registry service for organizations who need their own private SOA governance tools.

(Photo: Harvard University library. Credit: Wikipedia.)

Editorial standards