Case study: "Using eduID to easily register for a minor with the LDE Alliance"
Registering for a minor at another university went from a complicated and labour-intensive puzzle to an automated, privacy-friendly and more secure process. Indispensable for this is eduID, say Marja Verstelle (Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities) and Iteke de Jong (Erasmus University Rotterdam).
Register in one click
It can be quite difficult for students to take a minor at another university, just searching for which university offers which minors. And for institutions, it is a lot of work to create guest accounts for every external student and keep lists of who is taking what and when. That is why the alliance LDE (Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University) launched the platform eduXchange.nl in 2023, which offers their students an overview of over 200 minors as well as the possibility to register for a minor in one click.
"eduXchange was new, but eduID already existed and proved to be an important solution in the enrolment process," Verstelle explains. Thanks to eduID, the three institutions no longer need to create guest accounts. "The eduID is linked to the student's institution account. So we know that the student is who he says he is." To register for a minor, students have to create an eduID in advance on eduID.nl. This is done in a few seconds. They can then use the eduID for the rest of their lives. When creating an eduID, students link it to their institution account. Next, eduID verifies whether the student is actually a student at that institution. By using eduID, the student gives permission to the host institution to retrieve the personal data needed for enrolment from the home institution.
7,500 enrolments with no questions or error messages on eduID
On 8 May 2023, it was D-Day: registration for minors via eduXchange opened in the early afternoon for the three universities. Thousands of registrations were expected that afternoon, and the relevant staff of the universities plus the SURF helpdesk waited anxiously. Verstelle: "An online queue of two hours quickly developed and, as a student, you don't want to find out that you still have to create an eduID when it's finally your turn to register." By the end of the afternoon, 7,500 students had registered, while the helpdesk had not received a single question or error message about eduID.
Creating eduID no bottleneck
De Jong: "Beforehand, we did worry that creating an eduID would become a bottleneck. After all, it is an extra (but indispensable) step. Fortunately, everything went better than expected." De Jong and Verstelle are convinced that advance communication about eduXchange and eduID also played a major role in the smooth running of the registrations: "We communicated a lot and repeatedly about the registration process, including the importance of creating an eduID in advance. For example, we had an instructional video made in which we explain step by step how registering for a minor works. In it, we also explain that students are obliged to create an eduID first. After making that instruction video, eduID was updated, so it could be that some screenshots of eduID in the video were no longer up-to-date, but that turned out not to be a problem. Apparently, creating the eduID works intuitively enough."
The three universities involved their ICT departments in eduXchange at an early stage, as they had to provide a link to SURFeduhub. Through that link, the institutions can use the eduXchange platform with associated information flows. The data is exchanged via SURFeduhub with the Open Education API (OOAPI).
Student information system
Two institutions chose to use the Student Information System (SIS) to exchange, retrieve and process the data. At the third institution, a new application handles this. In the end, both approaches resulted in a secure, reliable and manageable exchange of student data between institutions via SURFeduhub.
Other applications eduID
Verstelle: "Now that eduID has worked so well in the registration process for minors, we are looking within the LDE alliance at what else we can use it for, for instance for lecturers who provide joint teaching. They currently get a guest account, but this might soon no longer be necessary at all if they too create an eduID."