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Better Know a Partner: DXtera

Credential Engine works with partners large and small across the education and workforce spectrum. What brings us all together is a shared vision to build a transparent credential marketplace in order to bring the clear and comprehensive data students, workers, employers, educators, nonprofits, and policymakers need to make informed decisions about education and career pathways. Our Better Know a Partner series dives deeply into one partnership to reveal what challenges they’re facing in the current credential landscape and how they plan to be part of the solution.

About our Partner:

DXtera is a member-based consortium focused on collaboration and is dedicated to transforming student and institutional outcomes in higher education. With a focus on data transparency, DXtera provides efficient access to key education data so that all its members―from higher education institutions, statewide college, and university systems, to nonprofit and trade associations, government, and employers―can help students succeed.

Recently, DXtera became the first credential transparency partner to publish data to the Credential Registry on behalf of a state. Partnering directly with the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) streamlined the publishing process and eased key challenges often faced by individual institutions―ultimately improving the transparency, connectivity, and utility of institutional data.  We asked Dale Allen, President, and co-founder of DXtera Institute℠ to share his insights on the value of data transparency and more about their work in New Hampshire.

Q: Why does DXtera think that credential transparency is valuable?

DXtera provides learners the ability to understand the market for their credentials and for the market to understand the credentials of the learner.  Consistent and comparable credentials have a significant value to the learner and the market.

Q: Why do you think so many institutions struggle to manage their data?

Educational institutions typically have highly customized and clunky legacy systems that were not designed to enable the efficient exchange of digital information among, between, or to a repository or an application.  Because of this, the institution is forced to focus on operational issues to maintain the systems and often tends to rely on outside parties. In the long term, this can become costly and can make it challenging for an institution to change or update these systems. Our members are part of a growing community to transform how our institutions tackle this challenge. DXtera is designing solutions utilizing our innovative technology that enables each institution to overcome this barrier with the use of a Credential Engine integration solution that can be deployed easily at each campus. The barrier of integration is removed and we build their capacity to manage this going forward.

Q: Tell us about your partnership with CCSNH. How did it help implement credential transparency?

CCSNH and the 7 member colleges wanted to be able to leverage the power of open linked data from the Credential Registry but needed a solution that minimized the challenge of getting data published as well as long-term maintenance while maximizing the benefits of connected data. By publishing on their behalf, we enable the users at the colleges to develop an integration solution that will remove the need for manual collection and loading of a CSV file to the Credential Registry. The DXtera integration solution enables the calibration one time with each college and the system office to load all of their data to the Credential Engine specifications as the colleges authorize this loading.  As credentials change or emerge, the colleges can upload any changes at any time they desire and the data will be loaded into the appropriate location within the Registry. The solution is now available to the rest of the public Universities in New Hampshire, and infrastructure is in place that is ready for reuse to any other college or system that joins into our community.

Q: Talk about your experience publishing to the Registry. What were some things you learned along the way?

Credential Engine specifications are designed to enable the typical credentials to be loaded.  What occurs at most institutions is that not all of the credentials are typical, nor are they available from one location. DXtera overcomes this hurdle by creating connections at the institution itself, which will enable usage to occur from multiple locations across an institution and be loaded through the DXtera integration framework. In addition, the variability of credential types and listings at the institution can be addressed with a normalization process within DXtera’s exchange that enables the credentials to be loaded appropriately.

Q: What would you say to other institutions or systems who are interested in having DXtera publish on their behalf?

We remove the challenges of consuming from within your institution to deploying the DXtera integration framework within your campus environment. DXtera also utilizes the already constructed Credential Engine integration solution to remove any additional costs to deploy the solution.  The ongoing automation of the original and subsequent loading to the Registry improves each institution’s efficiency, as well as saves money and human resources in the long-term.