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INTEGRATING INFORMATION SYSTEMS TO THE BENEFIT OF LEARNERS: A REVIEW OF THE SHELL PROJECT

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The Southwest Hosts Enhancing Lifelong Learning (SHELL) Project, funded by JISC during the period 2002–2005, involved a consortium made up of a university working in partnership with a number of schools and colleges in the South West of England. The project aimed to support the lifelong learner in a range of ways, enabled by the integration of management information systems in the participating institutions. The project partners devised a multi-institutional transcript, and developed shared business processes between collaborating institutions, transferring student record data electronically between partners using XML (eXtensible Markup Language). A learner record database was created to bring together and store details of qualifications achieved by the learner. Access to these records was achieved by the creation of a Web-based portal, with an administrative portal developed to manage the data streams. The experiences of this project and implications for future developments are discussed. Significant findings point to the complexities of transacting data between institutions and the identified need for a unique learner number. The project developed an interoperability architecture that is open source, sustainable and scaleable. Although this is not a trivial task, future directions should now focus on extending the functionality of the learner record.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2005

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