An IBM white paper proposes that the next generation of what we currently know and love as the Student Record System should evolve into an open-source Student Services System:

The name, Student Services System, reflects the evolution from a records system to an information system to one that is designed around the concept of services. The Student Services System will be comprised of two major components: first, a Student Information System (SIS) with a complete set of integrated business modules (e.g., Admissions, Student Accounts, etc.), and secondly, integration middleware, referred to as a Student Services Bus (SSB).

Not too surprising, perhaps, from a company which has bought so heavily into SOA. However, they go on to say that:

The new student services organisation will need to discard the 80/20 rule – i.e., it only takes 20 percent of the effort and cost to provide high-level service for 80 percent of the issues. The big payoff comes in conceiving how to efficiently serve the remaining 20 percent, referred to as "long tail." Figuring out how to serve the tail is the next big area of opportunity for the Student Services organisation.

This I didn’t expect! The "long tail"? A student information system with open APIs, which can really participate in the 'web of data', linking to all kinds of (perhaps much smaller) services, is something to aspire to.

In outlining a possible community model for developing such an open source system, there is more than a nod to the Sakai Project’s approach.

With open-source developments successfully challenging in the VLE, ePortfolio and web-portal spaces, maybe the time for exposing student record services has arrived.

This was previously published at and was retrieved from the Internet Archive.