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Verifiable Credentials for Education Task Force Telecon

Minutes for 2021-11-22

Heather Vescent is scribing.
Heather Vescent is scribing.

Topic: Introductions

Topic: Announcements & Reminders

Kerri Lemoie: No meeting next week. On Dec 7, VC-EDU is going to be featured on the main CCG call.
... want to include anything? Get in touch with Kerri.

Topic: VC-EDU Co-Chair Candidates

Kerri Lemoie: Going to meet the candidates. We have 2 open co-chair positions and 4 candidates.
... First up, Frank.
Frank Cicio: founding a company to solve the technology skills gap the past 10 years. It's important to solve these challenges with technology, but there is more... content, ecosystems, partners, many dimensions of importance and use cases.
... taxonomy is core between the learning institutions and the learner to create an environment where everyone can speak to the same language. I have volunteered a lot of time around addressing this. For example, in cybersecurity, working with the NICE framework. I have co-chaired the taxonomy group focused on leveraging the NICE framework to apply to the private sector, previously created for public sector. To extend the government framework to the private sector.
...involved in OSN, national student clearing house, involved in governance and policy work groups for OSN and IEEE.
...thought that I could add some value here.
Next Simone Ravaioli.
Simone Ravaioli: work for digitary, in credentials. Based in europe but work over the world. Have always contributed to standards. My core focus is that this is a vibrant and diverse ecosystem and keep the work connected to work being done elsewhere. To get to an adoption stage/interoperability, you have to recogonize the work of others and work together.
...taking advantage of work elsewhere, other specs. In VCs there is a web of work. Recpgpnize the objective is adoption. I would like to see the standards around learner records get into the mainstream.
...what's happening outside of VC-EDU, in Canada, new spec around new credentials. In Europe, the SEN, is hosting a plenary session to kick off tech work from 10 years ago. I want to bring these connections into this work group to solve the problems on a global level.
Next: Dmitri
Dmitri Zagidulin: Software eng in VC-EDU. Got involved working with Kim Hamilton Duffy. Helped her draw up the architecture for MIT learner credential wallet.
...I bring low level implemention, but also a high level strategic overview. I have built a lot of libraries the credentials are using, mini-did resolvers, did-key, did-web, member of the did working group.
...the other focus is about reaching out and building bridges between other groups. Active in CCG, active in DIF, secure data storage, openid foundation, IETF, IEEE and similar groups. day to day work, involves a lot of listening and understanding and hands on implementation. I've enjoyed this group and want to help.
Next: Colin
Colin (LEF): My career as a teacher and tech integrator. Started getting involved with Learning Economy a couple years ago. Out of curiosity, got involved in the digital world for education, open badges, mozilla. Tried to build badges for my 1st grade students.
...have been secretary of the IEEE and OSN to facilitate. Want to contribute back to this community and want to continue to partner with this community to bridge the gap between the silos in this space.
...this is a great middle ground to partner with these communities. To bring implementation and practical use cases to our learners. Thank you.
Frank: great question, the biggest challenge is mapping competencies to skills and courses. Biggest challenge to post secondary education. The biggest issue we saw, was the schools to translate my course into compentecy. Create a simple way to do this, and go to the faculty. And use ML to simplify this. Triangulate three course sources. The ONET and NICE frameworks, and industry has a handle on taxonomy, the high schools have a good handle. The combination of the high school market and the enterprise market, we can come up with a way for the secondary market understand what skills they have that map to their courses and populate these open frameworks to finetune over time.
Simone Ravaoli: VCs is a fit for current web 3.0 circumstance. The key challenge is to avoid leaving anyone behind. VCs need to be able to work with what is available today. Open badges have started on this journey. But when we build the future of VCs, we anchor and build the bridge with technologies from a different era. The other piece is, introducing verifiable layer that doesn't compromise user experience.
Dmitri Zagidulin: There are a lot of technical challenges in the EDU space, key recovery, tech interop, the biggest challenge we (unfortunately) face is social. The question of trust, trust frameworks that verify the verifiers. The challenge is interop on the strategy level, coalition building. We agree on the envelope, but what goes inside the envelope crosses many boundaries - to make sure we recogonize each others credentials.
Colin: It's 2 things: alignment and agreement from institutions is challenging and adoption. Getting universities and schools to agree on core language. The other part is adoption and making sure the EDU tag doesn't fall into a churn and burn of new idea/innovation/pilot and three years later its gone. For the EDU world to play with the VC world, it needs to happen in the same pace.
Marty Reed: A lot of the credential work in the education system is converging here. How do you think about the intersection of the other standards body work.
...tons of standards bodies doing a lot of work. and they seem to be intersecting in the education world. How do we promote or drive that forward.
Frank: From a tech perspective, data store, as long as we can access and share data. Through open APIs or other technical, whether you are allowed to share via regulations. What's the use case between schools and employers. As long as the data can be shared. An enterprise is not hung up on the standards. Schools are different. From a standards perspective, some orgs have a lead, e.g. IMS Global, IEEE, etc. I would take the view of, who is leading these standard initative, what does it mean and how does it impact the use cases at the end of the day. It's about adoption. What is the impact on adoption, and work to supporting that.
Simone Ravaoli: My technical answer, interop is a human thing. it's true that other standards orgs are working on similar stuff, there is a shared interest. Engage outside the worlds borders, and have a human conversation. It's not necessarily a technical challenge, but you need to prove the interop is working, e.g. Anil John's interop work. Doing it the plugfest way. But the incentives might be a little different. I'm confident there will be a way.
Dmitri Zagidulin: This is a great question. I strongly believe, these specifications and tech stacks can converge and this VC-EDU taskforce should play a role in this. We should have frequent cross-community presentations. The human social element and the tech side can converge and VC-EDU can play a role.
Colin: feel spoiled to hear others answers first and nod along. That's what's great about this community. The social infrastructure to get folks to do business together. We need people to continue to develop and adopt. We need to collaborate across silos and demonstrate interop and use cases that build the trust. And then they start using it and we make progress that way.
Sharon Leu: My question is a follow-up to Heather's about important priorities in edu and credentialing. Growing diversity of credential types, especially issuers (e.g. institutional credential issues as a use case), from your perspective, what are the technical priorities this taskforce to have to make the diversity of credentials to be *used*.
Frank: I believe there are two views: the credentials themselves. We have to work with the credential issuers. There needs to be some level of taxonomy in the credential themself. The second view on how it's used, once you have the granularity, you can use it in a skills marketplace. You have a repository of data in order to address the skills gap.
Simone Ravaoli: To make credentials used, they have to behave, usable and useful at the same time. Maybe one challenge looking at how do we resolve identity of in a VC what is the governance in how we identify legit issuers. It's opening up to other actors that are providing good education. The flexibility in using a did, what else could be used? Or how could we assign dids?
<sharon_leu> Frank, are you suggesting as a technical priority, this task force should expand its scope beyond the existing VC to take a point of view on letter standards?
<frank_cicio> Sharon , sorry letter standards?
Dmitri Zagidulin: On the technical level, the short term challenge to solve as a group: building that issuer registry. If we don't have a list of educational issues, we can't do anything else and we fragment. 1. building that registry, which means agreeing on the governance of who gets to go on that list. 2. is wallets. If we don't have wallets, we can't have these student centric credentials... or it's just as a business as usual way we have always done. By wallets, we need mobile wallets, and in browser web app wallets to interoperate. This is the second technical challenge. Which is why I dove into both projects. #3, is for us to reconcile the tension between small credentials and big bundles of credentials. How do we interlink credentials. We need to support both individual small credentials (QR code, selective disclosure) but we also need to handle large bundles like your entire transcribe to date. #4 we need to agree on common syntax for display/view component. The wallets currently don't agree and you don't know how your credentials are going to be displayed. I think we can do better, templated.
Colin: Dmitri that was awesome. So glad all the candidates are in this community. To me, one of the greatest technical challenges, is to get a small interoperable use case across systems, to iron out these (concerns) on a smaller scale. Finding a small use case or set of users to start making this trust triangle is a good starting point.
<deb_everhart> +q
Deb Everhart: General question, first thank you to all who has stepped forward. There's a lot here about use cases, ecosystems, and technical. Could you each briefly comment on the balance between these? and your role in co-chairing this group?
Colin: the technical spec, what from a credential is going into a wallet and shared btwn institutions.
Dmitri Zagidulin: The balance btwn tech and social, the key for us, plugfest and interop suites specifically. I do look to this group to set a good example, among other edu bodies.
Simone Ravaoli: My contribution on the ecosystem side, to bring this into the adoption space.
Frank: schools have a lot of validation to reg data, transcripts. The focus needs to be on the use case and the focus of this task force's work. Needs to be use case driven and the tech will follow.
Kerri Lemoie: I really appreciate everyone stepping up to offer to do the work. Going to explain how the voting will work.
...sharing the screen. We are going to use rank choice voting. Using OpaVote platform. Kerri will send the link out on the VC-EDU mailing list. (Going over the participation requirements.)
<frank_cicio> Sharon, expanded scope may be necessary if it supports the Workgroups mission and charter
...the candidates and their submissions are linked.
...lastly since we are using ranked choice voting. It works so that there is only one vote per person.
<sharon_leu> @frank, I was referring to the VC spec. ends December 5, at 11:59 pm EAST COAST TIME
<frank_cicio> Sharon, ok ill revert on this specifically ty
<deb_everhart> thank you everyone!
<sharon_leu> thanks!
<philipp_(mit)> Thanks!