Who can join?
In order to join the EWP Network institutions need to have an Erasmus Charter for Higher Education; accordingly organizational units of a given HEI (faculties, departments) are not allowed to connect to the network on their own. In order to join the EWP network you first of all you need to decide which category of user you are. You don't join or register for EWP personally, your institution does. The following only refers to the connection to the EWP Network, ie. HEIs wanting to connect their internal software or third-party providers who want to connect their clients. If you only want to use the EWP Dashboard (also known as the Erasmus Dashboard), there is another procedure to follow.
Joining in short
You will also have to supply contact details for your institution as soon as you become operational in EWP. We need two names and email addresses from each HEI, one from a policy maker/responsible person who is connected to the student data services used and one on a technical level in case there are operational problems).
The first concrete step is to send us the URL of your manifest file (a manifest specifies the identity of the HEI covered, which services (APIs) it implements and which credentials clients from this host are going to use when fetching data from the EWP Network). This will then be entered in the development environment (DEV) so you can start testing. Once the basic APIs have been implemented and tested, you can be added to the production environment (PROD) and officially accepted as an EWP partner.
Detailed admission procedure
New EWP Network users (HEIs or third party providers) need to undergo a two-tier admission process. The first part of this process is authentication to take part in EWP. The second part of the admission is about the technical ability of the partner to exchange information via the EWP network. Ultimately DG Education and Culture as business owner of Erasmus Without Paper is responsible for authorizing institutions to become part of the EWP network. DG EAC delegates this authority to the Competence Centre.
Once an applicant institution is authenticated by the EWP Steering Committee (as DG EAC delegate), the applicant needs to be admitted technically in the production environment as well. The technical admission is only necessary for applicants who do not use a so-called trusted software provider. Trusted software providers are known by the EWP-partners and have shown their ability to develop good-working APIs. HEIs wanting to join the EWP network using one of the trusted software solutions, don’t need to undergo the complete technical admission process.
As a first step an interested institution will consult the information in the EWP Competence Centre. Each institution needs to decide whether to follow the two-tier vetting process or whether they use a trusted software provider that does not need to undergo the technical vetting.
The EWP Steering Committee will require a formal MoU signed by the Legal Representative of the applying institution or the trusted software provider.
- As a first step the EWP Steering Committee will assure that the applying institution is an Erasmus charter holder that actively participates in the Erasmus programme;
- The EWP Steering Committee will check if the SCHAC code belongs to the applying HEI;
- The EWP Steering Committee checks if the proposed domain for hosting the manifest file is owned by the applying institution or its software provider;
To enter the Development environment, no special requirements have to be fulfilled except for providing the URL of its manifest file. The final step entering the Production environment (once the basic APIs have been implemented) is decided by the EWP Steering Committee upon the advice of the EWP technical development leader.
b. Technical admission
The EWP network basically consists of a registry, supported by security protocols, and a registry manifest file. For each participating entity (mostly Higher Education Institutions) in EWP an URL pointing towards a discovery manifest file is kept in the registry. This discovery manifest file entails the necessary information for a server to find out what services are supported by particular hosts. If a new institution wants to join the EWP-network, the link to its manifest file needs to be added to the registry. Institutions not using the tools of a trusted software provider will need to undergo the technical admission before they can enter the network. During this process the developments will be critically evaluated by the EWP Steering Committee and the technical support team.
For each of the APIs supported, the server implementation should work properly to assure the data exchange. There is no need for client side implementation to join the production version as long as it does not negatively affect the usability of the API for the partner institution.
The technical admission procedure consists of four steps:
- The URL to the manifest file is added to the development registry (DEV):
As a first step of the technical admission, upon approval of the EWP Steering Committee, the institution will be added to the development registry. Therefore a manifest file and its corresponding URL will be needed. The manifest file contains information about the supported APIs and hosts. The URL will be added to the development registry and as a first step the ECHO API needs to be developed.
- The applicant institution performs some automated self-tests;
- The applicant institution performs testing with three partner institutions.
Newcomers will need to demonstrate their technical ability to exchange real data in the development environment. Therefore they will need to develop at least one of the APIs (apart from ECHO) that facilitate real exchange of data between HEIs. Before an applicant institution can become part of the production registry, the institution needs to prove successful testing.
- The EWP technical team performs some ultimate technical testing before adding the institution to the production registry (PROD).
The final step of the technical admission consists of an ultimate series of tests by the EWP technical team. Each of the APIs supported by the applicant will undergo this testing.
For trusted software providers only this final step is needed.
Entry in the production registry
Once both admission processes have a positive outcome, the EWP Technical Support Team will add the URL of the manifest file of the applicant HEI to the production registry. By doing so the applicant becomes part of the EWP network and agrees to the EWP rules and obligations. In case of a serious violation or complaints by other EWP users a revocation procedure can be installed by contacting the Competence Centre (see below). As part of the obligations, institutions agree not to add additional APIs to their production manifest file before it has released and tested these new APIs in the development environment.
We should keep in mind that things can go wrong. When institutions violate the use of EWP there should be an exit strategy. The Competence Centre will be the central point where institutions can report incidents and complain about the quality of APIs of any particular institution, the unavailability of a server, partners that are not trustworthy. The Competence Centre will try to settle disputes and has the ability to decide to exclude a certain institution from the production registry. The institution will need to prove again its ability and trustworthiness in the development environment. In cases of extreme violation the Competence Centre has the competence to temporally exclude an institution from EWP.
The entry procedure for institutions who want to join EWP via their in-house or 3rd party software above is currently revised with the aim to automate the entry procedure through a web application. We hope to release this new entry functionality in the course of 2021.
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