Inter-institutional Authorisation Management to Support eLearning with reference to Clinical Teaching

Funded under the JISC Core Middleware Programme.

This project will develop, test and disseminate a practical approach for implementing inter-institutional authentication and authorisation management services for e-learning which can be replicated elsewhere in the education sector. The project is shared between three universities and other stakeholders in the northeast region. It represents partnerships between central services and a subject area which has particular authorisation needs and difficulties (clinical teaching). A problem shared by both e-learning and virtual communities is that the host system is located at a fixed point but its users can be geographically diverse. Research communities may have commercial partners and users of e-learning systems may come from organisations such as schools, FE and the NHS. Further, UK educational institutions may have foreign affiliates and hence may need to give access to their systems to students who may never visit the parent institution; indeed they may not even be registered at the parent institution. These issues lead to problems of non-centralised authentication and authorisation which Shibboleth, with its concept of local authentication allowing controlled access to remote resources, seems to be an ideal solution. However, in order for Shibboleth to fulfil its potential, it needs to be widely adopted by the post-16 education community.

The partners wish to learn and contribute to knowledge by testing practical approaches, identifying and documenting the issues and outcomes through exemplars, documentation and training to guide institutions in their uptake of these technologies.