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The National Report: State, K-12, and Federal Government. CAMP: June 23 rd , 2010, 10:45-11:45. Presenters: Tim Poe – Sr. Collaborative Technologist at MCNC Mike Veckenstedt, Ph.D – CTO/Deputy CIO at NC-DPI Steve Thorpe – Systems Analyst at MCNC. Agenda.

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The national report state k 12 and federal government
The National Report:State, K-12, and Federal Government

CAMP: June 23rd, 2010, 10:45-11:45

Presenters: Tim Poe – Sr. Collaborative Technologist at MCNC

Mike Veckenstedt, Ph.D – CTO/Deputy CIO at NC-DPI

Steve Thorpe – Systems Analyst at MCNC


  • Overview of NCTrust (Tim)

  • K-12 in NCTrust (Mike)

  • Configuration Management (Steve)

Slide 2

Overview of nctrust
Overview of NCTrust

  • Now that we have the NCREN for K-20, what are the opportunities to:

    • Collaborate between campuses?

    • Break down the silos between public universities/independents/community colleges/K-12?

    • Collaborate with campuses in other states and nations?

Slide 3

Overview of nctrust cont
Overview of NCTrust (cont.)

  • Also, what are the opportunities to provide collective resources in our state that are:

    • Cheaper

    • Better

    • Faster

Slide 4

Overview of nctrust cont1
Overview of NCTrust (cont.)

  • And how can we provide granular access so that the right people get access to the right resources at the right time (or not)?

Slide 5

Overview of nctrust cont2
Overview of NCTrust (cont.)

  • The CSWG (Collaborative Services Working Group) is a part of the MCNC/NCREN Advisory Structure. Co-chaired by:

    • CIO of the public university system (UNC GA)

    • CIO of the community college system (NCCCS)

    • CIO for state K-12 (NC DPI)

    • Independent representation (CIO of Elon University)

Slide 6

Overview of nctrust cont3
Overview of NCTrust (cont.)

  • Federated Identity Management Task Force established (Chairs Mark Scheible and Mike Veckenstedt)

  • Comprised of the best and brightest identity management experts in NC

  • Recognition that a K-20 solution needed (not just higher education)

  • Group determined early on to utilize InCommon, largely due to value of legal framework.

Slide 7

Overview of nctrust cont4
Overview of NCTrust (cont.)

  • A pilot project was created:

    • Two K-12 Districts (Rockingham County &, Davie County)

    • Three Universities (UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, NC State University)

    • Two Community Colleges (Central Piedmont CC, Wake Tech CC),

    • Two Other Organizations (NC DPI and MCNC)

    • Two primary SPs (NC LIVE and VCL)

Slide 8

Overview of nctrust cont5
Overview of NCTrust (cont.)

  • Pilot “ended” in May 2010.

  • Results published in End of Year Report available at - follow links from “Advisory & Governance.”

  • Now we proceed with “growing” and managing the trust.

Slide 10

Overview of nctrust cont6
Overview of NCTrust (cont.)

  • Success to date do to:

    • Platforms (CSWG and eLearning Commission) for K-20 collaboration.

    • Immense amounts of expertise and good will from all sectors of K-20.

    • Persistent belief in achieving a vision that relies on each organization knowing who its members are, what their roles are, and the benefits of collaboration and shared resources.

Slide 11

K 12 in nctrust
K-12 in NCTrust

  • 115 School Districts with ~ 2,500 schools

  • ~97 Charter Schools

  • ~1.4 mill students (K12)

  • 17 UNC system institutions

  • 58 community colleges

  • 36 independent colleges / universities

  • Plus many others

Slide 12

21 st century learning k 12
21st Century Learning (K-12)

  • K-12 moves into P-20: Schools, Colleges and Universities “converging”

  • Learn-And-Earn: NC program

  • Virtual Public Schools

  • Student, Teacher, Parents are all part of the student’s education

  • “Streamlining student account administration”

Slide 13

Teacher and staff time is valuable
Teacher and Staff Time Is Valuable

  • 2 min per student per year for account administration, focusing on Middle and High School

  • ~ 3000 admin work days statewide(K6-12)

  • Times logins for Network, Media-Center, Lunch, Study Island, Moodle, etc. (~5)

    => 15,000 work days

Slide 14

Other important benefits of fim
Other Important Benefits of FIM

  • Systems- and Data Security

    • Decentralized Account Administration works; Centralized Administration doesn’t.

      • Staff joining/leaving

      • Parents/Guardians associated to a student

  • Use of other Educational Resources

    • Virtual Computing Lab

    • iTunes University

    • NC-Live

Slide 15

Statewide rollout in k 12
Statewide Rollout in K-12

  • Selected CIMS Project:

    • Computerized Instructional Management System – Teacher Tool, Testing Students Online.

  • Included two School Districts

    • Shibbolized Identity Mmt Systems.

  • Vendor became SP.

  • Pilot ended in May successfully.

Slide 16

Attribute release policy
Attribute Release Policy

  • Lots of discussion – still unclear what the total set of released attributes will be…

  • Student Identifier seems to be a good one.

  • What about:

    • Age?

    • Grade?

    • Special Needs?

Slide 17

Some challenges
Some Challenges …

  • Membership Management of 100+ School Districts.

    • Legalities, Responsibilities

    • Central Meta-Data Management

  • How do you build a business case one SP at time?

    • One project cannot pay for all infrastructure.

    • Readiness of K-12 software vendors.

Slide 18

Even more challenges
… even more Challenges

  • Available staff at School Districts

    • Technical Skills of Local School District Staff

    • 10 month Employees.

  • Maintenance of the NCTrust/Shibboleth Infrastructure

Slide 19

Technical issues non trivial
Technical Issues Non-Trivial

  • Requires understanding of many layers

    • XML

    • Web application server configuration, X509 certificates

    • IdP and SP packaging

    • OS configuration

    • Managing software updates

    • Network configuration, etc.

  • This is can be challenging, especially for smaller institutions

Slide 20

Idp virtual machine appliance
IdP Virtual Machine Appliance

  • MCNC developed a customizable VM for the NCTrust federation participants

  • Guest OS is CentOS

  • Host OS can be Windows or Linux, running Xen or VMware

  • Preconfigured to use NCTrust Metadata (subset of InCommon’s)

  • Customized for each NCTrust member

  • This helped a LOT!

Slide 21

Configuration management
Configuration Management

  • MCNC’s Automated Configuration Management System

    • Rapid building and replicating of customized OS installs

    • Automated deployment of patching and reconfigurations

  • Delta among IdPs is small

    • Only ~15 small files are different, totaling just ~150KB

    • Rest of the appliance is same for all

Slide 22

Idp appliance only goes so far
IdP Appliance Only Goes So Far

  • Each institution is unique

    • Back-end Identity Infrastructure

    • Technical Skill Set

  • Considerable ramp-up effort is still required at each organization

  • Centralized NCTrust Federation IdP Hosting?

    • NCTrust is looking at options for this

    • Probably this is much more scalable for NC’s K-12 community

Slide 23


  • It works…, even in K-12!

  • How can we finalize an Attribute Release policy for K-12 / P-20?

  • Skill set requirements are challenging.

  • More vendors have to become SPs

  • Scaling requires

    • New organizational thinking

    • Cloud-like computing

Slide 24

Thank you
Thank You

  • Also thanks to the many Federated ID Task Force members from throughout the NCREN community that are participating with us in the NCTrust pilot project

  • More Info:

  • Link:

  • Tim Poe: [email protected]

  • Mike Veckenstedt: [email protected]

  • Steve Thorpe: [email protected]

Slide 25