Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Sweden opens academic ‘borders’ with the e-SENS project

Article
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As part of the Citizen Lifecycle domain in e-SENS, Sweden is piloting a new online service to allow third-level students from other countries to access academic programmes at Stockholm University. The pilot uses e-ID for identification and signing through a federated cross-border authentication tool supported by e-SENS, the EU’s large-scale initiative.
Project: 
Electronic Simple European Networked Services

“This pilot is not only allowing student greater access to education but also opens a new door for universities in securing and further developing distance education. We are excited to be part of this pilot and will monitor its results.” – says Gunnar Wettergren, Vice Director eGovlab, Stockholm University.

The pilot, facilitated by Stockholm University, allows foreign students to engage with Swedish courses at a levels equivalent to students on campus, including secure submission of signed assignments, individual teacher feedback online and participation in exams. The system uses an enhanced version of Moodle, the best-known online learning platform.

On February 1st, 2016, a group of third-level students from Norway enrolled in Stockholm University’s Practical Project Management course. For the first time, the students could register on this course online using a national ‘smart-card’ style e-ID, which verifies their identity and enables secure e-Signature. The e-ID and e-Signature technology allows for greater levels of security and communication. 

Facilitating and expanding the use of cross-border e-ID by Member States is a central part of this e-SENS pilot and builds upon the efforts and experiences of the academic pilot of STORK 2.0, which worked to increase the use of e-ID between academic institutions across EU borders.

Stockholm University is enabling this venture as a pilot ‘use case’ of the work of e-SENS, an EU initiative which focuses on delivery of digital public cross-border services to citizens and businesses. Among various policy domain and use cases the project tackles, the e-Education pilot addresses the changing landscape of education in Europe.

A core aim of the e-Education pilot in the Citizen Lifecycle domain of e-SENS is to support students to move freely between European institutions of higher education and to ease the administrative burden on both universities and students. Higher education in Nordic countries, and across Europe, has a long-standing tradition of inter-university cooperation. This now includes a growing number of online educational initiatives. With the rising volume of cross border exchanges and course participation, there is a clear need for a common processes for identification and signature in order to facilitate interactions with third-level institutions and to enable students from other Member States and Associated Countries access to the same tools as local students.

The pilot launched by Stockholm University is another example of a successful cross-border digital service implementation within e-SENS pilots and has produced the first real transactions of any pilot in any domain. More pilots are expected to reach this stage in the following months, within the varied and diverse set of e-SENS pilots, which are working to expand existing functionality or introduce new online services in domains such as business, health, procurement and justice across EU Member States and Associated Countries. The eventual goal is to enhance the introduction of European Single Market and allow citizens to study, live and do business more freely across Europe.

Project coordinator: 
Mr. Schmidt Carsten (Oberamtsrat), Justizministerium des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen
e-Sens
Project coordinator: 
Mr. Schmidt Carsten (Oberamtsrat), Justizministerium des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen