The organization's formal name is the Ed-Fi Alliance, LLC, and it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. A brief description of the various groups follows.
The Ed-Fi Alliance is the small "core team" consisting of full-time employees who spend all their time working with the Ed-Fi Community and developing Ed-Fi technology. They coordinate outreach activities with the Ed-Fi Community, shepherd various governance and review processes, participate in and directly manage software projects, oversee ongoing development of the Ed-Fi Data Standards, schedule and handle logistics for meetings, and so on. The core team at the Ed-Fi Alliance also handles all day-to-day activities from reviewing feedback, to coordinating bug fixes, to merging code pull requests back to the core.
Ed-Fi licensees are those organizations and individuals who have signed the Ed-Fi technology license. Licensees generally intend to use or are already using Ed-Fi technology in their projects.
The Ed-Fi Community consists of a number of groups that provide essential input, feedback, and support for the Alliance. Most are Ed-Fi licensees, but the Community includes contractors working on the standard or technology directly supported by the Alliance, data standard experts, standardization advocates, and others who may not have a license — but who actively support the work.
The Ed-Fi Community contains several sub-groups, outlined below.
The Ed-Fi Advisory Council consists of technologists and technology leaders that provide strategic guidance to the Alliance. The Alliance relies on the Leadership Council to set the strategic direction for the data standards and the core technology.
Governance Advisory Team
The Ed-Fi Governance Advisory Team (GAT) facilitates the various governance activities of the Alliance, and ensures that the community's input and priorities are considered across all technology, specification, and standards work. The GAT consists of Alliance staff plus representatives from education organizations, technology vendors, and key project funders such as the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The GAT is responsible for creating a cohesive development plan based on high-level strategic guidance from Alliance leadership combined with detailed, often timely input from field work.
Technical Advisory Group
The Ed-Fi Technical Advisory Group (usually TAG) is a collection of individuals with deep technical expertise and familiarity with Ed-Fi technology. The group takes input and guidance from the Leadership Council and the GAT, and turns those into excellent technical deliverables.
Technical partners are generally organizations or individuals contracted with the Alliance to perform a specific task or develop a specific piece of Ed-Fi-related software. The Alliance uses Technical Partners to update the data standard definitions, develop its online tools, architect its core components, and so forth.
Ed-Fi Alliance Work Groups are special-purpose gatherings established to perform a discrete task. A working group might be convened for something as broad as determining the scope of the next version of the Ed-Fi Data Standard, or as narrow as developing a new composite API endpoint. These are usually a pick-up team with a defined chairperson, plus various community members, contractors, and Alliance team members participating. For example, a Work Group was created to serve use cases specific to the Assessment domain.
Special Interest Groups
Special Interest Groups (usually SIGs) are generally organized around a specific thread of work such as the Data Standard or the RESTful API — but are usually not bound to a particular project or revision. SIGs tackle a specific problem with a specific timeframe, and so are relatively short-lived.
SIGs usually have a single lead coordinator and are composed of any member of the Ed-Fi Community with interest or expertise to offer. Working groups will often consult a SIG if a task falls in the SIGs purview. SIGs generally meet at the annual Ed-Fi Alliance Summit, and usually convene virtually at least a few times a year outside of meetings.
A list of current and past SIGs can be found at the Ed-Fi Special Interest Groups home page.
If you have an interest in participating in any community group, we'd be happy to hear about it. See the Contact & Directory Info section in this documentation to get in touch.
The Alliance convenes planned and ad hoc events. A description of recurring key events is outlined below. The current schedule of Ed-Fi Alliance events can be found in the Events section of the Ed-Fi website.
Ed-Fi Alliance Summit
The Ed-Fi Alliance hosts an annual multi-day Summit, usually in the fall. The Summit provides the Ed-Fi Community with an opportunity to connect with other implementers, and is the one major opportunity for all governance groups and SIG teams to meet face-to-face. The Summit has multiple tracks, and includes presentations by field implementers, technical experts, and technology leaders. Additionally, the Alliance offers boot camps and other training for technical staff. The latest technology roadmap is also presented at the Summit.
Find out about the 2018 Ed-Fi Summit here.
The Ed-Fi Technical Congress is a forum for key stakeholders in the Ed-Fi Community to provide short- and long-term guidance. This is an annual forum scheduled opposite the Summit, usually in the spring. In contrast to the Ed-Fi Summit, this gathering focuses on technical details and specific technology choices. The Technical Congress generally features a meeting of the TAG, select SIG meetings, and meetings for all active working groups. The meetings are generally in-person, but some sessions may be provisioned for remote attendance.
Data Standard RFCs
The Ed-Fi Alliance welcomes feedback on the data standard any time. However, the Alliance actively solicits input from the Ed-Fi Community during the development of major revisions to the standard by holding a Request for Comment (RFC) period. During this time, the Ed-Fi Alliance publishes draft material with links to provide feedback and solicits feedback in multiple forums about changes to the Ed-Fi Data Standard.
You can find the latest Ed-Fi Data Standard draft material, links to provide feedback, and a schedule for the next RFC input forum on the Ed-Fi RFC Home site.
Ad Hoc Webinars
The Ed-Fi Alliance hosts a number of ad hoc virtual meetings. Some are designed to get input on works-in-progress, others are related to new challenges discovered in field work, etc. A few general-interest webinars are broadcast to the entire community. We hate to generate spam, and so most are more targeted than that.
You can sign up to receive notices about events on the Ed-Fi website here.
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