SWITCH Identity Blog

The Identity Blog puts the spotlight on identity management, digital identities, identifiers, attributes, authentication and access management.

PHBern now also on the road with edu-ID

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On August 19, 2020, the Berne University of Teacher Education (PHBern) switched over to SWITCH edu-ID, thus filling the dozen:


More than 8000 students and employees of the PHBern now have an edu-ID account and can use it to access services of their own PH as well as those of other Swiss universities which are open to members of PHBern.

Ulrich Weisenseel, head Services Informatik PHBern, about the planning and adoption:

“When the first planning steps were taken in 2018, the analyses showed that PHBern users accessed more than 100 services via AAI accounts. A picture that looks similar at many universities. University members usually access 10 to 20 times more external than internal services, with the number of logins naturally being highest for the most prominent services such as a university’s own Learning Management System. At PHBern, ILIAS and the intranet “My PHBern” swing out at the top in terms of access numbers.

The “Services Informatik” team has taken advantage of this fact with foresight and placed specific instructions for changing to SWITCH edu-ID by means of customizing on these most frequently visited services:

A special feature is the linking procedure applied by PHBern by means of e-mail and linking link.

People with existing accounts at the PHBern were contacted by e-mail with instructions and a personal link. All new users also receive this request automatically by e-mail. The persons being contacted simply create a SWITCH edu-ID, open the link in the e-mail and finally register with their SWITCH edu-ID.

We have created a Linking Service Portal as central contact point. If the e-mail with the linking link gets lost or if the linking link has expired our users can request a new link on the Linking Service Portal themselves. Also the frequently asked questions are published there.

Another special feature is the combined updating of the organisational identity(ies). The initial linking and creation of the organisational identity(ies) takes place actively and enables the SWITCH edu-ID to be used immediately. The continuous updating of the organisational identity(ies), on the other hand, works passively in the background and is ensured by SWITCH by means of a web interface provided by PHBern.

According to our planning, preparatory work including testing and implementation was carried out over the course of a year, so that the workload was well compatible with other ongoing projects.

The majority of the support requests concerned access to the link mail or mailbox. Here, our support team was able to provide fast and uncomplicated help so that all users – including latecomers – could access the services within a short time.

The good and close cooperation with the SWITCH edu-ID team during the test and pilot phase was very valuable for the successful conversion and introduction of SWITCH edu-ID at our university.”

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