Nov 24

Open Course Data – November 2012 Interim Report to JISC

Section One: Summary

In our previous interim report we noted an intent to build our initial prototype of the Open Course Data system around the University’s Web Content Management System (CMS), Site Manager from Terminal Four.  This work has now taken place and a feed of course data in the XCRI-CAP format is being generated automatically from the (draft) next edition of the Undergraduate Prospectus.

We had proposed that the CMS would become the canonical source of course marketing information, simplifying the process of managing course marketing and also allowing a single authoritative copy of the data to be used for a variety of purposes.  This approach has been very well received, and we are currently piloting the new CMS based approach with a number of University Schools and Departments.  An illustrative screenshot from the CMS is shown below:

We have presented both internally and externally on this work, including at the Open Course Data Technical Day – please see the Dissemination section below.  We would be keen to follow up any further opportunities to share our experiences on the project with the community.

The next phase of our Open Course Data project will concentrate on refining the process of managing the CMS based prospectus, in conjunction with pilot partners, and on exploring the opportunities that are available to us to re-use the course marketing data both on the University website and elsewhere including a prospectus mobile app which is currently under development.  We are also starting to look at whether this approach can be extended to the Postgraduate Prospectus and other activities such as Short Courses.


Section Two: Activities and Progress


and activity
Earliest start date Latest completion date Outputs Milestones Responsibility
Objective: Prototype new approach to course data management May 2012 September 2012 Proposed updates to processes, policies etc Draft documents for consideration by SAMT etc Project team / stakeholders
Objective: Prototype implementation of new course data management approach and XCRI-CAP feed generation August 2012 November 2012 Prototype code base Project team


Section Three: Institutional & Project Partner Issues

The project has progressed smoothly and largely according to schedule.  We have continued to work effectively together as a team, and have had a good response in terms of stakeholder engagement.  Our CMS supplier Terminal Four has also played a crucial role in the success of the project, through their work to develop the course marketing “application” for Site Manager.

Section Four: Outputs and Deliverables

Outputs to date have been posted to the project blog at http://open.lboro.ac.uk.


Section Five: Outcomes and Lessons Learned

We have attached several documents as appendixes that may be of interest to Open Course Data Programme members and other bodies implementing XCRI-CAP or working to generate XML feeds from the Terminal Four Site Manager project.  They are also available on the project blog.


Appendix A: Our specification for the XCRI-CAP work carried out by Terminal Four

Appendix B: Content Template Elements

Appendix C: Site Manager XCRI-CAP Formatter

Appendix D: Revised Evaluation Plan 


A revised process map for our course information management activity is shown below:

Section Six: Evaluation

We are hearing anecdotally that this project has been an effective demonstrator showing how the University’s support services can work together with Schools and Departments to deliver improved operating efficiencies and an improved service to boot.  This feedback will be followed up as we move into the evaluation phase and look for concrete quantitative and qualitative evidence of the benefits that the project has brought to the institution.

Our XCRI-CAP feed will include all undergraduate courses featured in the Loughborough University online prospectus, once the development of the new edition of the prospectus is complete and it has been signed off for public release.

We have slightly revised our Evaluation Plan, and the updated version is presented here as Appendix D.



Section Seven: Dissemination

Our presentation at the Open Course Data Technical Day, in June 2012 is available from the project blog: http://open.lboro.ac.uk/presentation-at-open-course-data-technical-day-june-2012/, and embedded below:

We also attended and participated in the online programme meetings in July and October, and the face-to-face programme meetings in November 2012.  In addition to meeting with pilot Schools and Departments, the project was also presented internally to School Operations Managers in November 2012.

We are aiming to attend a number of events that could be promotional opportunities for this work, including BETT, the JISC CETIS conference, the UCISA management conference and the JISC conference if it goes ahead.


Section Eight: Risks, Issues and Challenges

There have been no changes to these.


Section Nine: Collaboration and Support

At the recent programme meeting we identified several areas of common interest that it would be attractive to pursue further:

  • Enhancements to the XCRI-CAP standard, e.g. to facilitate “courses with options” such as Loughborough degrees that can be taken in variants with or without a sandwich year.
  • Opportunities to “mash up” XCRI-CAP course data and learning outcomes etc from KIS, using JACS and LDCS classification codes.
  • Sharing process improvements that had been arrived at through these projects or as a byproduct of them.
  • Sharing the supporting software written to integrate key institutional systems, as described in the “code.ac.uk” elevator pitch – for more information, please see http://devcsi.ukoln.ac.uk/2012/03/26/code-ac-uk-a-bounty-hunt/


Section Ten: Financial Statement

[This was sent to JISC under separate cover]


Section Eleven: Next Steps

Please note that we have revised work package 5, which was originally focussed on technical development.  This is now focussed on the pilot of the next generation prospectus with embedded course data, currently under way with several Schools and Departments at Loughborough.


and activity
Earliest start date Latest completion date Outputs Milestones Responsibility
Objective: Develop approach to the collecting and re-use of course data exposed via XCRI-CAP, based on trialling with Schools and Departments October 2012 January 2013 Demonstration version of next generation prospectus embedding course data, revised process for collection Next iteration of online prospectus using data managed using new approach and exposed via XCRI-CAP Project team
Objective: Refinements to process and policy changes and code base to reflect practical experience with the new approach December 2012 February 2013 Updated documentation and code Project team
Objective: Evaluate project January 2013 February 2013 Input into final report Project team / stakeholders
Objective: Project closedown January 2013 March 2013 Source code release, final report and closure report Project team


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