May 25

Open Course Data – May 2012 Interim Report to JISC

Section One: Summary

The project has made good progress with its initial work activity to review existing processes in and around the area of course marketing.  A number of “quick wins” have been identified (see report available via the project blog), and it has been agreed by key stakeholders that we will concentrate our efforts on making the University’s Web Content Management System (CMS) the authoritative source of course marketing information.

We will now move on from the process review phase of the project to begin prototyping work on improved approaches to gathering and managing course marketing information, and the generation of an XCRI-CAP feed based on standard CMS templates.  We are conscious that many other institutions use the Site Manager CMS software from Terminal Four, and indeed some preliminary discussions with other UK HE Site Manager users began after May’s Open Course Data online programme meeting.

The project will be sending a representative to the Open Course Data technical day on June 20th, and it has been suggested that the Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) in Edinburgh (June 18th-20th) might provide a useful forum for Terminal Four and user institutions to exchange ideas and information around their XCRI-CAP implementations.  Loughborough will also be sending a representative to IWMW.

Section Two: Activities and Progress


and activity
Earliest start date Latest completion date Outputs Milestones Status
Objective: Agree final version of project plan with JISC  January 2012 February 2012 Agreed project plan Done
Objective: Review of existing processes, policies, procedures etc February 2012 June 2012 Input into interim project report for JISC Interim project report Done

Section Three: Institutional & Project Partner Issues

Much of the process review activity was carried out for the project by Dharmisha Nakeshri, a student intern working for IT Services at Loughborough.  We wish to acknowledge Dharmisha’s excellent contribution to the project and wish her well in her new job.  We have been very impressed with the quality of the work produced for us by student interns, and expect to make further use of them on the project.  Where this would result in material changes in the project budget we will of course seek the approval of the JISC Programme 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 hope that other institutions and projects in the programme will find our business process mapping and simplification work useful.  We have also found internally at Loughborough that the project has been a very helpful way to bring people together around a common goal – and much more grounded than a more abstract discussion about the desirability of process simplification, efficiency and effectiveness might have been.

Section Six: Evaluation

Whilst the project has little in the way of formal outputs to evaluate at this stage, we are gratified that anecdotal feedback from stakeholders has been very positive.  We can also note that we have concluded the initial process review phase of the project on time and to budget.

Section Seven: Dissemination

We have held internal meetings with a number of key stakeholders including the Head of Marketing, and recently reviewed project team membership to add representatives from the University’s academic Schools and Departments.  This will be crucial to the next phase of the project, as we test our hypothesis that the CMS should be the canonical source of course marketing information.

With the completion of the initial scoping work the project now has some results to disseminate, and as a first step in this direction we have volunteered to present at the Open Course Data technical day on 20th June.

Our dissemination plan identified a number of possible vectors, and the next of these will be “T44U”, the Terminal Four users conference in Autumn 2012.  An additional opportunity that was not originally flagged in the dissemination plan is the UCISA Corporate Information Systems Group (CISG) conference, being held this November at St Andrews.


Section Eight: Risks, Issues and Challenges

There have been no changes to these.


Section Nine: Collaboration and Support

We have been very pleased with the programme team’s support, and have been made to feel that we are part of a community working in this area.  The online programme meetings have been particularly helpful.

We have noted above the particular interest that Loughborough has in the Terminal Four Site Manager CMS software.  According to the UCISA CIS Survey (see graphic below), Site Manager is the leading CMS in use in the UK FE/HE community, and hence we would expect there to be significant interest from Open Course Data projects in working with Terminal Four.

We have approached Terminal Four about this and would be happy to host a workshop for interested parties under the auspices of the Open Course Data programme.  We will use the coursedata JISCmail list to canvass other projects about this, and have already earmarked a portion of the project funding for engagement with Terminal Four.


Section Ten: Financial Statement

[This was sent to JISC under separate cover]


Section Eleven: Next Steps


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



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