Course Data Project

November Report synthesis

18 December, 2012 by Project Team

Jisc have put together a synthesis report titled ‘Feast or famine: progress in implementing standardised course data feeds’ that brings together information from all of the stage 2 institutions in the Course Data Project.

The Courtauld project is referenced several times:

Course Information Systems

The Courtauld Institute of Art has consolidated data from a number of different sources into a Drupal content management system and has released a piece of open source software that permits the creation of an XCRI-CAP compatible feed from Drupal CMS. A number of institutions in the programme, particularly University College Falmouth, are interested in using this product.

Course information in partnership

In a slightly different form of partnership, the Courtauld Institute of Art and Plymouth College of Art are working with a range of partners in the GuildHE Consortium for Research Excellence Support and Training (CREST) to create a site to serve as a basis from which a range of institutions can develop their own Mahara system to profile information about staff. Although the consortium has moved away from the original idea of a single shared system, they are still focused on sharing information between differing institutions through interoperable standards adopted within Mahara and also considering the development of a common vocabulary for creative courses.

Aggregators and Licensing

Despite the existing interest, there is still concern from many institutions about the lack of firm commitment from some of the most significant players to adopting the XCRI-CAP standard.

‘The value of producing ‘XCRIfied’ data may run into a wall if aggregators don’t ask for XCRIfied data’ (University of Bradford).

‘The expectation that demand will emerge based on the supply of data is not enough for sustained commitment from our institution. We hope that a commitment from data harvesting communities will be assured before the close of the project.‘ (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Value of the JISC community

Some connections made as a result of previous Jisc work have grown and strengthened and the institutions involved speak very positively about the levels of trust that have been established by working together in this way. Other institutions are being involved in Jisc networks for the first time and it seems as though small and specialist institutions in particular are developing their own capabilities in ways that would not have been possible without access to these expert communities: ‘The Courtauld, as a small and specialist college, has benefitted enormously from the opportunity to meet with other colleges to share ideas and resources. Our understanding and engagement with the Course Data Programme has developed significantly as a result of these interactions, and we have profited from pooled knowledge and skillsets.’ (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Institutions are saving time and money by finding that others have already created solutions they can take away and use rather than reinventing the wheel: ‘We have identified a Drupal XCRI-CAP module which has been developed by Courtauld Institute of Art in conjunction with this funding stream. We are intending to utilise this module instead of creating our own technical solution as we hope it will complement our Drupal CCMS.’ (University College Falmouth)

‘One of the most stimulating consequences of taking part in the Jisc scheme has been the interaction it has encouraged between institutions.’ (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

A number of institutions involved in delivering creative arts courses (including Arts University College at Bournemouth, the Courtauld Institute of Art and Plymouth College of Art) have formed a Creative Assembly that now has a remit beyond the life of this programme including:

  1. To offer opportunities for collaborative training.
  2. To ensure that art, design, media and performance courses are appropriately referenced within aggregators, and meet the specific requirements of creative courses.
  3. To consider the feasibility of implementing a common vocabulary for creative courses.

‘To have this network as a result of this project is a real legacy in itself, and I’m sure that others will agree that other more tangible benefits will spring from this in the future.’ (Plymouth College of Art)

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