XCRI end start meeting

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SIG Coordinator
Kamala Velayutham
Email: kv2@bolton.ac.uk
Based at: CETIS in Bolton
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One of the Enterprise SIG events


Place University of Bolton: Deane campus, D1-008
Time 2008-10-02 Thursday 02th October 2008, 10:30 to 16:00


The meeting kicked off with the welcome note to the participants who have successfully implemented XCRI (eXchanging Course-Related Information) in their institutions (West Cheshire College, Edge Hill and Kent) and to projects from the Teesside, Huddersfield and Worcester that are currently starting their XCRI implementation.

The aim of the XCRI project in West Cheshire College was to pilot the generation of XCRI within the FE sector and to export course information using XCRI into an appropriate web service that can be used for marketing purposes. The college liaised with other stake holders to bring in data from different schools. A single view of the data was created based on the brochure and school information. This single view was then used to import data into Course Exchange. Phosphorix was employed to develop the Course Exchange software. The XCRI-CAP (XCRI Course Advertising Profile) XML file was then generated using Course Exchange to combine the brochure information course presentation details. The next stage was to import this xml file to SOLVS (Supporting Ongoing Learning in Vocational Settings).This process was tested several times and discovered that Course Exchange only allows certain fields to be mapped, which affected the content of the output. In future, the project would like to continue their work with Phosphorix and to further develop the functionality of the software with the aim of creating a subset of data at the point of export, which currently needs manual intervention. The XCRI implementation has had a positive impact on the college, which now feels that it is, in a position to guide the schools and colleges in Cheshire.

XCRI in Edge Hill University focussed on the development of bringing together CPD (Continuing Professional Development) modules/courses by developing a set of libraries to generate XCRI feeds and tested them against the aggregator. The project aimed to report on organisational and technical issues in relation to implementing XCRI as part of a new system.

The XCRIKe mini project aims to develop a Course Data Management System and to convert the paper- based prospectus and series of web pages that have repeated this information into a system that provides a standard means of managing publicly available course information. The initial objectives changed halfway through the project. For example, the Symphony PHP framework worked well in the start but it did not really meet the requirements of the university’s live web server. Also, the team shifted to the possibility of using Drupal in the development of trial course information system. The team also investigated the way the course information was stored and reused. The mini project was a conditional success, because the XCRI-CAP feed was available to the public only for undergraduate courses for 2009. However the project is concentrating on addressing the technical issues and providing consistent course information for the future.

We interviewed Mathew Bull of Web Development and Support Services team to find the impact of XCRI in University of Kent.

What are the advantages of using XCRI?

“I think the main advantages of using XCRI for Kent were to scope the level of work we'd need to do to get a fully functioning course system. We currently have a very 'flat' system where departments and central communications tend to duplicate a lot of course information across the website".

Did the project lead to any other changes at the institution?

“In fact the XCRI mini-project has acted as a catalyst to start a project at Kent to systematize our course information in a content management system. We'll be using Drupal for this, and the project is now under way. Our plan is to have our course information running off Drupal in the next year or so, in a phased approach. This will allow us great flexibility for delivering course information not just in XCRI-CAP format, but to other channels, different web services, search facilities, etc”.

This meeting was a great opportunity for delegates to share experiences in the completion of the XCRI implementation projects in West Cheshire, Edge Hill and Kent and to the projects from the Teesside, Huddersfield and Worcester that are currently starting the XCRI implementation.