How an institution implements XCRI-CAP or any review of its courses information will depend on its own particular infrastructure, processes and policies. This Guide therefore cannot be prescriptive about whether or how each institution might plan and implement change. Past experience has shown that where problems exist, they tend to be organisational and people related, rather than technical. For this reason, many of the recommendations in this Guide are focused on human factors. Any steps indicated here may necessarily be iterative, or may be re-ordered, dependent on the particular circumstances of your organisation.
There is also a 2-page Guide to Implementation.
Review Courses Information and Systems
You may wish to consider implementing XCRI-CAP within the context of a longer term and holistic review of courses information as a whole or the marketing aspects of it, so that management information systems, marketing, courses systems and business processes can be integrated more efficiently. A typical organisational goal is to create one authoritative source of course marketing information useable by any institutional system or external course aggregator via XCRI-CAP enabled outputs. XCRI-CAP discussions can act as a catalyst for institutional assessment of internal processes and how these could be improved.
Identify key personnel.
Getting the right people committed to working on the XCRI-CAP implementation is important. Our experience is that this can best be achieved via a meeting between the MIS, Web Development and Marketing Managers. It can be helpful to identify a sponsor or champion at a senior level, who can assist in engaging staff.
The management of courses information touches on many areas of the institution. Consider the key personnel required to represent the broad stakeholder groups and ensure that they are briefed and on board with XCRI-CAP as a general concept. These typically come from student systems, marketing, web development/IT, and their involvement helps to ensure that the project team understands the curriculum and course lifecycle.
Identify where the courses data comes from.
Identify how the website courses are populated and where the data comes from. This information should reveal the best intervention point for obtaining data for the XCRI-CAP feed. It may be before or after usage in the website, and there may be additional data from elsewhere that could usefully be included.
Identify technical resources
Establish whether the institution has the technical resource to create the XCRI-CAP feed, or whether it would require additional resource. If the former, then have a look at the specifications and schemas, and take advantage of examples of previous XCRI-CAP projects and feeds, using the XCRI-CAP support available where questions arise.
Develop the XCRI-CAP feed.
Discuss how the resultant XCRI-CAP export fits into future plans and develop the XCRI-CAP feed. Technical resources are available here. A straightforward export will take around 1-2 days to develop, but where systems and processes are more fragmented, then the discussions will form later in the process. Consider whether any mappings or transforms of the data are required, especially to use the standard vocabularies that will help the systems that might use your data.
Publish the XCRI-CAP feed.
The final step is to publish the XCRI-CAP feed and encourage others to use it. These may include internal groups, such as departments or faculties with their own micro-websites, academics and others who may be interested in combining the data with other data sets, as well as external data aggregating organisations, such as Graduate Prospects and other PG aggregators, UCAS, or other regional aggregators. Such 'consumers' of your data may be local, regional, national or international, and you may be able to include your course marketing data in extensive networks of other open data sources to create new services.