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Presentation of XCRI work at the University of Bolton

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  1. 1. Bolton and XCRI 27th March, Leeds, Scott Wilson Bolton and XCRI
  2. 2. Or… Overcoming the chicken-and-egg conundrum of XCRI adoption
  3. 3. <ul><li>At the University of Bolton, we’ve realised a lot of benefits from adopting XCRI… </li></ul><ul><li>… Even though we don’t think anyone is seriously using our XCRI feed yet! </li></ul>
  4. 4. UB 2009 UB 2007-2009 UB 2009-2011 UB 2012-
  5. 5. <ul><li>How we adopted XCRI </li></ul><ul><li>JISC-funded XCRI mini-project in 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Initially looked at SITS IPP extensions </li></ul><ul><li>Abandoned in favour of creating a new course database, focusing on marketing and web search </li></ul><ul><li>The Course Database is now the catalyst for a range of innovations and improvements at UB </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>The Marketing Perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of national standard has been a major headache </li></ul><ul><li>3 staff involved in updating external sites: </li></ul><ul><li>1-UCAS, 2-HotCourses, 3-innumerable local, regional, sectoral, subject and national initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>Value of target sites not easy to judge </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy and timeliness very hard to manage, creating problems for the public with outdated info around on web </li></ul><ul><li>A thankless and rather dull job staff would rather avoid! </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Prospectus Push </li></ul><ul><li>Staff still view course information in prospectus-centric way, e.g. an annual push </li></ul><ul><li>Despite the fact that course search has up to 4x as many users per week than our annual total of printed prospectuses! </li></ul><ul><li>Still have to use “prospectus push” to goad staff into taking action on course information </li></ul><ul><li>… but XCRI has enabled us to take a more managed all-year-round view of course information </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Bolton Course Database Designed from scratch Requirements gathered from marketing, QA, and student data management A lot of differences in language/terminology and data requirements - also different views of what a “course” was! In the end, database design primarily based on XCRI with marketing and QA requirements
  9. 11. <ul><li>While originally developed to support generating the XCRI feed, the DB is actually used to support: </li></ul><ul><li>Course search on our website </li></ul><ul><li>On-demand prospectuses and course information sheets </li></ul><ul><li>Prospectus printing </li></ul>
  10. 12. <ul><li>Course Search Project </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying the information needs for effective search was pretty challenging, and delayed implementation </li></ul><ul><li>Initial import was a big job, involving inputting data from hundreds of Word files. But never again, except for brand new courses! All updates go directly into course database </li></ul><ul><li>XCRI and Course DB enabled us to take a more managed approach, and improve quality of both data and results </li></ul><ul><li>Live update of course staff contacts from HRMS is a big improvement - saves a lot of effort and improves accuracy </li></ul>
  11. 13. <ul><li>Course Search Project </li></ul><ul><li>Printing templates/stylesheets based directly on course db results enable schools or individuals to print their own information sheets or mini-prospectus - much cheaper! </li></ul><ul><li>Have been enable to work on consistency of style and quality of content with new central management of course information </li></ul><ul><li>Overall the course “portfolio” doesn’t have much overlap or waste, but we don’t really have a good picture at module level </li></ul>
  12. 14. <ul><li>In the future we can see further value from this investment in XCRI realised by: </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting innovation in the course validation process </li></ul><ul><li>Developing new services that rely on course information as core data </li></ul><ul><li>… as well as the original core purpose of reducing time spent updating course information on other people’s websites… </li></ul><ul><li>(Potentially the biggest win will be the “tertiary” sites) </li></ul>
  13. 15. <ul><li>How we implemented XCRI </li></ul><ul><li>SQL Server database </li></ul><ul><li>Intranet application for managing courses, owned by Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Live connection to HR database & Active Directory for keeping course contacts up-to-date </li></ul><ul><li>Versioning and auditing </li></ul><ul><li>Course Search service linked from website </li></ul>
  14. 16. <ul><li>How XCRI fitted our needs </li></ul><ul><li>A good fit for our existing marketing fields; only notable missing areas are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keywords (vs subject) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Related courses linking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employment sector </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A good fit for the entities for our database </li></ul><ul><li>Course/Presentation distinction in particular very useful </li></ul><ul><li>Potential areas to expand into </li></ul>
  15. 17. <ul><li>What’s next? </li></ul><ul><li>Linking cost element directly to fees, bursaries, scholarships </li></ul><ul><li>Google Analytics </li></ul><ul><li>Integrating with validation process </li></ul><ul><li>Custom reporting to support planning </li></ul><ul><li>Extending approach into managing modules - building the business case based on the value realised in managing courses </li></ul>

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