The CDATA project will take an holistic view of Brunel’s ‘course’ data and explore how technology can be utilised to ensure it is: accurate; timely; fit-for-purpose; and accessible to relevant ‘data-users’.  The project will concentrate on identifying efficiency gains – from an Institutional back-office standpoint – whilst increasing the effectiveness of the management of ‘course data’ for all stakeholders across the University.

The University currently approves and modifies its ‘courses’ using various internal mechanisms; which capture the ‘course data’ through Microsoft Word forms, which are then available to all relevant parties using Microsoft SharePoint.  The data is subsequently transcribed into the University’s Student Information System (SITS:Vision).  This process leads to time-delays, inaccuracies and circumstances where the SITS system is updated before the University’s official procedures are completed.  The data held in Word documents cannot be easily extracted and compared, in line with the aspirations of XCRI-CAP.

‘Course’ data is also required for other University systems (such as, Blackboard Learn, the University’s VLE and Talis Aspire, the Library’s e-resource management system).  Currently this data is either inefficiently re-captured or taken from the student information system (rather than the ‘master system’: the Programme Archive within SharePoint).

This JISC Course Data project – alongside recent national initiatives such as the Key Information Set and Higher Education Achievement Record – have provided an opportunity for the University to review its course data and revisit the existing requirements of HESA and the Student Loans Company, for example, for course information.

The CDATA project intends to – using the 4D model of the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) organisational change management methodology – define, design, develop and deliver a range of new functionality within the student information system’s web-face (eVision): the new Programme Management functionality will be launched as ‘ProM’.  The ProM functionality enables the capturing of programme data that is accurate, timely and accessible; thereby meeting internal requirements and enabling the extraction of accurate course data in the XCRI-CAP, HEAR and KIS feeds.

Furthermore, the outcomes of the CDATA project strongly reflect the JISC strategic objectives and thus will be of significant importance to the sector.  For instance, the concept of a genuine single source of data (by putting programme information into the student information system).  The exercise of define and design of the system (through Appreciative Inquiry) will be transferable to other institutions and our learning from that will be of benefit to providing cost-effective, efficient systems and demonstrating value for money in our use of systems through using a single system.  It will also be responsive – as holding programme information in the student information system will meet the needs of the HEAR and KIS as well as XCRI-CAP.  And moreover, it will help institutions to improve the student experience as well as student retention as students will have access to accurate and consistent information via the pre application XCRI-CAP feed course publication and KIS information through the provision of the programme specification in addition to eVision portal accessibility.


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