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Setting standards for more effective courses information management

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Technical Implementation Course Data Programme

This HEFCE funded call is designed to help prepare the sector for increasing demands on course data. There is also a section on the JISC website with information about the Course Data Programme.

This call differs from other Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) programmes as all eligible institutions (English Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and English Further Education Colleges (FECs) with over 400 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) students) are invited to take part in stage 1 and the majority of these will be selected to go forward into stage 2. A letter of commitment signed by key senior staff is needed in order to receive £10,000 of JISC funding to complete stage 1. This will support the production of an implementation plan outlining changes required to improve course data flows within the institution and produce feeds for external agencies. Institutions can then put forward these implementation plans for selection into stage 2. Approximately 80 institutions will be selected for stage 2 on the basis of these plans, to represent a range of states of preparedness.

This programme approach is designed to ensure a high number of engaged HEIs, which is vital to get the critical mass needed to effectively demonstrate to the sector the huge potential of organising and presenting course information in a standardised way.


As funding for higher education is reduced, and the cost to individuals rises, we see a move towards a consumer-led market for education and increased student expectations. Nowadays, information about a college or university is more likely found via a laptop than in a prospectus. In this competitive climate publicising courses while embracing new technologies is ever more important for institutions.

There are 3 main drivers for making it easier for people to find and compare courses:

  • prospective fee-paying students want to know more about the academic experience a course will provide and be able to compare this with other courses
  • better informed students are more likely to choose a course that they will complete and be more motivated to achieve better results
  • increased scrutiny by quality assurance agencies and the Government’s requirement for transparency of publicly funded bodies.

JISC has made it easier for prospective students to decide which course to study by creating an internationally recognised data standard for course information, known as XCRI-CAP. This will make transferring and advertising information about courses between institutions and organisations, more efficient and effective. The Information Standards Board recognises this sector standard for electronic publishing and collecting of prospectus information.

The focus of this new programme is to enable institutions to publish electronic prospectus information in a standard format for all types of courses, especially online, distance, part time, post graduate and continuing professional development. This standard data could then be shared with many different aggregator agencies (such as UCAS, the National Learning Directory, 14-19 Prospectus websites, or new services yet to be developed) to collect and share with prospective students.

Programme Outline

The proposed programme will support the sector to prepare for the increasing demand for course information, and increase the availability of high-quality, accurate information about part-time, online and distance learning opportunities offered by UK institutions teaching HE by:

  • funding institutions to make the process and technical innovations necessary to release a structured, machine-readable feed of their course-related information, and
  • creating a proof-of-concept aggregator and discovery service to bring together this course information and enable prospective students to search it.

The availability of high-quality data feeds, and the demonstration of the aggregator and search functions, is intended to provide a catalyst to the feeds being used within existing aggregators, catalogues or information, advice and guidance services, or to form the basis of new services.

The programme will also consider the changes needed to course data management processes, to address national initiatives such as Key Information Sets (KIS) and the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR), and will produce guidance on this for institutions to support the embedding of the development outcomes.

The anticipated outcomes from this programme of work are that:

  • There will be increased usage of appropriate technology to streamline course data processes leading to:
    • More standardised and therefore comparable courses information
    • Improved quality and therefore more efficient and effective course data
    • Increased ease in finding and comparing courses, especially types of courses that are currently hard to find, such as ones delivered by distance learning
  • Institutions are able to make appropriate and informed decisions about their processes for managing course-related data, leading to a reduced administrative data burden, cost-effective working, and better business intelligence.

The following 93 institutions received funding for stage 1 of the programme:


A full list of all Stage 2 projects, with links to their blogs and information on their current Student Relationship Systems click here.

  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Arts University College at Bournemouth
  • Aston University
  • Bath Spa University
  • Birkbeck, University of London
  • Birmingham University
  • Bishop Burton College
  • Blackpool and the Flyde College
  • Bournemouth and Poole College
  • Bradford College
  • Brunel University
  • Burton and South Derbyshire College
  • Canterbury Christ Church
  • University City College Norwich
  • City College Plymouth
  • City of Bristol College
  • Cornwall College
  • Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Coventry University
  • Cranfield University
  • De Montfort University
  • Edge Hill University
  • Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education
  • Harper Adams University College
  • Keele University
  • Kingston University
  • Lancaster University
  • Leeds City College
  • Leeds Metropolitan University
  • Leeds Trinity University College
  • Leicester College
  • Liverpool John Moores
  • Liverpool University
  • London Metropolitan University
  • London School of Economics
  • Loughborough College
  • Loughborough University
  • Middlesex University
  • Myerscough College
  • New College Durham
  • Newcastle College
  • Newcastle University
  • North Lindsey College
  • Norwich University College of the Arts
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Plymouth College of Art
  • Plymouth University
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Somerset College
  • Southampton Solent University
  • St George’s, University of London
  • St Mary's University College
  • Staffordshire University
  • Teeside University
  • The Sheffield College
  • University College Falmouth
  • University of Bedfordshire
  • University of Bolton
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Derby
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of East London
  • University of Essex
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Gloucestershire
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Hull
  • University of Kent
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Lincoln
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Salford
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Sunderland
  • University of Sussex
  • University of the Arts London
  • University of the West of England
  • University of West London
  • University of Westminster
  • Warwickshire College
  • Wigan and Leigh College
  • Wiltshire College
  • Worcester College of Technology
  • Writtle College
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:56  


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