XCRI Knowledge Base

Setting standards for more effective courses information management

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

New College Nottingham | Management

About New College Nottingham
A cross institutional decision
What benefits has New College Nottingham seen?
Implementing the changes
Further information
top of page

About New College Nottingham

New College Nottingham (ncn) is one of the largest Further Education Colleges (FECs) in the country delivering 50% of the funded FE provision in the conurbation. ncn operates across six centres including four major campuses and works in numerous community venues including businesses and schools, providing for a diverse range of learners.  In 2008/9 ncn had 23,096 students, making a total of 29,002 enrolments and 8,745 full-time equivalent students.

top of page


As a large college with diverse offerings, ncn recognises the importance of ensuring a consistent list of course offerings across all types of advertising and information media – including marketing materials, websites and also external course websites.

At present, all Further and Higher Education Institutions spend considerable time supplying their course information to other websites via a variety of different methods.  This means staff time being spent on collating their courses into spreadsheets, web forms and bespoke CSV or XML feeds as requested by websites, such as the Skills Funding Agency’s (SFA) national Course Directory, the local Area Prospectus, Foundation Degree Forward, UCAS and others.   Keeping track of the whole college course offering across all of these websites and prospectuses is challenging and difficult to control.

A major driver for ncn, as for other education institutions, was to work towards reducing the time spent preparing their course information for external aggregation websites, whilst providing one point of current and quality assured standardised course information for re-use by other agencies as well as its own online prospectus.

ncn initially became involved in implementing XCRI-CAP through their Lifelong Learning Network and the University of Nottingham’s Centre for International ePortfolio Development (CIePD).  The College partnered with the University’s CIePD team to work on projects promoting XCRI-CAP and developing XCRI-CAP imports with regional prospectuses.  This provided an early impetus for ncn, and concurrent commitments emerged from the main course information collecting websites (named above) to roll out the facility for learning providers to upload their courses using XCRI-CAP.

top of page

The main drivers for undertaking an XCRI-CAP implementation were:

  • Reduced time in updating external websites
  • Consistency of college course information provided to external websites
  • Having one central and authoritative source of course advertising information
    • to be used potentially by other systems within the college
    • to provide scope for flexible use of the data (for example building bespoke prospectuses or merging with other course data)
    • Confidence in a source of quality assured information to be offered to external course websites
  • Responding to new technologies and initiatives

These are key priorities in maximising the quality and accessibility of public course advertising information as a whole, and as such, are recognised by all departments involved.

top of page

A cross institutional decision

XCRI-CAP was championed and taken forward initially by staff working in the Development Unit, a team delivering websites, intranets, a learning portal and business administration systems. Internal discussions garnered the support and buy in from the Marketing, Management Information Systems (MIS), Admissions and Information Technology (IT) teams and ratification from the Director of ICT Resources.

As a cross institutional undertaking by the above teams, XCRI-CAP became an agenda item at the cross institutional ‘recruitment, admissions and marketing’ meetings, where a new internal course management system was already being discussed.  Whilst not the major reason for the redevelopment of the course system, being able to design a system with XCRI-CAP in mind has placed the college in a better position in meeting new obligations.

ncn has been able to influence the course aggregators (for example its Area Prospectus and Your Future East Midlands) to pursue XCRI-CAP as a method of importing course data, and has taken a key role in testing the software being developed, as well as taking an active role in the SFA’s Course Directory XCRI-CAP group.

top of page

What benefits has New College Nottingham seen?

In describing all elements of course advertising information, XCRI-CAP provides a useful basis for structuring the course information held on college databases.

For ncn, designing the new course management system around XCRI-CAP structures and vocabularies improved both the structure of the underlying database as well as the accessibility of course information from the website.  The information is held in a granular way enabling more complex interrogation.  An effective course search facility was developed for the website that allowed users to search courses by a variety of different criteria, thus improving the visibility and discovery of ncn courses.

top of page

Implementing the changes

There were no real hurdles within the institution in implementing XCRI-CAP.

Involvement in the East Midlands XCRI-CAP projects was of great benefit in helping the ncn team to gain understanding of the XCRI-CAP standard. The projects fostered a regional community who worked together to determine the vocabularies they were going to use, feeding these back into the national XCRI-CAP recommendations.  ncn would recommend that where local or regional user groups exist, implementers make use of them, and work with other institutions to share good practice. A brokerage service is very useful in accessing expert guidance and linked into the national XCRI-CAP initiative.

The implementation team consisted of an analyst and a technical developer who were knowledgeable about the institutional processes surrounding collection and marketing of course information as well as the data and classifications held by the Management Information System.

Structured project management and management of timescales together with commitment from senior management gave the staff the space to work on and test the technical developments.

top of page

Further information


New College Nottingham, test feed:  http://www.ncn.ac.uk/webservices/xcri/xcrix.asmx/CourseList

top of page
Last Updated on Friday, 14 October 2011 20:05  


Prev Next

The fifteenth issue of the Course Data Programme Stage 2... Read more

The fourteenth issue of the Course Data Programme Stage 2... Read more

The thirteenth issue of the Course Data Programme Stage 2... Read more

The twelfth issue of the Course Data Programme Stage 2... Read more

The eleventh issue of the Course Data Programme Stage 2... Read more

The KIS data has now been launched.  Data from all... Read more

The tenth issue of the Course Data Programme Stage 2... Read more

The ninth issue of the Course Data Programme Stage 2... Read more

Congratulations to all those who have been successful in their... Read more

The eigth issue of the Course Data Programme Stage 2... Read more

The seventh issue of the Course Data Programme Stage 2... Read more

The sixth issue of the Course Data Programme Stage 2... Read more

XCRI Interactive