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Course Data - Blackpool and The Fylde College

Funded by the: Jisc e-Learning programme.

Lead Institution: Blackpool and The Fylde College.

Learner Provider Type: Further Education

Project Duration: January 2012 - March 2013

Key Words: Course Data

Case study tags: course data, process improvement, kis, course information, blackpool and the fylde college

Note: This is an abridged version of this project's final report.  The full version is available here. 

Course Data Project Stage 2

Blackpool and the Fylde poster

Project Summary

The Higher Education information landscape is rapidly evolving.  This project has run alongside a number of national developments which have placed an increased focus on the quality, accuracy and therefore the reliability of public information provided by institutions involved in the delivery of Higher Education in the UK.  These have included the publication of Part C of the QAA Quality Code (March 2012), and the launch of the Key Information Set (KIS) in September 2012.   As requirements continue to evolve, as too does an increasing need for institutions to develop internal processes and systems to support the management and dissemination of information about their provision.


Before embarking on the Course Data project, the collection of course information at Blackpool and The Fylde College consisted of separate business processes for each public output (i.e. the prospectus, college website, course leaflets and UCAS entry profiles were all gathered separately, and sometimes by different departments within the College).  The source of all data was the programme leader who is responsible for managing the delivery and development of their programme and handling the multiple requests for similar information, in slightly different formats, at different times.


The Course Data project has supported Blackpool and The Fylde College in reviewing internal business processes to ensure that course data is collected in a more organised manner, at the right time to support the College publication schedule.  Additionally, systems have been developed to allow programme leaders to update their public information in web-based forms which feed into a carefully designed workflow to ensure that content is checked and moderated prior to publication.  The creation of an XCRI-CAP compliant feed will also serve to support the future ability to share information with external parties in a more streamlined and less time-intensive manner.


The ultimate goal in coming years would be to transfer the content created at the point of programme validation, from word processed documents, to database fields.  This could then be linked to clearly defined workflows and fully embed the creation of public information into validation and amendment processes.


What did we learn?

The Course Data project has significantly improved the internal management of course information and the systems within the College which support our business processes in this area.  This is however just the start of a much bigger journey.  The project has enabled Blackpool and The Fylde College to better understand the challenges associated with the collection and management of course information and has established solid foundations for further development.


The Self Assessment Framework which was used during stage 1 has been revised to help illustrate the distance travelled during the span of the project....   The table below illustrates the vast improvement made, with all red indicators being changed to green and only 4 amber indicators remaining.  The amber indicators which remain mainly require further development of XCRI-CAP by the wider community to harness such feeds and make use of the data produced by the Course Data project institutions.



Stage 1 Assessment

Completion of Stage 2


Red Indicators




Amber Indicators




Green Indicators





A number of other projects ran concurrently with the Course Data project, and the College was also subjected to unplanned, routine funding audits from 2 major funding bodies.  These projects and audits competed for the same resources allocated to the project and meant that some slippage did occur.  This was however recovered by employing resources in a more condensed fashion once the competing demands had been handled.  This meant that progress was made in bursts of activity, rather than steady weekly progress as planned.


Immediate Impact

The project has supported the College in considering course data from source to destination and has significantly improved internal business processes as well as knowledge and understanding of the challenges involved in maintaining clear and reliable public information.  The content management workflows implemented support ownership of course data at the curriculum level and data is collected once and used many times, therefore reducing the administrative burden placed on academic staff. 


As the external requirements for course data emerge, the XCRI-CAP feed places the College in a strong position to offer reliable and live data to external consumers of the feed, whilst at the same time making use of the data for internal purposes. At the time of writing, the College is currently considering the use of the demonstrator projects such as Facebook course search integration and XCRI-CAP consumption through mobile applications to further raise the profile of its provision.


Future Impact

The Course Data project has created a single point of management for public course information, however some manual processing is still involved in the initial collection of data.  The work undertaken has highlighted the need to further consider the creation of public information as part of the course validation and amendment processes.  In the future, this will involve the development of content management systems and workflows to digitise the creation of HE curriculum within the college, with public information fully embedded.  If this level of detail was available it would facilitate a more granular level of data validation across the multiple systems employed within the College and in doing so further enhance the quality and depth of public information.



The challenges involved in the collection, management and publication of course information are more complex wide-reaching than first anticipated.  The Jisc Course Data project has supported Blackpool and The Fylde College in making significant enhancements to the quality and availability of its published course data.


As the systems and processes mature, future prospective students will be in a position to make a more informed choice about their studies, which will ultimately lead to improvements in retention and achievement as students select the course which most closely meets their needs and expectations.  Furthermore, the XCRI-CAP feed presents the opportunity to share course information with a wider range of external agencies, which has the potential to raise the profile of the College‚Äôs HE provision. 


The project has provided an excellent catalyst for development within the College and has resulted in a much improved understanding of our current position and future trajectory in relation to the development of systems and processes to support the production and management of public course information.



With 63 institutions completing stage 2 of the course data project and submitting validated XCRI-CAP compliant feeds, firm commitment from potential consumers of the content is required to support future developments and to encourage other institutions to produce feeds of their own.  For Blackpool and The Fylde College, the project has been transformational, and more projects and programmes of this nature would be welcomed in the future.


Further details:

Project Manager Peter Greenall.  peter.greenall@blackpool.ac.uk

Project Web URL: