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Course Data - Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education

Funded by the: Jisc e-Learning programme.

Lead Institution: Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education.

Learner Provider Type: Further and Higher Education

Project Duration: January 2012 - March 2013

Key Words: Course Data

Case study tags: course data, process improvement course information, grimsby institute of further and higher education

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

Grimsby Institute Course Data Management Stage 2


Grimsby Institute


Project Summary

Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education is a large general further and higher education (FHE) college based in North East Lincolnshire which offers HE provision to over 2,000 learners from a number of campuses. In 2009 the Institute also merged with Yorkshire Coast College to form the Grimsby Institute Group.  All curriculum areas deliver pathways from FE to HE with HE programmes based in a separate University Centre. There is a strong central HE specific quality and administrative function which serves to proactively assure the Institute of its academic standards and the quality of its programmes.


The project has reduced the steps involved in the verification process for programme marketing information. The team have undertaken a review of the programme information held in the management information systems to ensure that the current data is available. There was significant work with CAPITA and discussions with CAPITA users involved in the second stage of the project. The technical team have worked to develop their skills in relation to understanding XML and have utilised CAPITA consultancy to support in this process


The project has improved discussion between internal teams at the organisation and resulted in a greater understanding across departments of the production of programme information. There have been changes in the approval processes for changes to course data with all information now being signed off by the HE Quality and Standards department rather than marketing.


The project has enabled feedback from student focus groups was well as input from staff to ensure that the information provided is relevant and reflects the provision and facilities available at the Grimsby Institute. This feedback has resulted in changes to the organisation’s website structure as well as enhancements to the type of media included i.e. pod casts.


The development of the Key Information Sets (KIS) has run alongside the projects and the two developments have provided opportunities to enhance the information available for current and prospective students.


What did we learn?

The information held on the existing management information systems varied across programmes however the fields required by the XCRI-CAP appeared to be more appropriate to large HEIs with a range of campuses. The fields included a large number regarding location, as a large HE in FE provider the majority of the higher education provision is delivered from one site and therefore the location fields added little value to the marketing information.


The project involved feedback from students and this allowed the organisation to review the layout and the information on its website. This allowed minor changes to be made to the website which previously had not been considered. Although the changes were only minor the impact on students was significant i.e. location of information buttons.


The organisation already held information on programmes in one system which fed into a range of business processes such as business planning and marketing. Prior to the project it had been thought that this was standard practice but discussion with other organisations involved in the project it became apparent that this was not the case. The ability to easily access information within one system allowed the teams to focus on reviewing the process of ensuring the information was accurate rather than how to collect the information.


Immediate Impact

The greatest impact that the project has had on the organisation is improved communication between departments which had previously been seen as disparate. This improved communication has led to a number of process improvements which would not have previously been possible. These included the change in the quality assurance process for website information, cross department communication and greater understanding of higher education data within a further education setting.


There have been greater links between HE in FE colleges which utilise UNIT-E and this has led to discussion regarding the project and also about how to utilise UNIT-E to provide additional benefits for all organisations. As a result additional visits have been planned after the completion of the project to review specific developments within the colleges to share good practice.


The project has had an impact on students who have had the opportunity to provide suggestions for changes to the website. The buy in from the students and the suggestions ranged from simple changes to aspirational technically challenging suggestions. The Institute ensured that the feedback loop was closed by posting on the student wiki aspects of the changes made due to the input from the students.


The actual production of a feed has had no significant impact on the organisation’s systems since it has not been used for our own publication of course data, however it was a learning curve in the improvement of our course data collection processes and our knowledge of how the creation of XML works.


Future Impact

The organisation has learnt from the changes to the quality assurance of the higher education marketing data and the largest change planned for the future will be how this can be replicated within the further education element of the college. This will have a significant impact on the quality and consistency of the information provided for all prospective students and not just those interested in higher education.


The input and suggestions from students have resulted in planned developments which will include:

  • new slideshow options
  • potential virtual tour of new university centre building
  • pod casts of interviews with students


If, in the future, it becomes a requirement to submit course information e.g. Course Directory, via XML this project has provided a useful insight into XML production and provided an underpinning knowledge which could be utilised.



The project has resulted in improved efficiencies in the form of improved documentation, procedures and practices which have resulted in cost efficiencies.


The impact on wider society have been achieved through shared practice with colleges which has helped to improve marketing materials for stakeholders. The input from students has also resulted in improved website layout.


The inclusion of HE in FE colleges with the course data management project will ensue that the XCRI-CAP standard can also include information relevant to this sector rather than just HEIs. There will sector improvements of materials on websites which in turn will support informed stakeholder decision making process.



The project and the impact needs to be further discussed at the CAPITA user groups to ensure that the XCRI-CAP is understood by the HE in FE sector rather than the systems only being utilised by HEIs.


Further details: email and contact names etc:

Project Director: Ellen Thinnesen.

Project Manager: Sally Dixon

Contact email: dixons@grimsby.ac.uk

Project website: http://www.gigprojects.co.uk/