In 2005 we funded work on the development of a data model and XML schema for course management known as XCRI. This work continues to the present day and its story is captured in an XCRI timeline and a blog post on XCRI history to 2013 produced for Cetis.
Early on it was realised that the scope of XCRI is vast and that it might be useful to focus on a subset of the whole. More recent work has therefore concentrated on a structured way of describing all types of information about learning opportunities to support the advertising of those courses to potential learners. This more tightly defined data standard is known as XCRI-CAP (eXchanging course related information course advertising profile).
"XCRI’s intention was to bridge the worlds of course marketing and course validation/quality assurance. Research into institutional practice and ambitions revealed a frustration that course information entered for one purpose was not readily available for use in another, and concern that the way a course was described for marketing purposes should match the way it was approved and the way it was delivered. XCRI has continued this investigation over recent months and has reached a conclusion that producing a course definition for validation/modification involves assembling fragments of information into a whole, whereas marketing a course involves communicating a serialized version of a subset of that assembly."
Professor Mark Stubbs (The E-Learning Framework website 2006)
A community of developers and users actively contributed to taking this work forward and sharing learning and good practice.
XCRI-CAP version 1.1 was endorsed in January 2009 by the Information Standards Board (ISB) as the UK’s e-prospectus standard. The ISB is part of the Department for Education and is the official authority for information and data standards in education, skills and children’s services.
A European standard called ‘Metadata for Learning Opportunities – Advertising’ (EN15982 MLO-AD) was approved early in 2011 and has been strongly influenced by XCRI-CAP. XCRI-CAP version 1.2 conforms to the requirements of the MLO-AD European Norm.
An XCRI Self-Asessment Framework is available to determine the state of organisational readiness for implementing a standardised approach to course marketing. The tool was used to good effect by the organisations working on the course data programme and can be revisited to measure progress as things develop.
Prospects, a national organisation offering career advice and job and course opportunities, is implementing XCRI-CAP for postgraduate courses. We have worked with Prospects on a resource aimed at organisations looking to implement the standard for PG courses - the XCRI-CAP implementation manual for postgraduate taught courses was published in 2015.
Case study: adopting XCRI-CAP at the University of Bradford
In this podcast, Claire Gibbons, senior web and marketing manager at the University of Bradford spoke to Janette Hillicks about her organisation's experiences of implementing XCRI-CAP to improve consistency across their course information, and explore how it was managed and stored.
Case study: course data/XCRI-CAP at Staffordshire University