Programme Developments

Developments to the programme template have been ongoing over the past month.  As the TQA template has recently been changed it has taken until now for us to receive examples of how fields have been interpreted and the amount of information which has been entered into specific areas.  This has meant that we have had to do some ‘re-arrangement’ to the original template that we designed for iPaMS.  In light of these changes we have started to look at how our data will map against the XCRi-CAP feed.  While we do not plan to develop the actual feed until later in the project we identified only a few pieces of additional information required for XCRi and these have been simple to add into the programme template.  This means that hopefully there will be no changes needed to the template once we start adding more advanced functionality to the system.

Different versions of standard text have been defined for use in the TQA specification and our lead developer Helen has added functionality to the system relating these different text versions to descriptive fields such as the campus identifier.  This text can only be edited for the current academic year and will need to be ‘rolled forward’ for future years.  We have identified this as the most effective way to ensure that historic documents are archived effectively (with the correct version of standard text) and that consideration is given to factors such as developments on campus and any change of resources for each year.  Due to the nature of programme design it was difficult to define this text and the associated relationships.  For example there are a number of learning opportunities which are taught on different (or multiple) campuses and some which are validated by the University of Exeter, but are taught through collaborative provisions.  The need for flexibility in the template has made any standardisation difficult.

Beyond the progress that has been made within iPaMS itself there have also been some other developments in the project.  The faculty office has agreed to the simplified data format that will be used in the PDF output for the TQA specification.  This means that in the future it will be easier to change the information that is required for the TQA specification as using the current format would require specialised skills to edit the template due to the complexity of the code which would have been required to build this.

The web marketing team have started to look at how programme data will be displayed in different sections of the web service.  This was an important driver for the development of iPaMS, ensuring consistency in the way that data is displayed across all of the colleges.  Once this is complete we will be able to make any final assessments of the template before we start entering programme data from the colleges.

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