JISC Progress Report

This is a summary of the recent progress report we submitted to JISC, who are funding part of our project.

Summary 

We now have varying amounts of data held by 5 out of the 6 colleges at Exeter and key staff in these colleges have been trained on iPaMS. Archive data is currently being brought in to iPaMS from legacy systems through database exports and this is progressing well. A robust, scalable and universal web feed is being developed for use to supply our internal and external websites with academic and marketing information for modules and programmes.

We have designed (on paper) an electronic workflow system to handle the specific approvals needed for new and amended modules and programmes, as mandated in our Teaching Quality Assurance (TQA) Manual. This will shortly enter the coding phase; however the pre-requisite for workflow, Version Control, will soon be available for alpha-testing.

We know we still have a lot of work to achieve before the end of the project, but a lot of the uncertainty around design and requirements has now gone and we are confident we will achieve our goals.

Outcomes and Lessons Learnt

  • Ease of access to course information
  • Robust archive of course information
  • Improved collation of data to be included in the KIS
  • Efficiency savings in administrative processes
  • Ease of data transfer via XCRI-CAP
  • Use of course data in other systems
  • Engagement with the community

Risks Issues and Challenges

We realised earlier in the project that we would need more development capacity than the 1 x 0.8FTE and 1 x 0.5TFE we had working for us. The risk of not acting was that we would fall behind with development tasks and end up having to drop features that were advantageous for the University, in order to bring the project in on time. Fortunately we managed to re-assign some internal resource so we now have (in addition to the above), 1 x 1.0FTE and 1 x 0.4FTE on the project, whose contributions have been noticeable and much appreciated.

We have also found that deadlines in the academic cycle put pressure on the project to deliver functionality at certain times and that the more warning we get of these deadlines, the easier it is for us to ensure we are properly supporting our departments and colleges.

Next Steps 

The work over the next few months will be concerned with delivering the following technical elements:

  • Web feed to supply course information to University websites;
  • Version Control to allow drafting of changes to programme and module descriptors before making live;
  • Approval Workflows to ensure appropriate approvals have taken place before putting changes live;
  • XCRI-CAP compliant data extract for future use by course aggregators or other uses;
  • Finishing data loading from legacy systems to allow iPaMS to be the single source of course data and act as an archive as well as a repository for current data;
  • Changing the University web pages to feed from iPaMS course data;
  • Training users to use iPaMS.

The work for all of these tasks is well underway so we now need to ensure we continue to deliver within the timeframes available.