Managing course information

Course information is fundamental to the whole raison d’être of the organisation. That said, many institutions already know that they are muddling through with sub-optimal processes and systems so why should they do anything about it now (particularly given all of the other pressures upon them)?

There are two main answers to this question:

  1. Almost all of the learning providers who have undertaken course information review activities have been shocked by what they discovered about their own processes and systems. It is one thing to be aware that there are issues in some areas and quite another to realise the full extent of the issues, and their implications for overall effectiveness and efficiency, when one takes a holistic view across the organisation.
  2. It is difficult to see how any learning provider can respond to the demands of the current environment without addressing these issues. Senior managers are looking to an ever increasing range of management and technical solutions to facilitate the financing, staffing and infrastructure of their organisations and the delivery of services to new and wider audiences. The curriculum (along with research) is however the mainstay of the organisation. It is virtually impossible to conceive of a university outsourcing the development of its courses and, whilst the position as regards curriculum design is slightly different in further education (FE), the delivered curriculum and the range of partnerships through which this is achieved is as much the unique selling point of any college. Managing course information effectively is about getting the core of your business right.

This infoKit aims to provide reassurance that the problems faced in your organisation are neither unique nor insurmountable. It does not offer ‘quick fixes’ because there is no easy answer or off-the-shelf solution. There are course information management issues that are endemic in the sector but, as a result of considerable activity in this field during the period 2009-2013, there is now a wealth of experience and good practice on which to draw in solving them.

The resources are also aimed at inspiring learning providers to see what is possible by making best use of one of their most valuable knowledge assets. The key areas of better processes and information and better learning and teaching are not mutually exclusive. Poor business processes and issues with course data are hindering learning and teaching practice. Until recently business intelligence has tended to be seen as a managerial instrument and it is only with interest in the field of learning analytics that learning providers are beginning to realise the value of their data in enhancing academic practice. As a result of improving course information management, organisations that are creating transparent processes and accurate data are able to turn data into information and information into knowledge that can aid organisational development.

Published: 31 July 2013 | Last updated: 23 September 2013