#coursedata demonstrators – W4… what?
W4 = What When Where Widget.
One of the questions that always gets asked about the xcri-cap feeds is “Who is taking them”.. it’s a bit of chicken and egg situation, in that in order to make it worthwhile for aggregators and search providers to accept data in a particular format there has to be a critical mass of data in that format… and likewise in order for institutions to produce a feed, there has to be a valid reason for doing so.
With the coursedata programme we have been able to do some pump priming, as the main aim of the the programme is to ensure institutional data and processes for handling that is improved… the actual format of the data is secondary to the overall improvement, but the standard allows us to quantify improvement, share tools, and create transferable skills and methodologies. As xcri-cap is a conformant implementation of the European specification BS En 15982- Metadata for learning opportunities- it also has a potentially very wide user base. Based on XML it is alos inherently extensible.
One of the early supporters of the xcri-cap standard has been HECSU who have announced they will be using xcri-cap feeds as an mechanism to submit data to their course search facility through Graduate Prospects.
They built a demonstration widget that takes the feed from the Jisc Aggregator, and filters it on some simple criteria to produce a widget that can be put on any webpage in an iframe.
A simple webform collects and refines the search criteria:
…Hit the generate button and the preview of the widget is displayed along with the embed code – familiar to all You Tube users…
The code itself can be pasted directly into a page, or edited to follow css rules.
<iframe src="http://demo.api.prospects.ac.uk/w4/calendar.htm?keyword=fine art&preserve=fromStartDate:2013-02-05,toStartDate:2014-02-05" frameborder="0" border="0" width="100%" scrolling="no" allowtransparency="true" style="border:none; overflow: hidden; width: 100%; height: 500px;"/></iframe>
However the team ran into a snag, in that their original plan was to build a widget that showed just CPD courses… but there is nothing in the xcri-cap model that identifies a course as a CPD opportunity. This gets into an area outside of technical spec, and into semantics, in fact at the start of the #Coursedata programme Jisc commissioned Andy Youell to write a paper on “What is a course”, which was proving frustratingly nebulous.
xcri-cap does have a course type element, but there is currently no universally accepted and used vocabulary that allows filtering on CPD courses. Work for the future.
If you are interested in working on such a vocabulary please get in contact.
The source for the W4 widget can be found on GitHub.