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Efficient Government Fund EGF)1)2)59 Scottish College Course Information

DescriptionSTATUS - WITHDRAWN - Common information will be stored and shared in a standard format thus reducing costs whilst improving the quality of the service to the prospective learners
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Official Print Publication DateMarch 2005
Website Publication DateMarch 01, 2006

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    EFFICIENT GOVERNMENT FUND

    Stage 1 application - expression of interest

    Part 1: Summary Table

    Bid number (for EG use)

    Lead bidder

    Reid Kerr College
    David Dyet
    0141 581 2294
    ddyet@reidkerr.ac.uk

    Brief description of the aims of the project

    The aim of the project is to significantly reduce the costs of maintaining course information used for guidance and promotional purposes across the sector. This will be achieved by taking advantage of the largely common curriculum that exists in the FE sector. Common information will be stored and shared in a standard format thus reducing costs whilst improving the quality of the service to the prospective learners.

    Clear description of what the EGF money would be used to buy

    College Staff Time for the following activity areas:

    • Initial feasibility study
    • Readiness audit
    • Staff training
    • System implementation
    • Evaluation

    Hardware and software to host a scalable centralised installation, which would replace a number of diverse distributed systems.

    Partners to the project likely to commit resources

    The project has been discussed with the Association of Scottish Colleges. The initial colleges likely to commit resources to the stage 2, based on these discussions and activity under the Technology Transfer Programme are:

    • Borders College
    • Central College of Commerce
    • Coatbridge College
    • Cumbernauld
    • Glenrothes
    • Langside
    • Perth College

    In addition the former 2LC consortium of colleges showed a commitment to a system such as this, and it is likely that these colleges would commit resources. Members of 2LC were:

    • Jewel & Esk Valley College
    • West Lothian College
    • Edinburgh's Telford College
    • Stevenson College

    Names of other organisations with whom the project has been discussed (to assist the introductions process)

    As mentioned previously the project has been discussed with the Association of Scottish Colleges and circulated to the Principals of member colleges.

    Evidence that suggested approach has been deployed successfully elsewhere

    A data driven course information system was originally developed within Reid Kerr College with financial assistance from the Scottish Further Education Funding Council. This system was further developed to take account of sector requirements, then rolled out to a further six colleges under a technology transfer scheme. The beneficiary colleges were enthusiastic about the system and felt it improved the way they handled this type of information. These initial colleges would exhibit a high state of readiness for a move to a centralised system.

    Are there any restrictions to potential for enlargement of the project ( i.e. technology, number of partners etc)

    The system has been developed in parallel with a course information schema that has been influenced by national and international organisations. Adopting this schema will ensure compatibility not just in the Scottish FE sector but also nationally and potentially internationally, thus reducing many restrictions. By centralising the main elements of the system this will make it easier to scale up to cope with additional partners, as they will simply be sharing much of the core data rather than significantly increasing the size of the core dataset.

    Benefits projected from the project

    The system will provide efficiency benefits in terms of the maintenance of course information, whilst significantly improving the quality of the service offered. It will also allow institutions to adopt joint marketing approaches for the sector and will provide a solid foundation for a potential FE enrolment clearing house system, thus reducing costs in these areas.

    Estimated financial projections

    Total

    2005/6

    2006/7

    2007/8

    2008/9

    Overall project cost

    £1,000,000

    £300,000

    £200,000

    £300,000

    £200,000

    Estimated projected benefits

    £2,000,000

    £200,000

    £500,000

    £500,000

    £800,000

    Is a pilot required - see guidance notes

    The existing core system has been tested within several institutions where it has been used to supply course information from a central database to several diverse systems. A pilot would only be required to test the effectiveness of the system when working in a multi-institutional setting.

    Additionality: why is EG funding required

    EG funding is required to allow the initial central infrastructure to be set-up and to agree and set-up common course structures and descriptions on the system. Funding will also be required to embed an interface to the system within each institution's existing systems. Once the project is initiated with the EG funding it should be self-sustaining as the cost of the maintenance would be spread across many institutions and this would be significantly less per institution than current cost of maintaining course information.

    Is this project complementary in anyway to other EG work

    The project is complimentary to a project led by Central College of Commerce, which contains systems to allow students to enrol on-line. The existing course information system allows students to apply for a place when they find a suitable course on-line, however adding the functionality of the Central College of Commerce system would allow students' applications made on-line to progress right through to final enrolment.

    Is "stage 2 development funding" requested?

    Yes, to further develop the proposal.

    In particular to

    • Develop the financial model
    • Conduct readiness audits
    • Evaluate the most efficient organisational structure