Fragmentary Course Data Thoughts… From XCRI-CAP1.2 to CourseData API?

A ten minute post, not thought through, just collecting together some thoughts arising from a Twitter exchange with @jmahoney127, @jacksonj04, @cgutteridge and @mhawksey that followed from picking up on a comment from Alan Paull re: the latest demo OU XCRI feed that I don’t want to forget in the midst of doing other unrelated stuff today… (Additional fragmentary thoughts in that comment thread.)

Looking at the latest OU XCRI-CAP 1.2 feed, it seems to be a little bit richer than last time I looked:

OU xcri-cp1.2 feed

Here’s a snapshot of the University of Lincoln feed:

Uni of lincoln xcricap2

This represents a partial view of data available via the ONCourse API, I think?

Which leads to a couple of questions:

1) is all the data required to publish an XCRI-CAP1.2 feed available via the ONCourse API? That is, could I generate the XCRI feed from calls to the API?

2) what is available via the API that isn’t in the XCRI feed?

3) could we create an API over the XCRI feed data that resembles (in part) the ONCourse API? That is, for an institution that has an XCRI-CAP 1.2 feed but no additional #coursedata development resources, could we create a simple JSON API layer that offers at least some of the ONCourse API functionality? And would the functionality/data that such an API could make available actually be rich enough or complete enough to actually do anything useful with?

Note: one of the advantages of the XCRI-CAP1.2 feed is that it can be used as a bulk transport format, a convenient source for a crude database of all the current (or future?) course offerings provided by an institution. It can also be though of as an XML database of an instition’s course offerings.

Via @mhawksey, a link to a current CottageLabs XCRI demonstrator project, which in turn leads to a Github repo that includes an XCRI aggregator scraper (there is some sort of irony there…?) and an XCRI2JSON converter.

SOmething else that also comes to mind: A Developers’ Guide to the Linked Data APIs that demonstrated the creation of RESTful, JSON producing APIs over Linked Data datasets.

Right… now for that other stuff…

PS via @alanepaull, JISC #coursedata programme blogs

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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