Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Common Timetabling

Very short Programme Board this week as no project reports due to Christmas break but we did approve two new projects - one s a continuation of an existing one. Currently we're reviewing our VLE, and once a decision is taken on how to proceed we will have quite a big implementation task, so that's been set up as a new project. The other has been under discussion for some time, but we're finally getting on with it, and this is to implement a common approach to timetabling.

Timetabling is currently based at a departmental level and there is consequently considerable duplication of effort as timetables are created locally. Requests are then made for room bookings centrally, and then often timetablers will transpose the allocated room information back into local systems.

The software we use has the capacity to capture relevant information such as staffing constraints and to automatically produce a scheduled, roomed timetable. We can then produce clash free personal student timetables which can be delivered to students though the portal and Google calendar, and though our mobile application, campusM. This should also save a considerable amount of staff time by reducing duplication of effort, and develop better timetabling expertise at Faculty level. The timetable will be produced earlier allowing for better planning, and we should also be able to utilise our existing rooms better. We intend to have draft timetables produced in this way for our pilot Faculties by this summer.

Another meeting on a similar topic - discussion about the Drama Studio and how we can accommodate everyone who wants to use it, including academic use for our Drama degree which is expanding, the Student Theatre society, other academic departments and external amateur dramatic groups. We have a user group coming up next week where a lot of these issues will be discussed.

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