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ARC Timetabling Practitioners’ Group University of Westminster 14 February 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "ARC Timetabling Practitioners’ Group University of Westminster 14 February 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 ARC Timetabling Practitioners’ Group University of Westminster 14 February 2014

2 University of Westminster – a bit about us Why we commissioned the Timetabling Project Stages – what we have done so far Lessons learned?

3 History –The first polytechnic in the UK (1838) – 175 anniversary –Became the University of Westminster in 1992 –Patron: Queen Elizabeth II –The venue for the first public moving picture show in the UK (1896) –Organised the first marathon race (at the London Olympics) –Offered the first degree courses in Photographic Science, Photography, and Media Studies (1960s and 1970s)

4 A large institution with a broad portfolio –4 London sites and 5 faculties (2013/14) –23,000 students and 2,500 staff –> 4000 international students –150 nationalities represented –300 Bachelor, Master and PhD degree programmes –Extensive Study Abroad and Exchange offerings –London International Summer School –EFL, professional training and short courses

5 Background to the Timetabling Project (what are we trying to address….?) –Poor student experience – disjointed schedule –Student dissatisfaction (NSS) –Staff dissatisfaction – disjointed schedule/ease of process –Current system limitations – ‘room booking only’ –Poor use of real estate (space utilisation poor) –Failure to seize commercial opportunities –Estates Strategy initiated in 2008, with Business Case signed off in Feb 2009; now a separate project (since Oct 2012)

6 Objectives –Support “smarter learning” –Improved student and staff experience –Enable / facilitate new delivery / teaching –More effective timetabling –More efficient space utilisation –Provision of better management information

7 Coverage –what we intend that the system will facilitate –Room allocation / timing of each course element –Academic / tutor assignment (if required) –Technical / support staff assignment (if required) –Student assignment to lectures, seminars etc. –Examination / assessment scheduling –Deployment of mobile AV; IT etc. equipment –Information for support staff (e.g. security, catering, reception staff) –………but, staged deployment

8 Governance –Project Board (senior representatives; UWSU) –Steering Group >>>> User Group –Implementation Group (technical implementation) –Executive (to help move things along…) –Space Management & Timetabling Policy – approved by Academic Council, April 2013 –Governs use of space and constraints –Subject to annual review

9 Policy – Key Features –Space belongs to the University –Space allocation based on need –Space assigned on best fit and required facilities –Space defined as “specialist” and “non-specialist” –Establishes scheduling priorities (which are flexible, according to time of year/university objectives) –Defines scheduling constraints (also flexible) –States that it does NOT dictate ‘what’ is taught, ‘when’, or ‘how’ (important message for academic colleagues)


11 Timeline DateAction 10 June 2013Tender opportunity published 23 July 2013Tender period closed 30 August 2013Contract awarded 16 September 2013Delivery / Implementation started 18 December 2013New system install completed 6 January 2014System testing, training etc. 23 April 2014“Live running” for 2014-15 year 12 September 2014Target “In-Service” date

12 Current Status –Technical implementation – testing s/ware + portal –Data for 2014/15 being ‘cleansed’ –Iterative process to generate draft timetable by 10 March (prior to module choices); 18 August (final) –Some slippage, but also ‘quick win’ in early deployment of room booking via web –Ongoing change management activity (surveys; workshops; focussed meetings) –Risk register surfacing ‘other’ aspects of university activity which needs consideration (out of scope of project, but future impact); need to avoid creep…

13 Lessons learned? –Have a good Project Manager in place before you start (we have been very lucky) –Senior academic ‘champion’ – and others as time moves on –Deploy dedicated business/technical resource early –Do plenty of horizon scanning before procurement– involving the people directly impacted by the project –Understand the business and what needs to be ‘sorted’ in terms of policies/procedures/organisation before looking at s/ware tools –(Gather) and clean data before s/ware implementation –Don’t underestimate the need for cultural change – but don’t always assume it’s ‘the usual suspects’ who need it (most) –Walk before you can run (auto-scheduling from ‘the off’ may be too much to ask….)

14 Thank you for listening…. …………enjoy your day at Westminster! Competition: Collective noun for timetablers…. Kathryn Whittingham Academic Registrar

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