SCHEDULING

PROVIDES A SAVING ON RESOURCES AND IMPROVES THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE THROUGH OPTIMISED TIMETABLE, CLASSROOM AND TEACHER ALLOCATION

Does your institution struggle with increasingly complex and time-consuming timetabling or each new academic period?

Does classroom space always seem to be underused, despite everyone’s best efforts? Do you find that students complain about their schedules because of long gaps between classes?

What does it do?

Once an institution has decided on the courses it will offer during the coming academic period,

our specialized uPlanning software helps to establish the optimal number and size of teaching groups for each course and to assign time slots, classrooms and teachers to each group.

All of this is achieved using our own algorithms

to maximize usage of classrooms and other infrastructure, avoid timetable clashes for students, and minimize “long gaps” between classes for students and teachers alike.

In the new COVID-19 reality, higher education institutions have had to take a radical new approach to academic planning. uPlanning makes it possible to tackle this challenge quickly and efficiently by supporting decisions regarding teaching formats (face-to-face, online or mixed), freeing up classroom and teaching time for courses that have been moved to an online format, limiting classroom capacity in line with health restrictions, assigning time for cleaning and disinfection of spaces, and facilitating a range of other changes. 

Benefits

uPlanning’s algorithms carry out complex scheduling tasks quickly and with ease, allowing you to complete the process within a much faster time frame, and proposes a range of planning alternatives from which you can choose the most suitable.

But more importantly, the results are significantly better than yield considerable benefits for institutions:

Saving on resources:

by minimizing the number of teaching groups per course, the number of classrooms and teachers needed are also kept to a minimum.
+
In addition, digitization of the planning process yields considerable time savings for an institution’s human teams.

Increase in enrolment:

by improving the efficiency of infrastructure usage, the institution can accept a greater number of students,
+
which in turn contributes to the achievement of its mission and generates higher income.

Improved student experience

and shorter graduation times achieved by minimizing timetable clashes
+
and “down time” between classes.

Improved teacher experience.

The schedules are also compacted according to the teachers.
+

Ease of changes to planning

in response to unforeseen circumstances that necessitate reallocation of a classroom, teaching slot, teacher or other variable.
+
uPlanning simplifies, speeds up and optimizes these planning changes.

Improved organizational management:

data generated during the planning process are distributed automatically to all parts of the organization that require them
+
and are stored in a centralized system to facilitate later analysis. 

How does it work?

The scheduling process begins when an institution decides on the courses it will offer during the coming academic period, as well as the classrooms (and other facilities), teaching hours and timetable slots in which to do so.

Although each institution will use uPlanning slightly differently, a number of fundamental steps are typically involved:

The uPlanning algorithms use data provided by the institution: the number and maximum capacity of classrooms, the time needed to travel from one space to another, the total number of courses that will be taught, etc.

During this stage, teams from the institution and from uPlanner work together to adjust the format and content of the institution’s data, defining the meachanism of integration, and loading the initial dataset into the system.

All higher education institutions apply a set of rules to their academic planning, even when specialized software is not used. These may include, for example, a maximum number of students per teaching group (for pedagogical reasons), the possibility (or lack thereof) of combining students from different courses into a single teaching group, or the option for lessons taught by one academic unit to be held in classrooms belonging to another unit.

At this stage, uPlanner’s teams provide their expert opinions on best practices and analyze each rule in conjunction with the institution in order to decide upon their inclusion into the scheduling model. uPlanning can also incorporate a series of rules designed specifically in response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Based on the institution’s student enrolment data for each year and each course, past approval rates for each course, and other variables, uPlanning generates predictions as to the number of students who will take each course during the academic period being planned.

Based on the data and rules, the uPlanning algorithms calculate the minimum number of teaching groups for each course, thus minimizing infrastructure requirements (classrooms and other spaces) and the number of teachers needed for the term being planned.

The uPlanning algorithms assign time slots, classrooms and teachers for each teaching group, minimizing timetable clashes for students across programs, avoiding timetable and classroom clashes for teachers, minimizing student and teacher “down time”, and ensuring that the total number of hours assigned to each teacher is in line with their contractual obligations.

It is common for scheduling conducted with or without the help of specialized software to fail to allocate time slots, classrooms and teachers to all of the required courses and teaching groups in accordance with defined planning rules, and for some groups to be left out.
To achieve full allocation, the institution is able to modify its initial rules and parameters and re-run uPlanning to rapidly generate a new version of the plan. This procedure can be repeated as many times as necessary to achieve the most suitable version. uPlanning also offers the option to plan the remaining teaching groups on an individual basis, with the planning team assigning them time slots, classrooms and teachers according to their own judgement.

Once scheduling is complete, all data associated with the process can be exported from uPlanning to other areas of the organization that may require them which could use ERP, SIS, LMS, Microsoft Teams, or other systems.

Our Clients

More than 70 educational institutions trust u-planner solutions, ranging from small and medium institutions up to the most prestigious and highly ranked universities.