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Whether you’re in Higher Ed, Further Ed, K-12 or Professional Training, every year institutions seem to experience problems with their timetable system. These issues have been particularly exacerbated by the recent Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, there is a host of new challenges and requirements for modern timetabling software. In this blog we look at the most common problems being experienced by educational institutions with their scheduling process and importantly, how recent innovations in timetabling technology can solve them. 

The Issues 

Some of the biggest complaints we hear from universities, schools and colleges around timetabling, involve the heavy burden it places on IT and administrative staff. Current timetable processes at many institutions are highly labour-intensive, inflexible and fragmented over multiple systems and teams. As well as that, manual scheduling can take administrative staff weeks to complete. This makes it incredibly difficult to run a smooth, efficient and connected system. The pandemic has shown that existing systems are not built for the modern, hybrid model of education delivery.  

Many of these ‘legacy’ systems were designed and built years ago, with decades old algorithms.  In addition, research into the development of modern timetable systems, shows that many providers stopped implementing the latest innovations for timetabling software once they had built a suitable product. The last few years have seen major developments in both the needs of educational institutions but also in the capabilities of modern technology. Unfortunately modern systems have failed to reflect this.

Existing systems have been largely unable to meet these changing demands. To keep existing systems running they rely heavily on third-party add-ons and API tools.

Issues with paper-based timetables and legacy systems

The Solution 

Developments in education delivery and resource availability for institutions have changed the necessary requirements for a modern scheduling system. Staff want a more interconnected process, that can integrate with other modern systems such as Microsoft 365. The current education environment needs timetabling systems that can accommodate in-person, online or off-campus learning. Both staff and students are demanding more flexibility.  

More pressure on resources has increased the need for a system that informs space utilisation and improves campus sustainability. The bottom line is that modern scheduling software should:  

  • Reduce costs and boost resource utilisation. 
  • Give admin and IT staff back their time. 
  • Allow for a blended model of teaching and learning delivery. 
  • Improve institutional efficiency. 
  • Provide a better experience for staff and students. 

For more on the must have features of modern timetabling software, check out our blog post here.