What are the top challenges facing your institution today?
We recently asked higher education stakeholders to identify their top challenges facing their department. The open survey format provided key insights into the feelings, and attitudes for the upcoming academic year. The results have informed SEAtS in prioritising key updates, many of which are available today.
The most prominent word from the survey responses was uncertainty. Uncertainty around how teaching will be delivered in the upcoming academic year: in-person, online or a blended approach. Uncertainty around start dates, student engagement, and student numbers.
Today, our clients are able to plan for in-person, online and blended learning teaching events using our flexible cloud-based dashboard. Take for example student engagement. SEAtS is able to manage attendance data from online, and in-person classes simultaneously and present the results on a single dashboard. This includes integration with both Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
COVID Contact Tracing
We can’t discuss uncertainty without the cause– COVID19. Several survey respondents shared their intention to return to campus. The priority is contingency plans needed to mitigate community transmission.
SEAtS COVID19 Early Alert provides reassurance to students and staff using the single most important deterrent – symptom recognition. Our latest device allows students and staff to check their temperature upon campus entry. Our software facilitates an early warning system that opens a case for students with symptoms, automatically distributes campus procedures to students with symptoms, and provides immediate contact tracing based on in-person student attendance.
Another popular survey response revolves around timetabling. In particular, the challenge of delivering a hybrid schedule. Dividing students into groups that alternate between online and in-person lectures adds an extra dimension to timetable planning. Many would agree that timetable systems were struggling before the pandemic. I recall a conversation I had with a recent institution appointee whose outgoing colleague provided the following advice: “If you want to progress you career, avoid timetabling”. It is an unfortunate sentiment shared by many.
Over the years, SEAtS has enabled several client timetables to solve modern issues. The work we have done inadvertently resulted in us building our own timetabling solution we call SEATS Planner. One of the key benefits of SEAtS Planner is the ability to plan and deliver blended teaching. With a release date of July 2020, SEAtS is looking forward to sharing this innovative solution.
Timetables feed nicely into our fourth most shared survey response around in-person room occupancy with strict social distancing measures. Our survey found that room occupancy is currently running at 13% of its original capacity. Institutions are planning to spread in-person classes across several rooms to accommodate social distancing.
SEAtS Space Utilisation provides the tools to efficiently manage room capacity, especially with social distancing restrictions. And when complemented with SEAtS live attendance data, capacity can be optimised in real-time to maximise space utilisation.