11 December 2019 • Yvonne van der Kwaak
Back on Track Blog: A challenging process with a great result
Within HBO-ICT, we spent an entire year on improving the education scheduling. The implementation process was challenging, but I have complete faith in its results and benefits: more stability in and fewer changes to timetables as well as better insight into the necessity of planning ahead.
As team leader, I managed the implementation for my degree programme, which was extra exciting since we were also the first group to implement Xedule in Delft. Moreover, we are a sizeable programme with 100 lecturers on three different locations and a limited number of lab spaces for specific classes. All in all, you can imagine that this was quite a tricky scheduling puzzle.
Looking back, I mainly remember the challenging aspects of the process. It was quite taxing to keep everything running smoothly while going through the implementation. Also, the added workload landed mainly on one small group of people.
We underestimated the time needed to implement the process, and specifically the time needed to input the data into the new deployment scheduling system, Xedule. This proved difficult, because we all had to get used to the programme – which isn’t very user friendly for first timers. As such, we needed proper support. This support was provided by the employees at the Xedule supplier, but as they were working under huge time constraints, their support was not always readily available and we were left to figure out quite a few things for ourselves.
Another challenge I see for many education teams, is the long-term planning and checking of timetables. We are not always able to see nine months into the future, especially regarding conferences, courses and doctoral research. During the improvement stage, I would like this topic and the related situations to be given proper attention.
Despite these challenges, I definitely see the positive sides. For instance, it is a good thing that we will all be working within the same system. Also, working with the basic schedule prototypes leads to more stability within the timetables, which has already resulted in more stability for both lecturers and students.
Yvonne van der Kwaak – team leader for HBO-ICT at the faculty of IT & Design in Delft
Back On Track Blog
Published every two weeks, the Back on Track Blog reflects on current issues, opportunities and challenges of the Back on Track programme. The blog combines a regular contribution by Clemens Berends (the Back on Track programme manager) with various guest blogs.
About Back on Track:
Back on Track improves the efficiency and quality of key educational processes. This is achieved through these four programmes: Education Scheduling, Internship and Graduation Process Optimisation, Period Evaluation, and Examination Process Optimisation.