Blog & opinion
25 November 2019 • Clemens Berendsen
Back on Track Blog: Four Lessons Learned from Education Scheduling
It’s always a bit scary to be the first: the spotlight is on you and everyone is watching. Will you trip up? Or will you be a huge success? Being first is daunting, but someone has to do it. For the four Back on Track programmes, that task fell to Education Scheduling.
After the first year, we evaluated Education Scheduling with the degree programmes (read more). I am content with the positive input, but also with the critical feedback. Being first is not only daunting, it is essential and enables everyone to learn from the experience. We will take the following lessons learned from Education Scheduling with us to the other Back on Track programmes.
- Always start with a pilot: Pilots are vital for successful implementation. We were already aware of this fact, but time restraints led to the improper transfer of lessons from the Education Scheduling pilot to the implementation. Hence, we will deploy and thoroughly evaluate pilots for Examination Process Optimisation and Curriculum Development before moving on to their implementation — even if this means moving deadlines around.
- More time and room to implement new applications: It is essential that our processes are supported by efficient systems. However, the Xedule implementation took substantially more time and effort than we had anticipated. We have learned that it’s important to gain considerable experience with a system before implementing it. As such, we will be implementing Remindo (our new examination application) in stages: we will be scheduling six extra months for its implementation. This will also lead to more room for other priorities, such as the BEQ.
- Thorough and timely preparation of links: Links between different systems lessen administrative burdens as they allow us to upload data only once. Linking systems is difficult, though, when every degree programme has its own name for the same bit of information. We have seen how rigid this process is and are working hard alongside Facilities & IT to minimise the manual activity required.
- Continuing cooperation between degree programmes, services and programme: Back on Track is a joint process. We may not have gotten everything right the first time around, but we did succeed in working together well. Let’s continue to discuss on a regular basis what is going right, what may be going less right and what we can do to improve things. This will allow us to achieve continuous improvement. We will also maintain this cooperation after completion of the Back on Track programme. As Vivian indicated in the previous Back on Track Blog, the process owners will play a vital part in this cooperation.
We must be critical and learn from both our successes and our setbacks to ensure our educational processes remain future proof for a long time.
Clemens Berendsen, Back on Track programme manager
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.