Blog & Opinion
21 May 2019 • Saffiva Matab
The amazing world of planning and scheduling….
How do you define a good timetable?
One with a lot of flexibility? One that is adapted to your personal life circumstances? I think we can all agree that it’s better for everyone to have a stable timetable instead of a timetable that is subject to constant changes. And this applies to the scheduling process as well as to what happens after the timetables are published.
How do we improve the education logistics process?
The Education Schedule programme (part of Back on Track) is focused on improving the education logistics process, from EER to scheduling. To properly guide this process, THUAS created the position of education schedule planner, among other initiatives.
The education planner supports the education department in making a basic template, a blueprint of all the educational activities created with the lecturers, based on the didactic principles. The education planner helps the staff with planning, advises on the possibilities and monitors if there are enough available facilities.
For me it’s important to combine our different perspectives: the degree programmes have a didactic and education-technical perspective and education planners look at the facilities and the planning aspects. By bringing these two worlds together we are able to gain more insight into the bottlenecks of education planning and solve these. Normally these bottlenecks only become apparent when we start the actual scheduling process.
The next step is the work schedule planning. There will be a central system in which all degree programmes can plan and monitor the work scheduling of their lecturers. I see this as another major improvement. Today lecturers sometimes teach more than they are contracted for within their function or in addition to their other activities. Or there is a lack of an overview of the annual work schedule of a lecturer and the highs (and lows) throughout the year. These variations become more clear when all this information is available to the scheduler.
After planning the work schedule the scheduler can complete the timetable planning and take all the information into account when planning.
We need each other to achieve the best results, but sometimes it’s not always clear who does what. But some issues can really only be resolved together. That is new and can be a bit scary!
The near future
Exciting times are coming up! For the first time, the Education Scheduling Team will plan the entire semester, instead of only one 10-week block. We will see what the outcome of this project will be. We have to be realistic and realise we cannot get everything right the first time.
I do have high hopes. I personally participated in the ‘proof of concept’ at the University of applied sciences Law degree programme and saw how beneficial this new way of working can be. The immediate result was a stable timetable for the Law degree programme and blocks that are no longer subject to all kinds of changes. I wish the same outcome for all degree programmes and students at the Hague University of Applied Sciences
We can only do this if we work and implement this project together, based on a joint vision and shared interest. Yes, we can!
Saffiva Matab has been a team leader with the Education Scheduling Team within the F&IT department since November 2019. She is very closely involved in the Back on Track Education Scheduling programme.