Interim project manager appointed in October 2012 responsible for delivering a new timetabling and room booking system to be implemented for the 2014-15 academic year. The requirement was to define and implement new business processes, supported by software tools to be competitively procured in accordance with public sector guidelines (OJEU Notified) and deployed on the university’s IT infrastructure
The scope included: Defining governance arrangements; chairing the project steering group and leading the in-house team; preparing the business case; drafting space management and timetabling policies; preparing requirements specifications and tender documents; facilitating stakeholder workshops and surgeries; overseeing the delivery of the communications plan and managing all work streams forming part of the project.
The University of Westminster has used the software platform to schedule more than 8,000 separate teaching events for the 2014-15 academic year and has replaced manually-intensive processes including reliance on spreadsheets. More than 104,000 pieces of data were entered into the system by the timetabling team between January 2014 and the planned August go-live. It was used to automate the timetabling of 1,400 courses and more than 11,000 course structure variations; in addition to 4,000 modules, 8,000 module groups and more than 82,000 student module associations. Westminster has further embraced the smartphone revolution by allowing students and staff access to the academic timetable via their mobile devices. The timetable was made available to 27,000 students and more than 4,000 staff via their smartphones on 11 August 2014.
Access to timetables significantly improves students’ lives by enabling them to organise themselves long ahead of their academic commitments and deadlines. Students and academic staff are also able to share diaries and course information via their smartphones (including iOS, Android, Windows Mobile and Blackberry), significantly improving their ability to collaborate.
In addition, a self-service room booking facility which allows students and staff to reserve teaching and study space across the university’s estate via their smartphones was rolled-out from September 2014, further enhancing students’ learning experiences. This followed a successful pilot by the University’s corporate services department which began in June 2014. The pilot resulted in 2,367 individual room bookings being made by 211 different users (an average of 70 per day).
The assignment was delivered on time and below budget to the extent that consequent revenue costs for the period 2015-2019 were able to be accommodated in the original capital budget.
The project’s success was also reported in Computer Weekly (see article)