Do you feel like the issues you’re facing are yours alone? Unsurprisingly, many scheduling professionals feel the same way as you about the very same issues.
We find this characteristic is not just common among higher education in any specific region, but is a global phenomenon. Time and time again we run into the very same, or very similar, issues wherever we talk with scheduling professionals about scheduling & resource management. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are the top 5 pain points scheduling professionals are faced with (according to the schedulers attending HoSA 2022).
1. It’s too difficult to collect data from academics
Academics, right? We love them to death, but we know they can be difficult. Especially when collecting their timetabling preferences. Data is rarely submitted on time and what we do get is often incomplete and unstructured.
It makes little difference if you use a bulletproof system of hard-copy notes, send reminder email after reminder email or even chase them down in person, this is the number one pain for scheduling professionals.
2. Hybrid teaching is a big challenge in our scheduling solution
The past few years have driven a massive transformation where hybrid teaching has become the norm. Sudden lockdowns forced us to be more flexible than ever before in order to quickly change delivery mode from in-person to online and back again when necessary. New issues emerge as we open up again.
While we will see more of a hybrid approach moving forward, this does come with its own set of challenges for the people administering the hybrid teaching environment (we’re talking about you guys!). Especially considering other parameters that can increase complexity, such as additional room capacities for social distancing or using the same room for an exam.
3. Our #1 scheduling focus is improving student experiences
While there is no question of who our favorite stakeholder in the organization is, the students are the main focus in the higher education world. They are the paying customers and the beneficiary of education, which can be expensive these days.
It really is a no-brainer that institutions want them to have the greatest possible experience from their time spent with the institution. Especially when competition to attract and retain students is fierce. This does however mean that other areas of improvement are put aside in favor of a top-notch student experience and ultimately student success is the mission for all.
4. We spend too much time on manual data entry
This one goes out to all you brave spreadsheet-users out there. Of course spreadsheets are great! But all the manual data input makes it a time-consuming process to ensure all the sheets are working as they should.
It is also a source of pain in organizations where legacy solutions demand cumbersome workarounds in order to meet the changing requirements of the organization.
5. Managing scheduling change requests should be easier
There is no question that change requests would make this list. Now, it’s not the requests themselves that cause us so much strife. Usually it’s a rough ride when the data isn’t easily accessible and we have to look through several lists or systems to get what we need to fulfill the request.
It’s even worse for those poor individuals who receive requests through email, where it almost seems inevitable that you either lose the request, simply overlook it or it just takes time to locate all the information required to action a request. A truly terrible experience for everyone involved.