Recent events - Academic Registrars Council - University of Derby

Recent events


ARC Timetable Practitioners Meeting at University of Kent - 22nd May 2015

The May conference was held in the stunning city of Cantebury with another really high turn-out of colleagues. The event had a fascinating variety of presentations discussing learning spaces and the psychological effect different styles and colours had on learning ability. The following links will provide you with access to presentations from the day.

Introduction and thoughts for the day by Dr Gill Sinclair (University of Kent)

Effect of Colour by Dr Gill Sinclair (University of Kent)‌

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by Helena Smith (Kings College London)

Effects of the Learning Environment on Cognition by Pete Banbury (MyCognition)‌

ARC Timetable Practitioners Meeting at Royal Holloway - 20th February 2015

75 people attended the conference at the magnificent, French-style chateau at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The day began with a welcome from the Group Chair, Dave Dowland. There was two introductory presentations from our hosts - the first on the distinctive history of Royal Holloway and its pioneering contribution to Higher Education, and the second on plans for major developments to the college's estate. Later in the day, we had a tour of several of the buildings, including the famous chapel and the picture gallery and heard about some of the challenges of maintaining the Grade One listed buildings.

Ivan Meyer (supported by Ian Grimes of Celcat) talked about the work over several years to manage timetabling and space changes at Queen Margaret University, in Edinburgh, following radical changes to the estate and a reduction in overall space.

This was followed by another case study in change management - Helen Kirby-Hawkins' presentation on the timetabling project at the University of Hull, which focussed on work to introduce on-line, 'personalised' access to timetables for students; better quality data and information and earlier publication of timetables.

The day concluded with a presentation from Luis Moreira, who flew from Portugal to talk about his organisations research into Automated Timetabling, which had led to the Bullet Timetabler system. There had been demand from members for this session, following an earlier presentation to the PATAT conference. 


ARC Timetable Practitioners Meeting at Leeds - 21st November 2014

Another really good day with a fantastic turnout of around 75 people in attendance with the event hosted by Leeds Beckett University. The day started with a welcome from Dave Dowland who handed over to Paul Ritchie. Paul delivered the Leeds Beckett Showcase presentation explaining the history of timetabling at Leeds Beckett and the developments to the timetable process. Paul further discussed the implementation of the timetable strategy group, action plans created as a result of NSS analysis and the implementation of CMISGo.

Colin Pattinson (Leeds Becket University) delivered a presentation entitled Heat and Light by Timetable which was part of the JISC Greening ICT project.

Andrea Buttle from SUMS provided information following the SUMS timetabling seminar, this included discussion around NSS, timetable healthcheck, early and accurate timetables and teaching space management.

Sue Holmes delivered a very honest and insightful presentation Using the Estate and supporting the Student Experience. Sue discussed actual space versus the academic perception of available space, the impact of needing to have Fridays afternoons teaching free, the cost of space and whether flexible space is flexible.  

Claire Baxter (Queen's University, Belfast) and Antonia Kershaw (Durham University) updated the group on the progress of the JISC KPI Benchmarking Tool which is currently being worked on. This will prove beneficial to all in enabling Universities to upload and manage their own data whilst providing valuable information to others.  

The conference finished with an update about the PATAT conference held in York earlier in the year and a closing statement from Dave Dowland with thanks to Leeds Beckett University for hosting the event.


23 May 2014

ARC Timetable Practitioners Meeting at Loughborough

A fantastic day with a brilliant turn out. The theme for the day was "Above and Beyond Timetabling"

The day was introduced by Dave Dowland, (Chair of the ARC group) with Kevin Walmsley (Head of Corporate Services) welcoming us to Loughborough University.

Mike Earl and Lokesh Bhatia then followed with their Developments above and beyond timetabling presentation which is certainly thought provoking, included in this was discussions relating to programme and module sustainability which does impact on timetabling, student experience and delivery of the programme.

Change management at Loughborough delivered by Anne Mumford then followed. As any professional working within timetabling services will know, this is really important. Significant changes and ways of working relating to timetabling have taken place over the last few years and more and more emphasis is placed on student experience. This is likely to increase further over the coming years so the session was both apt and timely.

Barry McCollum from EventMap delivered a session on The Science and Art of Timetabling where he investigated whether timetabling can be determined as either a science or an art. He further discussed the research of timetabling problems along with the academic and practitioner viewpoints.

Georgina Lahiri (Timetabling Manager) from the University of Wolverhampton and members of her team delivered a talk on the work they had done to improve utilisation of teaching space; The Timetables Full but the Building's Empty. The result of this work was better management and accountability of space and an improved student experience.

With support from their ITS department a web based audit system has been delivered, supported by an Apple IPad App (developed in-house). The use of students as auditors was a key part of the process and fines were imposed on faculties for misuse of teaching space. These fines were fed back into the project to pay for further enhancements to the system, to fund the cost of student auditors and to upgrade some teaching rooms which again enhanced the student experience.

14 February 2014

ARC Timetable Practitioners Meeting Westminster

The day was introduced by Dave Dowland, Chair of the ARC group.

The Academic Registrar of Westminster, Kathryn Whittingham, reflected on the first stages of the major project to introduce a timetabling system at Westminster and how the challenges of change management were being addressed.

Leon Smith (Manchester Metropolitan), supported by Tony Vincente of Scientia presented a case study on how an institutional/supplier partnership had led to significant improvements in the systems for communicating timetables to students.

The Deputy Chair of the Group, Marie Sheehan, led a question/answer session when members identified ideas and examples of good practice in a series of operational areas, including the timetabling of student assessments.

The afternoon was spent on a tour of Westminster's recent estate developments, followed by presentations on the **planning of the developments and the role that good relationships between Estates and Timetabling played in facilitating institutional initiatives and improvements.

Ruth Drysdale gave a short presentation to encourage members to take part in the PATAT conference, due to take place in the summer (2014) at York.

25 October 2013

ARC Timetable Practitioners Meeting Belfast

Mike Earl (Loughborough University) delivered the first presentation. Mike discussed his recent paper Death of the utilisation survey and how over time utilisation analysis needs to be balanced alongside academic delivery. This could be achieved by current utilisation evolving alongside scheduling.

Claire Baxter (Queen's University Belfast) delivered a presentation which looked at 'Improving Student Attendance at Lectures'. Claire talked through her presentation and highlighted that from the data gathered it appeared there were issues regarding low attendance rather than the need for more/larger lecture theatres. Claire highlighted that requested class sizes and enrolments at Queen's continue to increase but observed numbers show scope for more smaller groups or interactive spaces. Discussion took place amongst the members regarding compulsory attendance, push for large group teaching to be phased out and more online courses or innovative ways of teaching.

Ruth Drysdale (JISC) delivered a presentation which looked at using student behaviour data to produce improve the student experience. Ruth informed members about different data, how to understand what we have got, how to decide what we would like to have and how to plan change ie Strategy, Policy, Process, Procedure.

Following lunch a visit to the new collaborative lecture theatre took place. The afternoon consisted of the following breakout sessions:

  • Student Experience - facilitated by Paul Ritchie 
  • Getting the right person for the job - facilitated by Marie Sheehan 
  • KPI Group - facilitated by Antonia Kershaw

The conference came to a close with Dave Dowland giving a brief review of the day and thanked Queen's University for hosting the day and for their hospitality.

21 May 2013 

ARC Timetable Practitioners Meeting at Derby

An interesting day with NSS and the future of timetabling both being discussed. There was also a video available where students discuss their experiences. The presentations are now available to be downloaded.

NSS and HEFCE by Julia Moss

Ruth Drysdale covered The Future of Timetabling and the Economic Climate.

The scenarios related to the discussion are also available:

And to end the day the Lee Hollins and Chrissie Felthouse presented a video where students told us what they really thought of their timetable!

8 February 2013 

ARC Timetable Pracitioners Meeting at Durham

The event was held in the beautiful setting of Durham University in the new Palatine Centre. The focus of the day was KPI's, space planning, timetable measurements and how these factors together can help us in our daily practices.

Julian Moss (University of Liverpool) delivered the first session of the day discussing key topics such as how and for what purpose are timetables measured, what should a good timetable look like and is there really a set "standard" when so many varying factors have to be taken into account?

Claire Baxter of Queens University Belfast presented a case study titled "Working in the Green Zone". Claire talked us through the "Student Centred Timetable Project" she has recently been involved with and highlighted what the drivers were for the project, challenges this presented and the methods used in order to achieve results far exceeding the initial targets set.

The final session of the day was delivered by Durham University's Space Manager June Horne. June discussed with the group how teams working together (Timetable and Estates/Space Management) proved vital whilst they improved the use of their space. Together they identified what was or wasn't working/needed and this has helped in being better able to plan the future space needs across the University.

You can view and download all of the presentations which were delivered: Claire Baxter (Queen's University Belfast) - Case Study: Working in the Green Zone

17 October 2012

ARC Timetable Practitioners Meeting at Derby

The day featured presentations from two academic colleagues who discussed the use of innovative teaching spaces. Both had slightly differing views on the space and you can download Oliver's presentation download Oliver's presentation.

Simon Birkett (Technology Enhanced Learning Manager) also delivered a session in one of the new innovative spaces and talked about why the University had chosen to invest in the learning environment that he was demonstrating. You can download the presentation download the presesntation or if you'd like to learn a bit more about the department you can visit the LE web-pages.

Dr Barry McCollum gave us an update on the PATAT conference held in August in Norway.

Chrissie Felthouse presented a session on Student Expectations, the possibility was raised of setting up a focus group to further investigate how expectations are changing.

Lee Hollins updated the group on the recent survey and the possibility of working together on a research project that will investigate how we can recruit the right person for a timetabling position.