JISC Project Plan Template - PDF

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					Project Acronym: Version: 0.1 Contact: Zeb Nash Date: May 2008

Study on timetabling and resource scheduling Project Plan
Overview of Project
1. Background
This study is concerned with the administrative processes and challenges around timetabling and resource scheduling for learning opportunities, and the way in which these link with curriculum and session planning. The JISC is a joint body of the UK Higher and Further Education Funding Councils. It was established to support the further and higher education sectors in the use of information communications technology (ICT). It does this by providing a network service and by funding ICT development and services that support learning, teaching and research. The JISC strategy highlights the importance of the effective use of ICT to support the administration and management of institutions, as well as to support learning and teaching. The work of this study is intended to contribute to the furtherance of both these aims, as well as exploring points where they join, such as through appropriately linking curriculum development with timetabling and resource planning. The study forms a component of the JISC e-Learning programme, the aim of which is to enable UK further and higher education to create a better learning environment for all learners, wherever and however they study. Its vision is of a world where learners, teachers, researchers and wider institutional stakeholders use technology to enhance the overall educational experience by improving flexibility and creativity and by encouraging comprehensive and diverse personal, high quality learning, teaching and research. The e-Learning programme also endeavours to provide a 'map of the territory', to provide guidance and support, and to focus development work where it will be most effective. It considers that technology should be exploited to free time from those activities that can be efficiently automated, and should be used to support innovative and creative approaches to teaching and learning. The JISC e-Framework Programme 1 is currently in the process of building an innovation knowledgebase to gather the achievements of JISC funded projects and make them discoverable. The knowledge base will focus on aspects such as process maps and models, and functional aspects of software. As such, it is designed to complement the service technology components that are gathered in the international e-framework knowledgebase 2 . The outputs of this study are expected to contribute to the new innovation knowledge base. Current and previous work of relevance to this study includes the Group Calendaring Web Services project (GCWS) 3 , the Programme Specification Domain Map (P-SPEX) 4 , the eXchanging CourseRelated Information project (XCRI) 5 and the London Pedagogic Planner 6 .

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Document title: JISC Project Plan Last updated: April 2007

Project Acronym: Version: 0.1 Contact: Zeb Nash Date: May 2008


Aims and Objectives

The aims of this study are to provide an overview and examples of the processes involved in timetabling and resource scheduling for learning opportunities, to summarise how well these are supported by currently available technology, and to identify where problems arise. The objectives of the study are: • • • • to describe the common processes involved in timetabling and resource scheduling for learning opportunities, to outline the extent to which these processes are supported by technology to identify where in current processes common problems arise to identify how re-engineered processes could be effectively supported by technology.


Overall Approach

A consultation approach to delivery will be adopted throughout this project. This will consist of four stages commencing in May 2008 and terminating at the end of February 2009. The objectives of each stage, approach to be adopted and any associated deliverables are summarised below. A workplan detailing the key activities throughout the delivery of the project is provided as Appendix A. 3.1.1 Stage 1: Project initiation (May 2008) Stage objectives: Stage deliverables: Initiation of the project including agreement of approach, confirmation of project scope and deliverables Detailed Project Plan submitted and agreed

We will arrange an initial set-up meeting with JISC to frame and agree the project scope; clarifying any points within our proposal and identify any potential areas where we may need to flex our approach. In addition, the meeting will: • • • • • Provide the opportunity to develop and agree channels of communication. Agree how we will work with JISC including scheduling meetings and interim progress reports. Identify the key interviewees / consultees and document sources on which the project will depend. Confirm the method of process notation to adopt in the delivery of this study. Agree a timeframe for the key activities which is acceptable to all parties.

This will help to establish a collaborative project. 3.1.2 Stage 2: Information gathering and materials development (May – June 2008) Stage objectives: Stage deliverables: To develop the lines of enquiry to be taken forward to the consultation stage of delivery, and to engage with key stakeholders Submission of interim report

The purpose of this stage is to develop the lines of enquiry to be used throughout the study through reference to existing published reports and Oakleigh collateral. The detailed research tools required at stage 3 will also be developed. This exercise will be used to: • • Refine and develop the lines of enquiry to be taken forward to the consultation stage. Develop research instrument tools for use in the consultation phase of delivery including interview questionnaires, initial workshop models, and draft ‘straw-man’ process maps.

Key stakeholders including sectoral and representative bodies, senior functional stakeholders from the FE and HE sectors, and individual institutions from these sectors will be contacted at this early stage in the assignment and invited to participate in the study in stage 3 (which will take place after the summer break).

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Project Acronym: Version: 0.1 Contact: Zeb Nash Date: May 2008 3.1.3 Stage 3: Consultation (September - December 2008) Stage objectives: • • • • Capture of the following:

common processes used in higher and further education for timetabling and resource scheduling extent to which processes are supported by technology identification of process issues identification of opportunities for process improvement, including the use of technology to support processes Interim report following initial round of consultative workshops at stage 3B

Stage deliverables: 3A

Interviews with key stakeholders

We will invite input through structured consultative interviews with all the relevant representative bodies such as the Association of University Administrators (AUA), Association of Colleges (AOC), Academic Registrars Council (ARC), and Student Record Officers’ Conference (SROC) and Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE). Many of these bodies will have an appropriate committee or individual with a remit linked to this study. The purpose of these interviews would be to: • • • Identify relevant initiatives involving these bodies pertinent to this study. Refine the initial series of ‘straw-man’ process maps for use in the next consultation phase with individual learning providers. Draw upon the outputs of any relevant good practice initiatives recently conducted by representative bodies.

Where it would be efficient to do so we will consult with these bodies through any pre-planned events scheduled in this period (e.g. annual conference or general meetings). The full range of organisations to be included will be identified during Stage 2. In addition we will engage with up to two of the four major technology suppliers to the FE and HE sectors 7 in order to assess how suppliers presently view the market for new solutions, and gauge the principal drivers influencing suppliers’ plans for development of their offering in this area. The analysis will allow the study to be informed by the ‘supply side’ as well as the ‘demand side’ (i.e. learning providers). 3B Regional consultative workshops

The findings of the preceding consultative activity will provide a preliminary map of current practice, process issues and opportunities for improvement. We then propose to facilitate a series of up to 14 regional consultative workshops. The purpose of the workshops will be to provide a forum to: • • • Present and discuss the emerging process models, process issues and opportunities for improvement. Consider ideas and proposals being put forward by suppliers. Identify further process variances, issues, and opportunities for improvement.

We will ensure representation from all types of institution operating within the HE and FE sectors including the full range of HEIs; FE general, specialist, and sixth form colleges; offender learning providers; WBL providers; and PCDL (ACL) providers. 3.1.4 Stage 4: Analysis and production of Final Report (Jan – February 2009) Stage objectives: Submission of concise report, incorporating annexes of ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ process models in timetabling and resource scheduling, and other appendicised information

The main suppliers of note that presently offer capable systems, include Syllabus Plus (Scientia), Facility CMIS (Serco), CELCAT, Optime Scheduling Engine (EventMAP). Page 3 of 8 Document title: JISC Project Plan Last updated: April 2007

Project Acronym: Version: 0.1 Contact: Zeb Nash Date: May 2008 Stage deliverables: Draft and final reports

Outputs from previous stages of delivery will be collated, and analysed in order to develop scenarios and ‘to be’ process models. At the conclusion of this study we will prepare and submit a final report written in clear plain English, accessible to the JISC executive and other organisations with an interest in timetabling and resource scheduling. 3.2 Issues to be addressed

Ensuring the breadth of practice is reflected in the study evidence base We recognise it is important that the institutions invited to contribute to this study reflect a range of approaches to timetabling and resource management, including implementation of technical systems to support this and that they also reflect the range of HEIs and FE providers (by reference to size and complexity). We will seek HEI and FE provider engagement both directly (by using our extensive network developed over many years of working with individual institutions) and through such representative bodies as the AUA, AOC, ARC, SROC and AUDE. This will ensure we achieve both the necessary engagement by reference to institution type but also by reference to the different functions within HEIs that are relevant to this study (in central services - estates, facilities management, examination officers, the Registry, timetabling functions and quality officers (in respect of programme development set up) and faculty administrators. The need to adopt an appropriate method and notation for recording process information As the outputs from this study (including process diagrams) will contribute to the e-learning programme knowledgebase, these will need to be accessible to those working in the management and administration of the processes themselves, as well as useful to those with an interest in the development of technology based solutions. For this reason we propose using Business Process Modelling Notation 8 (BPMN), a formal notation increasing in popularity. BPMN is highly accessible to those with a basic appreciation of process documentation, allowing user-friendly representation of processes whilst accommodating complex modelling as required. Oakleigh has experience of using a range of formal approaches to process notation and may flex this approach once information in relation to processes becomes available. 3.3 Project scope

The study will produce ‘as is’ scenarios and process models describing timetabling and resource scheduling processes, taking into account the needs of the various actors involved. The focus of the study will be the higher education sector, however processes and issues encountered within FE are within the project scope and will form an important component of the study. The study will also produce ‘to be’ process models showing how the processes could operate more effectively if they were re-engineered and better supported by technology. The focus of the study will be in relation to timetabling (including scheduling lectures and other contact time including assessment, assigning rooms and other resources, and resolving conflicts in rooms, resources and student and staff time),however the study will also consider actual and potential links between timetabling and resource scheduling, curriculum development and planning, and course delivery, such as: • • • • • •

consideration in curriculum development of room and resource needs, such as the need for particular sorts of learning spaces and equipment; shared calendars enabling staff and students to check the availability of, and book, rooms and resources needed for learning activities; curriculum development and delivery based on student-centred timetabling, focused on helping especially non-traditional or work-based students fit study round their other commitments; timetabling, scheduling and workload management for courses involving work placements; timetabling and resource scheduling for flexible and learner-negotiated or designed courses; Page 4 of 8 Document title: JISC Project Plan Last updated: April 2007

Project Acronym: Version: 0.1 Contact: Zeb Nash Date: May 2008 • links between timetabling, capacity planning, and management of staff and student workload.

In order to effectively consult with learning providers, it will be necessary to produce ‘straw-man’ process models as a starting point for further development, and initiation of such consultative activities as interviews and workshops. Oakleigh will make use of our past experience and wider desk research in order to develop ‘straw-man’ models for timetabling and resource scheduling processes.

• • • •

Project Outputs
Project Plan (May 08) Interim Report (June 08) Interim Report (October 08) Draft Report (Jan 09)

The study will produce the following initial and interim deliverables:

The ultimate deliverable from this study will be a Final Report to be submitted and agreed during February 2009. The report will be concise (less than 40 pages), written in clear, plain English, intended for the JISC Executive and other organisations with an interest in timetabling and resource scheduling, and will include: • • • • • an executive summary of the findings of the study; brief description of the methodology adopted; a summary of the common processes in use in higher education for timetabling and resource scheduling, an assessment of the extent to which these are supported by technology, and an identification of where problems arise; a summary of the ways in which these processes could be improved and better supported by technology; an appendix listing the institutions and organisations that provided comments and information for the study.

Scenarios of ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ process models for the common processes in timetabling and resource scheduling will be included as an annex to the main report.


Project Outcomes

The outputs from this project are intended for use by the JISC Executive and any other organisations with an interest in timetabling and resource scheduling. This group is likely to include learning providers within the higher and further education sectors, and technology suppliers interested in developing their product offering. It is envisaged that these groups will be able to use the report and other associated deliverables from this study to better understand the current landscape, and to identify areas of innovative practice within this. The study will also identify issues, challenges and opportunities for development relating to administration of the process areas. Learning providers place significant value in materials that illustrate successful and innovative practice that can potentially contribute to their internal change agenda, and we hope to accommodate this within our reporting style.

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Project Acronym: Version: 0.1 Contact: Zeb Nash Date: May 2008


Risk Analysis
Risk Probability (1-5) 3 Severity (1-5) 4 Score (P x S) 12 Action to Prevent/Manage Risk To ensure adequate representation with reference to provider type we will work through all the relevant membership and representative bodies to maximise attendance.

The number and variety of HEIs and FE providers will make it difficult to ascertain representative views relating to use of technology in the management of timetabling, resource planning and curriculum development. The need to consult with those working at the institution level in both the FE and HE sectors may contribute to consultative burden on the sector.




Emergent lines of enquiry could be misaligned to the expectations of the JISC.




Potential consultees will be invited to participate during the Spring, with consultation events taking place in the Autumn of 2008. This long notice period accommodates the normal academic rhythm and allows interested parties to plan their attendance well in advance of the events. In addition, regional workshops will be used with those working at the institution level, thus minimising time ‘out of the office’ for this group. We will deliver two interim reports to the JISC, one at the end of stage 2 and one during the initial phase of stage 3B. This will allow formal consideration of the emerging lines of enquiry and confirmation of the objectives and scope of the study. In all of our work Oakleigh fully engage with the client side project manager at all stages, working collaboratively where possible.

Project Resources
6. Budget
The total budget for delivery of this work is £49,026.88 (including VAT and expenses). A profile of the components producing this figure is as follows: Budget Profile Staffing costs: £36,725 Travel, sustenance, events costs, and other £5,000 expenses: Net project cost: £41,725 VAT @ 17.5%: £7,301.88 Total project cost: £49,026.88

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Project Acronym: Version: 0.1 Contact: Zeb Nash Date: May 2008

Appendix A. Project Workplan

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Project Acronym: Version: 0.1 Contact: Zeb Nash Date: May 2008

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Description: JISC Project Plan Template