Increasing Balanced Sections & Improving Room Utilization at Hawaii Pacific University

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Increasing Balanced Sections & Improving Room Utilization at Hawaii Pacific University
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Institutional Overview

Location: Honolulu, HI

SIS: Ellucian Banner

Early Outcomes

Since adopting the Coursedog scheduling solution, Hawaii Pacific University has achieved the following results:

  • Dramatically decreased requests received by the registrar’s office due to new transparency and tool accessibility
  • Increased room utilization by more accurately pairing section capacity with room capacity
  • Increased balanced sections by 54% (i.e., decreased the number of underfilled and overfilled sections)

The Challenge: Manual Processes Lacked Real-Time Data & Enforcement Mechanisms

Before implementing Coursedog’s academic scheduling solution, Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) relied on a manual process that involved frequently running reports and using spreadsheets. Their previous scheduling vendor only provided them with downloads, which they had to compare with Cognos and Banner reports.

The registrar’s office also had to serve as a middle person between academic departments and creating the schedule. Brandon Childress, University Scheduler, estimates they used to receive approximately 100 emails per term from academic departments going back and forth about section scheduling.

Additionally, their previous tool didn’t provide an effective way to manage permissions and stages of the schedule. For example, desirable prime time slots were filled by departments that submitted their schedule first and department schedulers often had different levels of access to the system. Brandon also noted that there was no way to lock down the schedule after it was finalized, leading to unwanted changes.

“Some weeks there would be 5-10 new sections created or the enrollment cap would be increased on 10 different sections, even if that section would no longer to fit in that room.“

Stand-Out Implementation Provides Timely Support & User Resources

While staff at HPU were nervous about the Coursedog implementation due to previous bad implementation experiences with other vendors, the HPU team was delighted by the ease of the implementation process. Brandon Childress noted that:

“We were nervous going in on how the implementation would be, but it was a pleasant surprise how put together they [Coursedog] were.”

University Registrar, David Barrowclough also noted that:

“We had a lots of questions and requests and Coursedog was really responsive. They were great about training materials, alternative ways to do things, or even changing the product. This is different than most other companies we’ve worked with.”

Staff at HPU are also now able to directly submit tickets and questions to Coursedog, which they previously had to do through the registrar’s office. In particular, the Coursedog support stands out to the team for timely responses to their questions.

New Scheduling Tool Provides Greater Transparency & Data Accessibility

With Coursedog, HPU now has a centralized scheduling system that provides access and visibility for all schedulers. In particular, staff appreciate that they don’t have to remember specific codes (e.g., user IDs) within the section editor and they can now just search by name. Staff are now also able to see when certain time slots or rooms are booked, rather than waiting to be informed by the registrar’s office that it isn’t available.

Reports and dashboards within the Coursedog platform also help HPU to schedule more efficiently. The staff particularly rely on reports such as the:

  • Instructor dashboard: allows administrators to click on an instructor and see what they are assigned to
  • Enrollment dashboard: section-level enrollment in real-time, showing underfilled and overfilled sections
  • Heat maps: how many and which sections are scheduled during a certain time block
  • Conflict reports: identify conflicts such as double booked rooms, meeting pattern violations, and time conflicts
  • Room utilization: seat utilization by time, classroom, and building

The Impact: HPU Increases Balanced Sections & Improves Room Utilization

The Coursedog platform enabled HPU to increased the number of balanced sections they offer (i.e., reduce underfilled/overfilled sections). The enrollment dashboard allows administrators to see underfilled and overfilled sections in real-time, rather than relying on static reports or waitlists. This timely insight allows HPU to address underfilled sections more quickly by consolidating or cancelling sections.

Since beginning to use the Coursedog platform, HPU increased their balanced sections by 54%.

Room utilization also greatly improved since switching to Coursedog. University Scheduler Brandon Childress noted that they now spend significantly less time ensuring space was effectively used. In the past:

“I had to run reports and match capacity of the room to the enrollment. It was a very tedious process that I had to do twice a week, for anywhere between 350-500 sections.”

University Registrar David Barrowclough observed that challenges around matching the right space to the right course the first time around had largely gone away:

“In the past, there was a lot of ‘horse trading’ for rooms. Now, we do a much better job of rightsizing rooms the first time around due to room capacity.”

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