While most institutions have a ton of scheduling and enrollment data at their fingertips, campuses waver in the value they’re able to extract by leveraging this data. In a practical sense, a single source of truth for scheduling and enrollment data acts as a historical, accurate record for class times, resource utilization, and student demand.
However, when manipulated in the right way this data can also provide key insights to accelerate degree velocity and save institutions time and money for current and future scheduling terms. This is why an increasing number of colleges and universities are turning to internal IT resources, or external third party vendors, to achieve enhanced visibility into their data via robust reporting and data visualization.
Below are a few of the benefits we see when higher education institutions leverage data to inform critical scheduling decisions...
Enhanced Resource Allocation
Classroom space is a finite resource that many institutions wish they had more of. Due to its scarcity, it is critical that schools optimize resource allocation during the scheduling process.
However, ‘prime-time’ bundling of classes often prevents institutions from doing so. ‘Prime-time’ bundling occurs when departments schedule classes within certain desirable windows of time. More often than not, this causes the demand for classrooms to exceed supply, leading to delays in the room optimization and scheduling processes.
By being able to visualize the hourly and daily distribution of time assignments before running the room optimizer, institutions are able to easily validate that they will have enough classrooms to assign, enhancing resource allocation and saving administrators time.
Aligned Course Offerings with Student Demand
Student demand is an important predictor of enrollment, making it a necessary variable for schools to weigh when building their course schedules. By looking at historical demand trends at the course and section level institutions are able to reduce the likelihood that students will not be able to get into foundational courses in their degree path, or popular courses on campus.
In order to build a schedule that accelerates rather than delays time to graduation, institutions must be able to look at enrollment trends across terms when determining the number of sections to offer of a course.
Many course schedules contain sections with enrollments that are overfilled or underfilled, meaning they are at or near the maximum capacity, or far below the maximum capacity, hiding cost savings. By cutting sections with a low capacity early on in registration, institutions are able to save money on faculty rates while giving students the opportunity to enroll in other available sections of the course. By expanding sections with high capacity, institutions are able to capture additional tuition per added credit hour for each added section.
In order to make these decisions, administrators must have access to live enrollment data that quickly and easily identifies opportunities to reduce the overall cost of the schedule.
There are many justifications for why institutions of all types should invest in scheduling analytics. Chief among them is their impact on student and administrative success. To get a better look at the types of reports and graphs administrators can use as the building blocks for their schedule, check out Coursedog’s reporting walkthrough.