Top 5 Reports for Academic Leaders

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Download Whitepaper

Clean, actionable data helps higher ed leaders understand and act on key opportunities and areas for improvement in academic operations. This ebook covers the five essential reports academic leadership should be watching, including enrollment heat maps, instructor workload reports, time block and room utilization, and course demand analytics.

Key Learnings

  • Where to find key automation opportunities in the course scheduling process
  • How to efficiently allocate your faculty and campus space for cost savings
  • Why academic operations data is key to boosting student success

01 Introduction: Achieving Scheduling Goals With Data & Insights

As institutions increasingly look to leverage data to promote student success and optimize resources, access to the right data is now more important than ever. Access to the right data allows institutions to proactively plan in advance, offer the right mix of courses, and effectively assign space and instructor resources.

Strategic use of the right tools and data can help institutional leaders achieve the following goals and objectives.

Goal: Streamline and expedite the course scheduling process with little-to-no manual data entry for staff members


  • Save time to re-allocate to other strategic projects
  • Eliminate scheduling errors that result from error-prone manual data entry and coordination across multiple tools
  • Eliminate lost requests and bottlenecks

Goal: Make efficient use of faculty and space for cost savings


  • Enforce scheduling rules to ensure compliance and eliminate complex negotiation or audit process
  • Optimize faculty assignments
  • Optimize room assignments and visualize capacity

Goal: Bolster student success metrics


  • Ensure students can access the courses they need to progress through and complete their programs
  • Forecast course demand and enrollment trends• Improve student success metrics through data-driven, programmatic decisions
  • Enforce student-centric scheduling policies
  • Balance faculty preferences with student-centric scheduling needs

02 Leveraging the Right Metrics to Meet Your Goals

To achieve these goals, institutions should ensure they can easily access reports that provide them information about the metrics below. These reports should also help institutional leaders answer key questions about resource optimization.

Metrics: Bottlenecks

  • Which classes are causing bottlenecks?
  • What is overfilled? Above capacity?
  • What do students have trouble accessing but then need to progress?

Metrics: Enrollment reports

  • Which courses should we cancel or add sections to?
  • Which courses are underfilled? Overfilled?
  • What courses are becoming more popular? Less popular?

Metrics: Instructor workloads

  • Is instructor utilization optimal?
  • How many instructors have back-to-back classes this term?

Metrics: Department drill-downs

  • How many courses and sections does each department have?
  • How far along is each department with creating their schedule?

Metrics: Room Utilization

  • Is room utilization optimal?
  • How many students are in each building at any given time?
  • Where can I reduce energy consumption during times of day when buildings aren’t occupied?

Metrics: Schedule distribution reports

  • Is my schedule balanced/evenly distributed?
  • Is the scheduling balanced by day/time/department?

03 Top 5 Scheduling Reports

  1. Course enrollment Data: Underfilled/overfilled/capacity/balanced
  2. Enrollment Heatmap: Course meeting patterns by day and time
  3. Course & Section Distribution: Time distribution/utilization/meeting pattern popularity
  4. Space Utilization & Conflicts: Usage/average seat utilization/distribution/ID scheduling issue
  5. Departments Dashboard: Courses, sections, scheduling progress by department

04 Course Enrollment Reports

Identifying & Addressing Overfilled and Underfilled Sections

Understand enrollment trends to ensure your institution is offering the right mix of courses to meet student demand, ensure students can access the courses they need, and optimize institutional resources.

Enrollment reports should help leaders review which courses need to add/cancel sections by term and department. To help understand course offerings, you should be able to filter by section type, course, campus, building, and more.

For example, the report below displays a list of underfilled sections (i.e., less than 70% full), also known as sections that have low enrollment ratios. These sections represent good candidates for elimination or consolidation and subsequent cost savings.

Coursedog's Enrollment Report for Section Utilization

However, to effectively use this data and make decisions during the scheduling and enrollment process, information should be updated in real-time to see current registration levels. Real-time enrollment data helps institutions understand where they may be able to cut or consolidate excess courses (underfilled) sections, or expand offerings (overfilled sections) as the registration process occurs.

To most effectively use this information, ensure administrators and staff can access each of these sections directly from the report with one click to see the relevant data and take action.

Providing easy access to scheduling data helps protect against barriers that institutions report prevent them from creating a data-informed schedule. Easy-to-access reporting ensures staff don’t need to spend inordinate amounts of time pulling reports or need specialized skills to access the data. For example, a recent survey from AACRAO highlights the following as the top three barriers to using data for scheduling:

  • Not enough time to perform appropriate data analysis
  • Lack of staff with expertise to analyze data
  • Don't have appropriate tools to analyze data

05 Enrollment Heatmap

Enrollment heatmaps help administrators quickly visualize course distribution and identify where the schedule may be too congested or have room for more sections.

Enrollment heatmaps also help institutions:

  • Ensure meeting patterns are well distributed throughout the week to help students access all required classes
  • See meeting pattern distribution by department
  • Assess how sections are currently distributed by time and day

Enrollment Heatmap Report

Coursedog's Enrollment Heatmap Report

06 Course Distribution

Meeting Pattern Popularity

Assess scheduling distribution easily with time reports that offer insight into scheduling trends by time of day. These reports help administrators understand the popularity of meeting patterns and how many rooms are available throughout the day.

For example, this report can help administrators identify where prime time scheduling slots (i.e., between10am-3pm) are overbooked and then take action to create a schedule with classes more distributed throughout the day.

Meeting Pattern Utilization

Coursedog's Meeting Pattern Utilization

07 Space Utilization & Conflicts

Understand how to optimize campus space and identify which rooms are under-used. View all of your rooms in one place and quickly understand:

  • Room capacity
  • Number of classes scheduled in each room
  • How often the room is booked
  • The percentage of seats being used in each room

Room Utilization Report

Coursedog's Room Utilization Report

Additionally, ensure administrators can easily identify conflicts that currently exist in the schedule. Displaying all of this information in one place allows administrators to quickly identify conflicts and adjust them before the schedule is published to avoid last-minute changes that may impact students already planning for or enrolling in classes.

Conflict reports should help administrators identify conflicts such as:

  • Double booked rooms (for courses, exams, and events)
  • Double booked instructors
  • Nonstandard or overlapping meeting patterns
  • Credit range conflict
  • Invalid instructor assignments (e.g., multiple primary instructors, instructor assigned to multiple session indicators)

Conflicts Report

08 Departments Dashboard

Understand which courses and how many sections academic departments plan to offer and easily drilldown into course details. The departments dashboard allows administrators to quickly see all departments, the number of courses, sections, and the status of their scheduling progress in one place.

From the dashboard, administrators can click into each department and see course details. Administrators can see all courses offered and the number of sections for each course. Additional details such as instructor, day and time offered, and course location are also available.

Rather than having to check with each department leader individually about the status of their scheduling, the departments dashboard allows academic leaders and the registrar’s office to see all of this information in one place.

Department Dashboard

Coursedog's Department Dashboard

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