Report on timetabling and resource scheduling

The final report on timetabling and resource scheduling undertaken by Oakleigh Consulting Ltd is now available.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from

The study was commissioned to produce scenarios and process models describing timetabling and resource scheduling processes, looking at where these interacted with other administrative process in an institution. It was also expected to summarise how well these processes are supported by currently available technology and to identify any problems or issues.

In addition JISC were looking for ways in which these processes could be improved and better supported by technology and to inform the future work of the JISC.

The study has been informed by wide consultation and a series of 8 regional consultative workshops, with representation from 59 institutions across further and higher education

The report identified common approaches to timetabling and resource allocation; requirements identification, scheduling of activity, and location allocation. The report identifies and describes four model approaches to timetabling in institutions and examines the technical processes and requirements associated with each of these models.

The importance of the link between timetabling and curriculum design as well as its
importance in relation to work based learning and employer engagement are explored. It offers issues which could be relevant to be addressed by existing JISC projects in the Curriculum Design and Delivery Programmes and the Institutional Innovations Programmes.

The report “offers a useful profile of current practice, challenges, use of technology, and innovation throughout the HE and FE sectors, which can be used as a benchmark summary and act as a ‘menu’ of approaches and possible use of policy, technology, process, and people ‘levers’ to develop current practice”

The report provides a set of building blocks for successful practice and suggests that these could be refined into guidance materials for institutions and suggests the need for a community to share practice and issues around timetabling and resource scheduling. We’d welcome your opinion as to the benefits of guidance materials and a community of practice to institutions.

JISC encourages you to download and read this report and welcomes comments or questions relating to this report.

One thought on “Report on timetabling and resource scheduling

  1. Paul Bailey

    Posted on behalf of Peter Rees-Jones who commented that
    “In the late 90s timetabling was about making modularisation work, and the main intended benefit was maximum student choice of subject combinations, i.e. a student led curriculum required a student led timetable. Less emphasis on this now. But the functionality required for this is very similar to workbased learning: the key indicator of success was the nurses: both their staff and students must work in uni and on the wards and for both child care is a significant constraint.

    This might have received more attention: admissions for new kinds of student through Leitch etc will have the same issues. (work-life balance for staff is recognised in HR but has a lower profile in HE where students are still supposed to be 19 and a half).

    The key issue for timetablers is to reduce constraints and this involves the physical estate: making fixed resources mobile, knocking rooms together etc reduces constraints and in this optimises demand and reduces costs:

    this requires a suite of algorithms that can be tweaked to model realistic timetables, costed and then formally reviewed by the university to fund a sustainable responsive model, or something cheap.”

    The report does address issues of work based learners. Do others feel this to be a current issue or maybe one that will need to be resolved in the future?

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