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Scheduling Software for Registrars

An overview of what scheduling solutions exist

As a Registrar, you are well acquainted with scheduling; be it rooms, faculty, exams, courses, and degree plans. Even more, you are likely already working with some of the software solutions that help you do it. However, the last time you had a conversation with one of your peers from another institution and they mentioned their scheduling software, you may have wondered,

“wait, can you clarify what sort of scheduling software you’re using, and to schedule what?

If that’s you, you are not alone. A 2016 AACRAO survey showed that the difference between course scheduling, degree mapping, and student scheduling remains unclear to many in Higher Education. Let’s layout the differences between these.

Scheduling with sticky notes

What is a course scheduling solution?

Course scheduling solutions are used by administrators (that’s you) to optimize course schedule offerings by taking into consideration the constraints of teaching faculty and the availability of campus space. Based on your room inventory and class rosters, these software solutions are able to automatically suggest the optimal allocation of your classes, maximizing for space efficiency. All this is done while accommodating the various policies and workloads of departments and faculty. 

Common benefits cited by users are the improved use of classroom space, internal process efficiencies, and better use of available time blocks.

Anticipated ROI from Couse Scheduling Software

Anticipated ROI for Course Scheduling Software, AACRAO Class Scheduling (aka Timetabling) Practices and Technology survey, page 12

With SECTION Class Scheduling, you can eliminate spreadsheet-based schedule planning processes and duplicate data entry. Access faculty teaching schedules and requests from a single dashboard that enables you to monitor and control the many section development steps often distributed across departments and offices, including planning, reviewing, scheduling, revising and confirming. This however, has little to do with degree planning.

What is a degree planning solution?

Degree planning solutions help students plan their degree and know what sequence of courses they need each semester to take in order to graduate on time. Some degree planners also include degree audit functionality, which gives a student visibility over their current academic standing and how it impacts their pathway to degree competition. These tools allow students and their advisors to keep students on track, while highlighting the remaining courses and the requirements needed to graduate.

What is the difference between course scheduling and degree planning? While course scheduling is focused on optimizing faculty and facility resources, degree planning is focused on helping students stay on track to achieve degree completion. 

Once students know which set of courses they need to take each semester, the next step becomes finding a working scheduling combination, given most courses have several to numerous class section options available. This is when a student scheduling solution is needed.

What is a student schedule solution?

Student schedule planning solutions are used by students and advisors to generate conflict-free schedule combinations that take into consideration academic and personal constraints. This is done by filtering preferences, pinning desired classes, and blocking out unavailable time slots. This simplifies the frustrating sequential trial and error approach to schedule planning and registration that Student Information Systems’ (SIS) currently offer by enabling students and advisors to easily visually navigate to an optimal schedule.

What is the difference between degree planning and student scheduling? While degree planning is able to provide students with audited course-level recommendations, student scheduling is able to provide section-level timetable combinations.

Many Registrars cite improved student experience, more punctual class registration, and improved degree completion as a reason for implementing a student scheduler. 

Table showing Anticipated ROI for Student Scheduling Software

Anticipated ROI for Student Scheduling Software, AACRAO Class Scheduling (aka Timetabling) Practices and Technology Survey, page 15

Check out REGISTER Student Scheduling to see how we’ve integrated catalog data and degree planning data into one easy solution that can be used to create conflictfree schedules for students. Furthermore, administrators (that’s you) can benefit by having visualized analytics that support course scheduling in SECTION by monitoring student search and enrollment activities including course supply and anticipated demand, common course conflicts, student persistence and enrollment heat maps. 

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