Study Planning Becomes Faster and More Modern
Faster, more efficient, and more accurate – this is how the new study process planning system at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) can be summed up. The programme has been implemented by the RSU Academic Affairs Department in cooperation with faculties and other departments at RSU.
Elīna Belecka, Project Manager of the Study Administration Unit, justifies the need for the new planning tool by the increase in the number of students at the University, which is now approaching 10,000. This means that the volume of events is also growing.
As Belecka explains, up until now, staff did the planning manually, entering each event and room by hand.
The new system will allow events to be planned and modelled automatically, reducing the time spent on planning.
Lecturers will be able to manage their work calendar more easily by setting their preferred time for study work. Students will learn about changes to the timetable more quickly and will be able to book a place for independent work in the future. There will also be other benefits that make studying easier.
Various criteria and parameters for the planning will be entered into the system to make the planning student-centred and based around lecturers’ availability.
For example, when the system should schedule lectures and classes for a particular study programme – every day of the week, on certain days of the week (e. g. Tuesdays and Thursdays), or only on the weekends. Based on the time of the lecture, the size of the group, and the availability of the lecturer, the system will find and book the room. It is important not only that events do not overlap, but also that the travel times are respected. For example, the system will calculate what time a lecture should start so that students can get from one RSU building to another.
Belecka explains that by reducing the time needed for planning, it will be possible to bring the planning closer to the beginning of the academic year, which will allow lecturers the ability to indicate their availability more accurately, while students will get a more accurate schedule of lectures and classes, which will be subject to fewer changes.
If it is necessary to make a change, you can easily find another period for the event in the system, as the calendar will show, suggest, and even signal which times are suitable with visual colouring.
It will also show which times are not available and which are possible but not desirable e.g., because they are late in the evening.
The new system will be available to lecturers and students in August this year. The autumn semester is already being planned, and this first year will be a pilot year to identify and address potential shortcomings. The main benefits will be that less time required for planning, there will be more flexibility to make changes, and overall this system will contribute to a more modern study environment at the University.