From attendance to graduation – unifying every stage of university exam planning with Optime Scheduling Cloud
EventMAP Senior Developer Michael Alexander looks at two great features of Optime Scheduling Cloud that will have exam planners everywhere wondering ‘where have you been all my life?’
EventMAP’s new family of Optime Scheduling Cloud applications has just been released and includes two great new modules that expand the functionality of EXAM, our examination scheduling application. The end result of considerable research and testing with existing EXAM users, Collect and Ceremonies will make the lives of timetabling departments everywhere easier with their powerful scheduling and data management features, presented within Optime Scheduling Cloud’s intuitive and easy-to-use user interface.
Introducing Collect: Data Gathering and Attendance Monitoring for EXAM
Collect streamlines the process of gathering examination scheduling requirements by enabling timetablers to create questionnaires of two distinct types: invigilator availability and departmental scheduling requirements. Invigilator availability gives invigilation staff the opportunity to specify the times at which they are available or unavailable for performing exam invigilation. Departmental scheduling requirements allows for the elicitation of many types of scheduling requirements for exams from departmental leaders – including the ordering of specific exams, stationery and narration requirements. Collect makes life easier not only for your timetabling staff, but for your exam invigilators and departmental leaders too.
But here’s where Collect gets really smart: when a timetabler approves each staff member’s responses to any questionnaire, those responses are automatically transformed into scheduling constraints and saved for use by EXAM. This means that whenever you next run the auto-scheduler, or work on the schedule manually, your staff members’ requirements will be automatically met.
Another very useful part of Collect’s feature set is examination attendance marking – enabling the digital marking of exam session attendance by their assigned invigilators. Invigilators simply sign in using a mobile device such as an iPad, and tap on students’ names to mark them as present. They may also leave comments on student records to make note of things such as a student leaving early. Entering attendance data digitally like this lets timetabling staff make huge time savings compared to processing data captured with traditional pen and paper methods. And, with Collect’s open and simple API, your data can be automatically fed into your university’s student information system.
Ceremonies: Finally… an integrated graduation ceremony planning app.
The second of our new apps is called Ceremonies. Ceremonies handles every aspect of the planning of your institution’s graduation ceremonies – from guest ticket allocation to graduate seat planning. It can also work as a standalone app if required.
With Ceremonies, users can specify allocation rules for graduation ceremonies which allow control over which students should appear in which ceremony. So, for example, they may choose all students graduating from a particular department with a specified qualification. Then users can define grouping rules that allow students to be grouped by any of their properties for the seating plan – for example, choosing to seat all MEng graduates together and all BEng graduates together. Once students have been assigned, the organiser can send out emailed data requests to all students to elicit whether they plan to attend and the number of guest tickets they would like to request.
Within Ceremony’s seating plan section, users can define seating blocks and assign rules to individual seats, for example, keeping a seat free, or skipping entire rows. From there, a quick click of the ‘allocate’ button creates an automatically generated, easy-to-export seating plan.
We worked closely with users to design Ceremony’s feature-set and user interface, ensuring it has everything universities need to organise a graduation ceremony quickly and painlessly/
You can find out more about Optime Scheduling Cloud here. But I’d definitely recommend you get in touch to arrange a demonstration – trying for yourself is the best way to find out just how easy to manage and effective your university’s planning, resource management and timetabling could be.
Michael Alexander, Senior Developer