Founded in 1995 and based in the heart of Central London, The London College of Beauty Therapy is the largest funded specialist college in beauty therapy, hair and media make-up, fitness and more. The college offers flexible courses with continuous enrolment onto courses happening all year round, with courses being held during the daytime, evenings and weekends.
The college engaged with EventMAP to investigate how software could be used within the higher education sector for curriculum planning and scheduling, could benefit the college in their daily timetabling activities.
Given the flexible nature of courses, with new courses starting each week and taking place at varying times each day, and as a college located in the centre of London, scheduling courses and finding space for associated activities to take place in of the required type for the course proves to be a challenging task for the college daily. The LCBT wanted the development of features within the software to support creation of curriculum structures for groups of students from importable and customisable course templates or “schemes of work”. This was to include improved user interface specifically for scheduling these types of vocational courses, and the automation to schedule events and allocate rooms based on an ideal ordering pattern for the events in the course.
EventMAP initially provided the Event software and training for the college’s timetable team. From this exercise, the company was able to derive the key objectives of the college from implementing a new timetable system. EventMAP undertook modelling work on behalf of the college as a proof of concept, which was then presented to members of the timetabling team with the steps taken to schedule course timetables. EventMAP designed and implemented features within the software which supported upload of the college’s course templates and creation of course delivery “groups” from these templates, which could be edited before creation. These “schemes of work” laid out the structure for the course being undertaken by a new group of students joining the college, i.e. the events and topics that would be covered on the course, typical days on which the course took place and an order for events to take place in based on the module/qualification requirements. Each of these was designed to improve the process of manually scheduling which had previously been very laborious and time consuming.
EventMAP then developed an automated scheduling feature to further decrease the time taken to create and schedule course timetables. This automation also finds available rooms as it attempts to place the events, one by one, into available timeslots.
Additional flexibility was provided with the Integration of “Moodle” in order for the college to publish created timetables from Event direct to students, as new timetables are created as often as each day, and existing timetables are changed or updated just as regularly, an automatic, timed solution was therefore needed. A solution was developed to facilitate an export of timetables, configurable to the college’s needs, to HTML on a nightly basis, to allow these timetables to be published to a shared directory within the college infrastructure, which were in turn transferred to Moodle by the college.
After delivery of the new software solution the college moved from a very manual scheduling process to a more streamlined, semi-automated approach which was suited to their needs. The added integration with Moodle meant that publication of timetables directly from the software had improved the college processes greatly and improved the students’ satisfaction with the curriculum delivery.