September 22, 2019 | 69° F

Launch of new Rutgers course scheduling platform delayed until Spring 2020

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Interim Chancellor of Rutgers-New Brunswick Christopher J. Molloy said the new scheduling platform will help ease course-related transportation between campuses for students and better accommodate faculty schedules.

The new course scheduling software platform that the Office of Scheduling and Space Management has been working on has been delayed until the Spring 2020 semester, said Interim Chancellor of Rutgers—New Brunswick Christopher J. Molloy in a University-wide email last week.

The new scheduling system is an effort to address course-related travel and time-to-degree challenges students face at Rutgers, while also following the University’s physical master plan, Rutgers 2030 and University Strategic Plan, which call for addressing these issues and improving the student experience.

Molloy said in the email that the delay is to ensure adequate time to thoroughly analyze its Spring 2019 scheduling simulation results and make any needed adjustments for the subsequent semester, and allow the team to run a third simulation on the Fall 2019 semester.

Most recently, the Office has been collecting individual instructor availability and has continued to run simulations on the Spring 2019 schedule using the new platform, he said. In addition to compiling the responses, the scheduling office has also collected feedback from faculty.

“Now we are moving to implement the course scheduling platform, and we are being deliberate in this process so we can be sure to produce a scheduling system that is properly tested and works well for both students and faculty,” he said in the email.

Running the third simulation on the Fall 2019 semester schedule is expected to help the Office provide additional training on the platform, allow departments more time to modify course scheduling workflow and further ensure a smooth transition following the eventual launch, he said.

The platform, once launched, is also expected to help better accommodate faculty schedules along with students, he said.

“As you may know, this new scheduling system is part of a broader effort to improve our students’ educational experience and reduce both their course-related travel and their time-to-degree,” he said in the email.

Molloy said that changes based on information about student schedules have already been used to influence housing decisions in order to reduce travel time — a move he claimed has reduced bus congestion.

In another email sent in October about the scheduling software, Molloy discussed how modernizing the platform was first identified as an institutional priority by more than 400 faculty, staff, students, administrators, board members and alumni who led a University-wide strategic planning effort, the results of which were published in the 2014 University Strategic Plan.

Rutgers 2030 was released the following year and further emphasized the importance of adressing course-related travel issues, he said.

In 2015, Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi started a task force to further study transportation challenges on campus, which presented its findings in 2016 and notably called for the implementation of a “state-of-the-art” course scheduling software platform. 

Molloy said in the October email that, following those findings and since Fall 2017, an implementation team has been working with Infosilem, a software vendor, on integrating the project.

He concluded his email last week by thanking those working on the new platform.

“Finally, I’d like to thank the staff from the many offices working tirelessly on this important initiative, and the faculty who are assisting with the simulation and testing,” he said. “Together, they are providing yet another example of our collective commitment to continuing to improve our students’ Rutgers experience.”

Ryan Stiesi

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