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AptoNow case study: Improving timetable compactness and a student experience at a Go8 University

AptoNow recently partnered with a large Group of Eight (Go8) university to examine the compactness of individual student timetables across faculties. The client has over 40,000 student enrolments and generates more than $2bn in revenue.


Academic staff wanted to make student timetables more compact and attractive, particularly to get more students back onto campus post-COVID


AptoNow was approached by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) to develop novel analytical methods to assess the compactness of student timetables and to determine the feasibility of improving compactness for certain programs and faculties. Timetable compactness indicates the extent to which a student’s weekly class schedule is condensed to fewer days per week and fewer hours per day.


Timetable compactness has been a long-standing issue at the institution and had become more of a priority as the University tried to attract students back to campus after COVID. Internal research had identified that more compact timetables were desirable for both students and staff, but had previously been too challenging to achieve.


Our team developed an innovative Timetabling Compactness Index to identify key improvement opportunities


Using innovative data engineering and analysis techniques, AptoNow analysed a range of university datasets to develop several methods for measuring student timetable compactness. This included developing new metrics for assessing “compactness” in ways that mattered most to student and staff experience.


Our team used findings to develop a Timetabling Compactness Index which compared timetable performance across degree programmes, schools and faculties. This enabled us, together with the University’s Timetabling Manager, to identify best-performers and worst-performers in terms of student timetable compactness, and develop improvement priorities.


The new approach was strongly endorsed by the senior management of the University as a key tool to improve student experience


AptoNow’s groundbreaking approach and data insights were strongly endorsed by university management, and implementation of this new method is currently under discussion. Key considerations include where and how targeted interventions should be implemented and which key stakeholders could champion the intervention.


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