New timetable system designed for clarity

Published 23 September 2008

calendar.jpgThe University of New England is making it easier for students to find out when and where their classes will be held.

The University’s new timetable system, which goes “live” on the UNE Web site today, uses simpler terminology than the previous system and is easier to navigate around.

“I was looking for a system that was clear, simple, and easy to follow,” said Julie Fookes, UNE’s Timetable Coordinator. “Although nobody had reported having problems with the previous system (in place since 2005), we carried out a survey about a month ago and discovered that some things were being misinterpreted.”

Ms Fookes said that the new system avoided confusion by adopting the same terminology for teaching periods as that used by the academic staff – for example, “Semester 1 Week 1 (S1.1)”, and “April Residential School Week 2 (R2.2)”.

Unit and course timetables for students, teaching timetables for lecturers, and schedules for regular and “ad hoc” room bookings all use the same new terminology and “help” features.

Among those features are questions that students are most likely to ask – in the way they are most likely to ask them. For example, by clicking on the newly-included question “Where are my classes?” at the top of a unit timetable, students arrive at a new help page leading to a clearly marked map. By clicking on “When are my classes?” they go to a calendar showing the days and times of the specified classes. On a page presenting the bookings for a particular room during a teaching week, the questions “When is the booking?” and “Where is the room?” lead, respectively, to a calendar and a map.

Another new feature of the system is the insertion of a UNE banner at the top of every page to help prospective students keep track of the university Web site they are visiting. To the right of the banner is a direct link to the “AskUNE” site for answers to all timetable questions. A reminder to check for timetable updates has been moved from the bottom of pages to a more prominent position near the top.

To reach the timetable pages, click on “Information for: Current students” at the left of the UNE Home Page, and then scroll down the “Information for Current Students” page to “Timetables”.