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Newsletter 2 Spring 2012

Timetabling at Edinburgh

The Future of Room Booking

Getting ‘in the know’

Preparations for ‘Go Live’

Project Update

The Future of Room Booking • Do you currently request rooms for events or meetings via EBIS Room Booking? • Do you currently request teaching rooms through a local ‘room gatekeeper’? • Do you request rooms from staff in the Timetabling Unit (formerly the Room Booking Unit), Library meeting suite, Old College, New College, Holyrood or Charles Stewart House?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these then the Shared Academic Timetabling project affects you. With effect from March 2012, the management of all teaching rooms and centrally-managed rooms will be moving to the new Timetabling application, Scientia Enterprise. This new system includes an on-line room booking tool called ‘Web Room Booking’, which will replace the current EBIS Room Booking system and other local systems currently used for booking teaching spaces. Not sure if the rooms you use are affected? The most up-to-date listing of rooms planned to be moved to the new system is on the Timetabling Wiki Which+Rooms The new application’s currently being configured and tested in preparation for the go-live in March 2012. You’ll be able to access the new Web Room Booking system via MyEd. What do you need to do? • Pop a note of the key dates in your diary so that you know when to switch over to the new system. • Any existing bookings that you’ve made will be transferred over to the new system, so no need for re-keying, but you may want to check your bookings in the new system. • The new system is straightforward to use, but you may find it useful to read through the on-line user guide when it’s launched in March, or even booking in for one of the short training sessions.

Key dates for your diary 19th-26th March – • EBIS Room Bookings taken offline to enable the migration of all existing bookings for 28th May onwards from EBIS Room Booking to the new system.

26th March – • New Web Room Booking goes live for bookings from 28th May. • EBIS Room Bookings re-opened to cover the booking period up to, and including, 27th May.

28th May – • New Web Room Booking becomes the sole online booking system. • EBIS Room booking system is retired.

T@Ed newsletter

Getting ‘in the know’ What Training Will Be Available? A variety of training is being offered to help staff get ‘in the know’ about the new timetabling system in preparation for the go-live.

Target users

What it covers




Planning & construction of the academic timetable

1 day


classroom session

Room Gatekeepers

Reviewing booking requests, approving, rejecting,


suggesting alternatives and allocating rooms to events

classroom session

General End-users

Submitting room requests for non-teaching or


ad-hoc events. Accessing on-line timetables

0.5 day

1 hour

When & Where? • Hands-on sessions will be in the training suites at the main library, George Square. • Presentation sessions will be held at a variety of locations across the University. • Provisional dates for training are 5th March to 12th April. Provisional locations & dates can be found on the Timetabling Wiki

How Do I Book? Attendees for the Timetabler & Room Gatekeeper training sessions have already been identified by Schools and Support Groups and will be contacted directly during January to book onto a suitable session. If you think you should be coming along then please get in touch with your School Administrator or Support Group rep. General End-User sessions will be bookable via MyEd on a first-come first-served basis. If these sessions over-subscribe then the project team will look to providing more sessions.

Any Other Training? On-line training materials and User Guides will be available for those unable to attend a training session or preferring to selfteach. These materials will be available on the Timetabling Unit website from March 2012.

Preparations for ‘Go-live’

Timetabling Unit Update

In the period since we introduced ourselves in the first issue

support which will provide all Schools and system users with

of T@Ed, we’ve been busy liaising closely with Schools to

a Timetabling Unit contact name who will act as the School’s

prepare the ground in readiness for the March 2012 launch

frontline support. This will enable all Timetabling Unit staff to

of the new timetabling system, Scientia Enterprise. The main

build an effective working support relationship by developing

focus has been on the collection of room, course event and

a detailed insight into the particular requirements and issues

system user-profile data – all of which are essential exercises

faced by each of their designated Schools. This schedule will

to help ensure the new system works effectively, efficiently and

be circulated during Feb 12.

delivers an improved timetabling experience for all concerned. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all Schools for their efforts (and patience!) in helping to ensure its completion.

Finally; we’re also busy revamping the Timetabling Unit’s website. Our aim is to make it the complete ‘one-stop-shop’ for all information relating to the timetabling process. There’ll

Initial Scientia Enterprise demonstrations have already been

be links to user guides, key dates and deadlines and a

given to key user forums and these will be followed-up by

comprehensive FAQ section. Please visit us at: http://www.

dedicated user training sessions during Feb and March 2012.

These sessions will be delivered by the Timetabling Unit

and we’d be delighted to have your feedback on ways of

(details in this newsletter’s dedicated training article) so we

improving our web service.

look forward to seeing some of you there.

Remember, 26th March 2012 is the ‘Go-Live’ date for the

A high level of support for Schools is essential during the

new timetabling system, but please don’t hesitate to contact

forthcoming trip into the brave new timetabling world, so

me, or any of the Timetabling Unit staff, if you want to discuss

we are currently drawing up a detailed schedule of ongoing

anything relating to the timetabling project.

sharing news about timetabling

Project Update

The project team has been working closely with supplier Scientia Ltd to install and configure the new timetabling application that will be installed on School Timetabling Coordinators’ machines. Initially, the software has been installed in a Development environment (DEV), and has been loaded with University of Edinburgh course data from the Student Record system and staff details from the Identity Management system (IDM). This is being used by IS Applications as a platform for integration with existing University systems, and initial performance testing. It has also been used to demo the Timetabling software to both the Technical and Business User groups. A separate training system (TRAIN) will be installed in time for user acceptance testing, and for user training in February. Work is on-going to design a resilient infrastructure for the final LIVE system with servers on 2 sites at King’s Buildings and Appleton Tower. There is also on-going work to design and build a daily overnight feed of data to pull across course information and staff details into the timetabling application. Work is taking place in conjunction with the supplier to enable the application to be accessed through users’ MyEd accounts without any additional passwords being needed. Users who only need to be able to book rooms do not require access to the full application, but instead use the Web Room Booking system (WRB). Similarly, staff and students viewing timetabling information can do this though another web interface, accessing the Scientia Web Server (SWS). The supplier has guided us through the standard configuration of both of these web interfaces so that they will have the look and feel of other University of Edinburgh systems. In parallel to this technical work – the project team is engaging with business users via the Business User group to deal with queries from business users and to complete

More info...


Join the mailing list To join the mailing list, please send your e-mail details to our Project Support Officer, Sarah Gormley (

Wiki To catch up on the latest news, visit:

the data collection activities. The data collection activity, in

Email the team

particular, will enable the project team to pre-load a significant

amount of course information into the system, giving schools a head-start when the system goes live in March.

Timetabling Unit

The Timetabling Policy has been approved by Curriculum

and Student Progression Committee, and this new policy will guide Timetabling activities in the future. The policy takes advantage of the timetabling software to introduce a variable lunch hour, allowing timetable constructors the tools to check that staff and students do not have timetabled activities across the full lunch time period. Note that this changes the times of the early afternoon teaching slots.

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T@Ed issue 2 spring 2012