I hope everyone has had a great Christmas and New Year’s break and is now looking forward to the year ahead! I just want to start with saying thank you to everyone that has supported Education Space Consultancy over the last year, 2014 was an exciting first year for the company and I am really looking forward to all the possibilities 2015 will bring.
Over the coming year, I will be continuing to post a new article onto the Education Space Consultancy blog each week looking at space and timetabling management with the education sector. Before the end of 2014, I added a free Teaching Space Utilisation Data Analysis Tool that is available to all newsletter subscribers and will also be continuing to make further resources freely available to subscriber members over the coming months. There is also a fortnightly newsletter that includes Education Space Consultancy news and offers, recent blog posts as well some interesting sector news, links and resources. To subscribe – simply add your email address and click subscribe at the top of the web page.
With the end of 2014 now passed, this first blog post of 2015 is going to look at the top 5 blog posts of 2014, rated by popularity (visits). If you notice an article you haven’t read before and would like to have a look, click on the title and you will be sent straight there.
This article was the most popular article of 2014 and is a topic that I feel very passionately about as I believe communication is critical to the success of any project and can often make the difference between success and failure. During my time as the Timetabling and Space Manager at Swansea University (my previous position!), I really focussed on improving communication between my central department and all those effected by timetabling and space management in the University.
This really helped to build relationships and trust, with both academic and administrative staff becoming much more happy to share thoughts (positive and negative!) and ideas with the understanding that it was all being taken on board and their input would make a difference. I also used the communication channels to discuss my ideas, thoughts and possibilities with the end users and ensure that any “improvements” really were improvements and everyone understood why they were happening.
If you haven’t read this article and are interested in communication, take a look at my 7 communication tips and see what you think. If you have other communication methods that you find beneficial, please let others know by leaving a comment and the bottom of the article.
As if often the case, topics are more complicated than they first seem and I believe timetabling classes into suitable teaching spaces is certainly one of these. When I first started in the timetabling world (it’s a different world!) my initial thoughts and what I believe most other people thoughts also to be,were “How hard can it be, to timetable a class into the right room?”. For anyone that is involved in timetabling the answer can be and typically is – very hard.
The problem is that you aren’t just timetabling one class into one room, you are timetabling thousands of classes into 100’s of rooms and in many cases the information you have isn’t complete and/or doesn’t represent what is actually wanted. This article looks at 6 methods that will help to improve this and work towards the goal of timetabling the right class into the right room!
If you haven’t read this article and are interested in the world of timetabling, take a look at my 6 methods for ensuring classes are timetabled into suitable teaching spaces and see what you think. If you have other methods that you find beneficial, please let others know by leaving a comment and the bottom of the article.
I have found that department only teaching space is often viewed as a good practice…or a bad practice…depending on how department only teaching space effects you. From a space and timetabling perspective, it can amongst other things reduces potential demand and potentially increase pressure on other teaching rooms whilst from a student experience perspective a department only teaching space, can help the student to bond with the department and increase engagement either side of their timetabled activities in their department only teaching space.
This article considers the different pros and cons of department only teaching space to try and provide a resource that can be used to consider whether department only teaching space is suitable for your institution.
If you haven’t read this article and are interested in space management, take a look at the different pros and cons of department only teaching space. If you have other pros and cons that you feel should be mentioned, please let others know by leaving a comment at the bottom of the article.
Teaching Space Utilisation, perhaps unsurprisingly!, is another topic that I am very passionate about and a lot of my focus is put towards finding the best possible solutions for improving the utilisation of space for each client Education Space Consultancy works with. This article is the first in a series looking at teaching space utilisation data and how it can be used to highlight and improve areas of underutilisation within an education estate.
For every teaching space utilisation survey I carry out, I analyse the data using these 8 core techniques as this provides the key information I require to understand the space utilisation and evidence I require to begin further investigation of the causes and potential solutions for improving the utilisation or availability of teaching space.
If you haven’t read this article and are interested in teaching space utilisation, take a look at the different pros and cons of department only teaching space. Space utilisation is an ever evolving topic and I would be very happy to hear if you have any other techniques that you find useful and would like to share with everyone, please let me and others know by adding a comment at the bottom of the article.
I often research and think about furniture solutions, I’m sad to say it is a slight obsession. I believe the type of furniture, its design, functionality and layout, can really make the difference in a room and has very positive effects on the student experience and student/staff learning and moral. A lot of the services Education Space Consultancy offer, include room and furniture solutions/types/designs considerations in order to provide each client with actionable ideas for improving their space.
One teaching space furniture solution that I have been very impressed with, is the Top-Tec flip top desks. Most importantly they solve a problem, I have seen many institutions that have computer desks and traditional teaching tables in the same space with only one or the other ever in use at the same time. This is a huge waste of space and these flip top desks provide the solution enabling a space to be used both as a traditional teaching room and a PC room but only taking up half the space typically required.
If you have missed this article and are interested in furniture solutions, or currently have both computers and tables in the same space, this article may well be of interest to you so take a look. I am always interested in your thoughts, so please feel free to leave your comments at the bottom of the article it would be great to hear from you.
Those are the top 5 articles posted on the Education Space Consultancy blog in 2014, I hope you have found these and the remaining articles posted last year helpful and continue to find use from the articles that will be posted in 2015. I am always happy to hear from you if you have any thoughts, comments, ideas or questions so please don’t hesitate to leave your comments on this and other articles or by contacting me direct.
I hope you all have a great 2015 and I look forward to hopefully working with some of you as the year progresses.
All the best,