The University of Chichester
With an enviable record of quality teaching and student satisfaction, where all teachers research and all researchers teach, the University of Chichester is ranked 9th out of 119 universities for teaching by The Guardian League Tables (2017) and 3rd for student welfare, safety and security in the UK by the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey (2018).
Able to trace its heritage back to 1839, Chichester’s ongoing commitment to teaching and learning excellence has ensured that the University today is a thriving community which is based across two campus settings; Bishop Otter and Bognor Regis.
Featuring an inbuilt timetabling and room booking system, the University’s existing system lacked the ability to automatically publish timetabling data to student and staff calendars, meaning user uptake was low. Needing a solution that would not only automatically timetable sessions in users’ primary calendars they also wanted to incorporate additional rich features such as notifications and colour categorisation to expressly improve overall student experience and markedly increase user uptake.
Having reviewed CalSync literature some time previously, the opportunity finally came when the University could accurately assess CalSync’s benefits on student experience, and how by having timetables readily available via Office 365 student calendars, they could deliver a much-improved student experience.
CalSync - A Clear Leader
For the University CalSync stood out as the clear leader in terms of features provided versus cost. By installing CalSync they would also be able to integrate and work with any data source in the future comprising a date, start and end time.
Having worked previously with S2 Unified on other projects, together they had established a solid working relationship from where the University could successfully deliver the CalSync project.
Each University is different, both in terms of student services and how these services connect and communicate with each other, and how data is transferred between them. Chichester had certain unique requirements when integrating CalSync with their inherent timetabling system, but with S2 Unified’s help they were able to easily address each challenge and in the process make the implementation and testing procedure far more straightforward and efficient.
CalSync can connect to any input data source to retrieve staff, student, room and timetabling information.
A Positive Impact on Timetabling
Already the University has noticed an increased awareness of the University timetable amongst its student and staff community. For the future they plan to use CalSync for examinations once tracking is complete via their Attendance Management System.
CalSync ensures information in Outlook is accurate and up-to-date, making it easier to book/change student and colleague appointments.
Workload Impact & Benefits
One of the clear benefits felt by the University is on its staff, faculty administrators who were previously required to manually input all timetabled sessions into lecturers’ Office 365 calendars, a task which was both time consuming and required constant maintenance and changes to timetabled sessions. This was immediately addressed by the CalSync installation.
University students are now more aware and can access their timetables more effectively by simply downloading the Outlook App, students have continuous access to their individual timetable and are regularly updated and aware to any changes made to their sessions.
CalSync can publish multiple types of events using a selection of colours to represent corporate branding or activity, showing up in Outlook as categories, allowing the calendar owner to search, sort and filter.
“With S2 Unified assisting, we were able to install CalSync rapidly and to begin testing and sell the concept to senior University stakeholders. Overall the experience provided by S2 Unified exceeded our expectations.
We have a very good working relationship with S2 Unified. They are very aware of our infrastructure and have built a strong knowledgebase of University staff involved with the CalSync project, alongside University staff who are involved with other technologies that S2 Unified support.
As a staff member of IT I can’t say that my workload has been reduced, however what I can say is that it has made me think more holistically about how we manage timetabled sessions, and other non-academic sessions and how we can raise awareness about this using CalSync in the future.”
Haydn Tarr, IT Service Development Manager, The University of Chichester
All University project milestones have been completed and they have been operating CalSync for students and staff since September 2018. In the future the University of Chichester intends to investigate examination integration and other event categories.