Booking system, Østfold University College, gibbs AS, appointment booking, project, Efficient resource allocation
A digital timetable planner fully automates the distribution of resources in the school

It is important to allocate the right classroom type and size with the necessary equipment to each subject and teacher, and to do this in an efficient and fair way. Traditionally, these resources are distributed manually today, which is very time-consuming and challenging to optimise. Together with Østfold University College (SimFredrikstad), Gibbs AS has initiated a project to create a digital timetable planner where we develop an algorithm that distributes classrooms and teaching resources automatically according to the teachers' wishes and needs. Based on Gibb's award-nominated fully automatic season booking system for sports halls, SimFredrikstad now develops a timetable planner that creates a draft timetable in seconds. An algorithm-driven matchmaker between teachers, classrooms and equipment ensures that the teachers' wishes are taken care of in an objectively good way and that classrooms and teaching resources get consistent, high utilization.

Collect data and distribution parameters

In the first step, we must collect data and parameters that can be used to decide which teachers/applicants are to be prioritized. This can be up to 10 different factors, among other things one factor can be the type of teaching, another the number of students/pupils in the subject.

Teachers fill in a digital form with wishes for their teaching

Here we open up the possibility for teachers to apply for the desired time for teaching, classrooms and equipment via a digital application form. Here they specify a number of wishes, for example when they want to teach, which classrooms they want and what kind of equipment they need, etc.

The distribution manager gets total control

The data from the application form will be visualized in a clear calendar. Here, the person responsible for the distribution will not have to use Word or Excel. Everything goes directly into the calendar and is made ready to run the algorithm. In 0.8 seconds, a proposal for distribution will be generated. Work that previously took several weeks can now be reduced to a few hours.

Advantages of Gibbs timetable planner?

An automated allocation process will provide many benefits for both teachers and those responsible for the distribution of resources. Here are some of the benefits:

    • Effective time management: An automated allocation process will save time and effort that would otherwise be spent on manual tasks related to classrooms and equipment distribution.
    • Reduced liability: By using an algorithm, the responsibility for assigning classrooms and equipment will be distributed in a more objective way, and this can lead to less conflict and stress among those responsible for the distribution.
    • Better data-driven decision-making: With an automated allocation process, you can have access to data about the use of classrooms and equipment, which can help make decisions about how to allocate resources in a more efficient way.
    • Increased accuracy: An algorithm will follow a set process and will thus make fewer mistakes than a manual allocation of classrooms and equipment.
    • Better communication with the teachers: By using an automated allocation process, you can communicate more effectively with teachers and give them a clear understanding of how the allocation process works and what factors are taken into account.

What challenges is it with automated resource distribution?

Although an automated allocation process can provide many benefits, there may also be some challenges to consider. These are some of the ones we have considered:

    • The quality of data: Automated allocation processes will depend on the quality of the data used in the algorithm. Bad data can lead to errors in allocation
    • In order to develop a good algorithm for the allocation of classrooms and equipment, one will have to assess and define several parameters that must be taken into account. This may require some investigation and adaptation of the system.

Overall, an automated allocation process can provide the allocator with a more efficient and accurate way to allocate resources, which can help improve workflow and collaboration between allocators and teachers. Best of all, teachers will have the right classrooms and equipment they need to do their jobs in the best possible way.

We look forward to the solution being fully developed by April 2023. Follow along on the journey and get in touch if you want to know more about the project!

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