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Urgent Modelling for Crisis Prevention

Posted by Mosaic Space

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The University was conscious of a rapidly-approaching crisis: it was two months before the teaching year started, and they had just realised that it was impossible to schedule all planned lectures into available theatres in Semester 2.

What could be done? What were the options the University could reasonably consider?

To answer those questions, Mosaic Space was engaged to provide guidance. Within a very short timeframe we constructed a teaching and teaching space model that enabled us to test a range of possible variations that considered the effects of:

  • Teaching Days: extending the teaching week into the weekend
  • Teaching Hours: extending the teaching week into earlier or later timeslots on particular days
  • Ending the practice of keeping a “Common Lunch Hour” for all students and staff
  • Ignoring preferences for teaching in particular precincts on the campus

The target room frequency and seat occupancy could also be adjusted to test the impact of higher-intensity scheduling. Assumptions could also be altered with respect to the proportion of classes that would “shift” to a flipped classroom teaching methodology and what the maximum size of flipped classes might be.

The model permitted adjustment of enrolment growth rates at University, Commencing / Continuing students, Discipline and Year Level. Modelling could be done on any week of the teaching year, and the busiest week was calculated in both semesters, and based on enrolment growth predictions, for both number of classes and number of students taught.

All available lecture theatres were included, as were various possible accommodation solutions: temporary structures, nearby off-campus facilities, and the use of video-links to create several ‘larger’ lecture spaces from a combination of smaller rooms.

Once the model was created, we ran 49 different scenarios before identifying jointly with University staff the two options to present to university senior management to enable an informed choice of the best resolution of the problem.

Crisis averted!

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