Generating Efficiences in HE with Online Personal Exam Timetables



Each semester, UCD Assessment schedules around 1500 exams for almost 20,000 students in 5 exam locations (with capacity of up to 2900 seats). Prior to 2016, students accessed their exam timetable via a listing of all 1500 exams on the UCD website. When they got to the exam hall on the day of an exam, their seat number was posted on a board that listed the student IDs and seat numbers for all the students in the hall. This often led to considerable congestion and some confusion in exam halls with students milling around the boards trying to get their seat numbers.

The Project

The project, which was initiated by UCD Assessment and implemented jointly with them and IT Services, was to implement a personalised exam timetable for a student, accessible via the Student Web Portal and displaying each of the specific exams the student had to take, when they were taking place, where they were located, and the student’s exam number for each exam.

The project itself involved a small number of days development work for IT Services, along with a fairly significant amount of testing done by UCD Assessment, in order to ensure that the information being delivered was correct.

The Outcome

The report was released in time for Semester 1 2016/17 exams. Feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive. From a process viewpoint, the old methods of communicating exam details and numbers are still maintained, but Assessment staff say that there is considerable less confusion on exam days because most students have their exam number already. In addition, there has been a reduction in the number of students turning up at the wrong location on the wrong day.

The Learnings

The project is an example of a seemingly small initiative which yielded significant gains in terms of student experience and efficiency - giving students the personalised information rather than having them to search for it. The information needed to produce the report was readily available, the mechanism with which to deliver it was also already there – we were able to harness both these things to deliver the improvement with a minimum of effort.