The pandemic presented a unique opportunity for the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) to fully utilise the CELCAT Self-Service functionality, making it an essential asset for the team.
The University of the West of Scotland is a large, modern, multi-campus university with its origins dating back to 1897. The institution has four campuses across the west and southwest of Scotland, and one campus in central London.
UWS prides itself on career-focused teaching, world-leading research and an international outlook. Its forward-thinking approach to technology and innovation allows for the ultimate student and business experience.
With government guidelines limiting face to face interactions, UWS required an alternative solution to manual bookings via administrators. Thankfully, before Covid-19, they had invested time in setting up the foundations for CELCAT Self Service to thrive so,
with the groundwork already in place, all IT had left to do was import the student IDs. To make online room bookings through CELCAT Self-Service Portal (SSP) work, UWS knew they needed to migrate over to a centralised system. Booking spaces were being managed manually on campus and strict control of on-campus numbers was challenging for the staff working remotely. They were also aware, to ensure adherence to social distancing within the campus, that they needed to pay special attention to student entrances/exits and room layouts.
The pandemic helped speed up the implementation of the vision UWS had for CELCAT Self-Service and the platform was launched sooner than originally anticipated to enable the booking of spaces whilst ensuring minimum physical contact. The speedy deployment was a testament to the initiative of the UWS timetabling staff, along with the user-friendliness and ease of implementation of SSP.
It was decided that a hybrid approach to online and on-site teaching would be best to manage the university and the centralisation of room bookings guaranteed that access to the institution could be restricted to that which was deemed necessary.
UWS discussed at length which buildings and sections to make available for Self-Service and, through this practice, saved money on the heating, lighting, and cleaning of the estate.
Users believed their knowledge and use of CELCAT Room Booker made it easier to adapt to Self-Service, however they still remarked on how very straightforward it was to set up slots ready for student use. The drag and drop method in CELCAT Timetabler for creating appointments was particularly popular, along with identifying study spaces in layouts. UWS also deployed custom links to the app, to simplify the login procedure, and granted viewing access to specific staff to easily identify the number of people expected on campus.
Notes needed to be added to all the records to explain what type of space was available, which campus it was found in, and whereabouts it was located in the campus. Although this could have been done by bulk import, UWS decided to enter all the data manually to allow them to take extra care to ensure all the data could be as clearly understood as was possible.
To ensure students were informed of the new booking system, UWS published a how-to guide on YouTube that explained the process and altered the ‘read me’ link within the app to direct users to the video instructions. As it turned out, very few students needed this assistance.
As restrictions were lifted, UWS found themselves in need of tweaking the time slots and availability. They managed this by amending the fair usage quotas, which control how much time on campus students can book each week.
- Centralised room booking - great for booking study space on campus.
- Students adapted quickly to the new system with little fuss
- 3,364 bookings were made in the first 6 months of deployment