Look, don’t get me wrong, I love Web Publisher! It’s an effective way of producing lots of attractive looking online timetables with an easy-to-use indexing facility. Perform a Google search of CELCAT Web Publisher and you’ll quickly discover how popular it still is!
However, results from the National Student Survey (NSS) show that today’s students expect more from their education provider. Fundamentally I’m talking about a real-time personalised timetable that students can access from anywhere and on any device.
To meet this requirement, we developed a web app called Calendar which revolutionised the student experience for CELCAT users. Authenticating the student meant we could immediately display the correct individual timetable. System administrators could configure the web app to allow students to view module and room timetables too.
However, rather than using Calendar to serve all types of timetable, we found that we still had a considerable number of CELCAT users relying on Web Publisher for module, course and group timetables.
Why? Well, because in some situations total transparency of real-time timetables can prove to be a hinderance rather than a help. For example, imagine you’re a Timetable Manager for an institution that schedules termly. Likely, you don’t want staff and students in Term 1 to see what’s happening in Term 3 as it’s probably changing all the time and could cause frustration to those who assume the schedule to be sacrosanct.
Because Web Publisher produces static web pages and system administrators can control the publication of future and historic weeks, CELCAT users continued to see the Web Publisher tool as a perfect solution for serving prospective students with a baseline course and module timetable to help inform their work-life decisions outside of learning.
Consequently, this resulted in a hybrid solution for both types of student timetable - Web Publisher providing prospective students with high-level course, module and group timetables and Calendar serving personalised timetables for fully enrolled students.
Therefore, in an effort to simplify and reduce the number of systems to maintain, we’ve taken all the good stuff from Web Publisher and the original Calendar plus all the feature requests and developed the next gen Calendar product; imaginatively named ‘Calendar 2’!
Calendar 2 takes student timetables to a whole new level and is arguably the outstanding new feature of the CELCAT Timetabler v8 release in February 2018.
This blog would be many pages in length if I listed all the features but knowing you’re already a Web Publisher/Calendar fan (after all, you’ve kept with me up to this point), here are the highlights:
- Control the publication window; because not everyone timetables the whole year in advance!
- Support for a combination of different access modes
- unauthenticated (for prospective students visiting your website)
- authenticated, e.g. for support staff
- authenticated staff and student (for personalised timetables)
- Implement different browsing, appointment body, sidebar and exclusion profiles for each type of user
- Share calendars; by selected date, today or highlighted event
- Build and bookmark your own custom calendar view, e.g. select multiple modules to overlay the timetable with core, optional and electives
- Include active hyperlinks to external websites, email and other CELCAT web apps
- Brand Calendar 2 to your own house style
- Implement additional event colour coding schemes, e.g. site and faculty
- Fully mobile responsive
So, could Calendar 2 eventually call time on Web Publisher? Too early to say and we’ll be supporting that CELCAT ‘Old Faithful’ for some time yet. Suffice (it) to say that Calendar 2 includes many of the features of Web Publisher that users like, and it does everything the original Calendar did and much, much more!
So, I encourage you to get Calendar 2 in test now so come 2018/19, your students will be benefiting from our newest and best publication application to date!