Improving MIT's Scheduling System

Published in MIT News on January 22, 2015, by Jo Flessner-Filzen, Associate Registrar, Office of the Registrar

New system provides flexibility for timetabling, student scheduling, final-exam scheduling, and event scheduling at the Institute.

Improving MIT's scheduling systemWith the September publication of MIT's fall 2014 final-exam schedule, the first phase of the project to implement a new scheduling system – UniTime, an open-source system developed by Purdue University – was successfully completed. This complex project was designed to replace aging technology, originally developed in the late 1960s, and to substantially expand the functionality and flexibility of our scheduling processes. The system supports four components: timetabling, or the process of generating a class schedule for each term; student scheduling; final-exam scheduling; and event scheduling, which supports community use of classrooms that are managed by the Office of the Registrar.

The focus of the first phase of the project was to eliminate our dependence on a dated algorithm for classroom scheduling and to meet emerging pedagogical needs. More specifically, it:

  • allows us to define different instructional periods – a critical feature in terms of accurately scheduling subjects that are taught for less than a full term. With modularity becoming more prevalent in the curriculum, our ability to support faculty innovation in the delivery of subject content has been greatly enhanced by the new system.
  • integrates scheduling with the curricular-review process, thereby substantially improving the accuracy of the Online Subject Listing and Schedule...

Read the complete MIT News Article