What should an inclusive and student-centred timetable look like post-COVID-19?

Page, Nigel, Forster-Wilkins, Gary and Bonetzky, Mark (2021) What should an inclusive and student-centred timetable look like post-COVID-19? In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy; 29-30 Jun 2021, The Open University, U.K. (Held online). (Unpublished)


The student timetable is a major way by which students identify and interact with their learning environment, both in time and space, and can have a significant impact on their learning experience and levels of engagement. Widening participation has also encouraged students from a diverse range of backgrounds into university with more students commuting (many being Black and Minority Ethnic, BME), each having their own very distinct living and travel arrangements in getting to university. Our own research (from our School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry) has shown a strong negative correlation between travel time and ‘the timetable works efficiently for me’ (Question 16 of the National Student Survey) and demonstrated a London effect, where scores for Q16 are significantly lower in the capital. Such outcomes have the potential to disadvantage those students and institutions that have higher proportions of commuting students; and especially in larger cities, such as London. This is set against the fact that the majority of our commuting students are BME, many with journey times of between 30 to 180 minutes. Through questionnaires and focus groups, we identified a series of student barriers that inhibited attendance and from this developed a prioritized student- driven list of enablers to help improve timetable satisfaction. We found many of the enablers to be overarching independent of whether students were commuters or not and therefore amenable to the development of an all-inclusive timetabling strategy. Nonetheless, even with clearly defined enablers, there remain challenges in balancing the logistics of delivering significant numbers of diverse timetabled activities across a whole estate (with the additional potential to deliver perhaps more ‘off campus’ post-COVID-19). The COVID-19 pandemic has ‘temporarily’ reduced the need for most students to commute opening up new opportunities to review and experiment with online learning and teaching strategies. This workshop will explore with delegates what we feel an effective post-COVID-19 learning environment should look like by considering the interwoven relationship of not only the timetable and its constraints but also how this can be related to the teaching spaces available (whether physical or virtual), the concerns of commuting students; and the lessons learnt during the pandemic in creating more inclusive, flexible and blended learning environments for all.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page