FRANCISCO TAFUR, CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER AT ISIL

“We have seen how a poorly designed timetable can increase student dropouts”
By improving timetable planning and classroom allocation, ISIL not only increased the average number of courses taken by students each semester, but teaching groups were also filled out, enabling optimization of teacher allocation and providing a saving on resources.

With over 12,000 students across its 4 campuses, the Instituto San Ignacio de Loyola (ISIL) in Peru offers 22 professional degrees and is the only institution in Peru to be approved by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA), part of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

During the first semester of 2015, ISIL embarked upon a journey of complete institutional transformation with the aim of improving their academic and student services offering. One of their objectives was to provide students with greater flexibility and tailoring of their timetables and academic workload in an effort to boost student commitment and lower dropout rates.

The Challenge

“We have seen how a poorly designed timetable can increase student dropouts, which is why directing resources towards improvement of timetabling options offered to our students was crucial,” explains Francisco Tafur, Chief Academic Officer at ISIL.

ISIL needed to offer more timetabling options to enable its students to progress efficiently with their degree programs.

Aware of the importance of keeping their students motivated and committed to their studies, ISIL took steps to ensure that they would be able to complete their degree programs within a reasonable time frame.

“Although our dropout rates were about average for education in Peru, we wanted to improve. We discovered that, when a student is unable to progress at their desired rhythm or at that which their ability permits, their potential to drop out increases.” ISIL therefore decided to conduct an exhaustive review of their timetable planning strategy with a view to offering a greater range of options to their students. To address the task, they brought uPlanner on board and in 2018 began implementation of uPlanning, an academic planning solution that provides support in the allocation of time slots, classrooms and teachers.

Work Carried Out

Based on data concerning the number of potential students per course, course enrolment for previous periods, the availability of classrooms and teachers, and a range of other factors, uPlanning’s algorithms succeeded in reducing the total number of teaching groups per course, increasing average group sizes. This resulted in more efficient use of classrooms and other available infrastructure, optimization of teacher allocation, and a subsequent reduction the institution’s operating costs.

In addition, by offering more compact timetables with fewer clashes, students were able to make more efficient use of their time, which improved their general educational experience and had a positive impact on student retention. Implementation of uPlanning also yielded a reduction in the average time spent moving between classrooms.

uPlanning achieved a reduction in the number of teaching groups per course and an increase in their average size, thus boosting efficiency in terms of classroom usage and teacher availability.

The Results

  • ISIL began to see results only one month after the implementation of uPlanning

    with the creation of a course schedule that was more suited to student needs.

  • “Not only are we using our space more efficiently,

    but we can see the benefits reflected in the service we provide to the student. The average number of courses taken by each student has increased from 6.1 to 6.3, so they are enrolling on more courses wherever possible, because their timetables offer a better fit for their needs. This is really important for us,” explains Tafur.

  • esides increasing the number of courses taken by each student,

    the number of students in each teaching group also went up by 6%, from 30.5 in the second semester of 2017 to 32.3 a year later. This resulted in a 12% increase (from 82.8% to 93.3%) in utilization of the institution’s total student capacity.

ISIL achieved a 19% increase in the total number of students per classroom, resulting in a 12% boost in income from enrolments.