As Total ReCal nears completion, we’re preparing to open the beta to our pilot group and I’m starting to throw together our promotional materials it’s time to start writing up bits and pieces of our analysis. Contrary to popular belief this isn’t an incredibly dry, boring process which will make you all want to cry but a chance to show you just how damn cool this is going to be, how it will make life easier, and how the work we’ve done can help other institutions up and down the country to drag themselves out of the mire of multiple calendaring systems. First in line: how Total ReCal will benefit students at the University of Lincoln.
In the past, students at Lincoln have used a wide variety of different systems to organise their lives. It’s not uncommon throughout the course of a year to have an induction/reinduction timetable, your academic timetable (which changes regularly), an exam timetable (or two), a list of assessment deadlines, a calendar of meetings with seminar groups or tutors, book due dates, club or society events you want to attend, guest lectures, skills training timetables, a list of gigs you want to see at the Engine Shed and a personal calendar on top of all that. With tens of different systems all trying to tell you when and where you need to be it’s far to easy to miss something or double book yourself. The consequences of mucking up your calendar can range from the mildly annoying through to putting your degree at risk.
Total ReCal (or, as we’re naming it for Lincoln, My Calendar) is the first step towards tidying up some of this mess by dragging as many of these systems as we can together into one. The benefits of this unification are readily apparent, when the University moved exam timetables from a single massive schedule into personal timetables the response was overwhelmingly positive. Even small reductions in the number of disparate systems which are required are welcomed with open arms by a student body who are increasingly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information they are presented with. The reasoning why is simple – it’s a lot harder to miss something important if everything is kept in one place.