Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/15846
Appears in Collections:Computing Science and Mathematics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Towards improving the utilization of university teaching space
Authors: Beyrouthy, Camille
Burke, Edmund
Landa, Silva J Dario
McCollum, Barry
McMullan, Paul
Parkes, Andrew J
Contact Email: e.k.burke@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: course timetabling
multi-objective
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Citation: Beyrouthy C, Burke E, Landa Silva JD, McCollum B, McMullan P & Parkes AJ (2009) Towards improving the utilization of university teaching space, Journal of the Operational Research Society, 60 (1), pp. 130-143.
Abstract: There is a perception that teaching space in universities is a rather scarce resource. However, some studies have revealed that in many institutions it is actually chronically under-used. Often, rooms are occupied only half the time, and even when in use they are often only half full. This is usually measured by the ‘utilization' which is defined as the percentage of available ‘seat-hours' that are employed. Within real institutions, studies have shown that this utilization can often take values as low as 20-40%. One consequence of such a low level of utilization is that space managers are under pressure to make more efficient use of the available teaching space. However, better management is hampered because there does not appear to be a good understanding within space management (near-term planning) of why this happens. This is accompanied, within space planning (long-term planning) by a lack of expertise on how best to accommodate the expected low utilizations. This motivates our two main goals: (i) To understand the factors that drive down utilizations, (ii) To set up methods to provide better space planning. Here, we provide quantitative evidence that constraints arising from timetabling and location requirements easily have the potential to explain the low utilizations seen in reality. Furthermore, on considering the decision question ‘Can this given set of courses all be allocated in the available teaching space?' we find that the answer depends on the associated utilization in a way that exhibits threshold behaviour: There is a sharp division between regions in which the answer is ‘almost always yes' and those of ‘almost always no'. Through analysis and understanding of the space of potential solutions, our work suggests that better use of space within universities will come about through an understanding of the effects of timetabling constraints and when it is statistically likely that it will be possible for a set of courses to be allocated to a particular space. The results presented here provide a firm foundation for university managers to take decisions on how space should be managed and planned for more effectively. Our multicriteria approach and new methodology together provide new insight into the interaction between the course timetabling problem and the crucial issue of space planning.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/15846
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602523
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: University of Nottingham
Deputy Principal's Office
University of Nottingham
Queen's University Belfast
Queen's University Belfast
University of Nottingham

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Towards improving the utilization of university teaching space.pdf343.02 kBAdobe PDFUnder Embargo until 31/12/2999     Request a copy

Note: If any of the files in this item are currently embargoed, you can request a copy directly from the author by clicking the padlock icon above. However, this facility is dependant on the depositor still being contactable at their original email address.

This item is protected by original copyright



Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact library@stir.ac.uk providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.