Experiences with the Initial Pilot
The pilot application resulted in a very good matching of students to courses.
73% of the students were assigned to their first choice, 15% to their second and 4% to their third choice course. Only 6% were assigned randomly. The median rank the students were assigned to was 1.
57% of the students were assigned to their first choice, 14% to their second and 7% to their third choice seminar. Only 2% were assigned randomly. The median rank the students were assigned to was 1.
39% of the students were assigned to their first choice, 14% to their second and 14% to their third choice.
There was a huge and unexpected overdemand for course seats. For example, there was a 35% increase in the demand for proseminars. As a consequence, there was a need to arrange for a second matching round short-term. This caused additional e-mails and it came as a surprise to participants.
Students, who could not be matched to any of their preferences, were assigned randomly. This lead to the fact that students did not show up in the courses they were assigned to. Such students will not be matched randomly in the next pilot anymore.
The schedule for course organizers to submit their preferences was considered too short by two groups.
Several Bachelor students have stated preferences for Master courses or they signed up for courses, for which they did not have the necessary prerequisites. This caused suboptimal assignments (with the intent to make sure each student gets at least one course seat). In the future students will be asked to make sure that they satisfy the prerequisites of the courses. Otherwise, the course organizer can invalidate their registration.
With the help of an expert from the School of Management a survey was designed and sent to students and course organizers in November 2014 after the semester started, in order to get feedback for the second pilot. 322 out of 911 students responded and 49 out of 128 course organizers. The survey focused on open free-text questions to get broad feedback for the second pilot. The majority of participants preferred stable matching, but there were also participants who prefered first-come first-served (16% of the responding students and 24% (12 persons) of the responding course organizers). The survey allowed us to better understand concerns of participants. These are summarized in this FAQ. We hope that these concerns can be addressed in the second pilot. If there are additional issues that you want to have addressed, please send e-mail to email@example.com.
The stable matching system has been used to assign students to tutor groups successfully in various larger and smaller classes since 2012.
Several departments have similar problems in the course assignment. There are ongoing discussions with the CIO and the TUMonline team about possible integration of the matching software in TUMonline.