spring

Fixing Broken University Class Scheduling

It’s 2019 and let’s face it, your academic scheduling process is not working. 

We know that academic class scheduling can be frustrating. 

Course scheduling in Excel, your SIS, or in a system that was built from an older vendor can lead to a ton of administrative manual work and problems with the schedule. 

To make things even worse, your faculty insist they teach at 2 PM on Monday & Wednesday and there's pretty much nothing you can do to stop them. Compound this with the fact that your institution has not performed a room optimization and is pretty much completely out of space, and you've got a university scheduling nightmare. 

Here's how to wake up and transform your scheduling in 2019: 

 

1. Give your class schedulers the tools they need to succeed

Traditionally, universities build the course schedule with Excel sheets or directly inside of SIS systems. 

The problem with this process is that department schedulers must remember time blocks, meeting patterns, instructor preferences, who is teaching and who is not, how to count credit hours, release hours, etc. Some departments may even use their own custom scheduling software programs to build the schedule and project course demand. This is before they have to incorporate all the institutional guidelines (for example: don't schedule all courses at 2 PM on Monday and Wednesday) and check to make sure they have not made any errors.  

Because department schedulers are left with so much to remember, and given only a simple Excel sheet to actually build the schedule - there is almost no chance of either 1) building an optimal, error-free schedule and 2) changing policy (how could I possibly remember another time block change!?)

A smart institution will provide departmental schedulers with academic scheduling software that they need to succeed. In turn, they will take a large administrative burden off of the Registrar's Office that is constantly enforcing and training departments about guidelines. 

Here at Coursedog, we make it easy for academic departments to build smarter, error-free, optimized schedules. We start by making it simple to assign instructors and class times. 

We provide departments with a lightning-fast web app that integrates directly with your institution's SIS to handle all of your scheduling. 

First you can allow departments to create custom rollovers, and even automatically rollover data based on your program requirements. 

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

 

 

Department schedulers can create customizable preference forms that can be sent out to faculty. This eliminates all of the manual work in emailing and meeting with professors to gather preferences. 

 

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

After departments send out forms, Coursedog will automatically identify the professors that could and could not be fits for the course.

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

 

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

 

Then, when departments schedule times, they get a dropdown of only the times that are associated with that class' meeting pattern. You can even configure the system so it pushes times that are the least used to the top - thereby helping departments make the needed 9 AM assignments! 

 

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

In addition to making it super simple to make instructor and time assignments, Coursedog contains useful analytics to project class demand and make smart class scheduling decisions. 

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

Along with eliminating inefficient inter-departmental communication to make sure that classes that students often need to take together are not overlapping.  

 

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

Perhaps most importantly, we make sure that the course schedule is completely conflict-free, and only allow departments to submit their class schedule once it is good to go based on institutional guidelines. You can set any customizable rules or workflows in the system: 

 

And perhaps more importantly, we'll make sure that when schedules are submitted - they are issue-free! No need to call up your Excel wizard or IT consultant. 

 

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

 

2. Automate your room scheduling and accommodate different stakeholders

In the last 20 years, AACRAO reports that a significant number of mid to large-sized institutions have adopted room optimizers to streamline the scheduling process and make the most use of finite space.  If you're using pen and paper, double booking rooms or allowing departments to figure it out themselves - you're inviting room scheduling errors, inefficiencies and unwanted politics. 

While optimizer and room scheduling platforms have a lot of promise, in reality, they seldom do what universities need them to. You might want to check out this scathing review of the status quo for room scheduling solutions - the author says that you are trading off systems that don't accommodate your unique needs vs. $45,000 "consultants"...

Coursedog is the first class scheduling platform to integrate end-to-end course scheduling with class and room scheduling and optimization. 

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

You can then allow departments to choose from available rooms, and sort it by the best fit based on space capacity and features. 

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

 

And then for centrally owned rooms (in the Registrar's Office or other), you get to have some fun. Run our room optimizer that automatically assigns courses to rooms based on the capacity of the class, features, preferences and more. Then just sit back and watch the show. 

academic scheduling, registrar, timeblock, course scheduling, optimization, course scheduler, class scheduler, room optimization, course optimization, scheduling platform, course scheduler software, scheduling software,registrar listserv, coursedog

 

As one SUNY Provost told us, "This is the way that scheduling should be."  

Read more about Coursedog at: https://www.coursedog.com/

Reach out to us at: abrillembourg@coursedog.com 

 

 

Recommended Articles
0 to 55 in 2 Years: How We’ve Scaled Coursedog to Better Serve Higher Ed
Three Best Practices for Course Scheduling in 2020
Why Classroom Scheduling Software for Higher Education is Dead
What's Next for the Student Information System?