Webinar: Scheduler, Part 2: Setting Scheduler Constraints and Building the Master Class Schedule

Tue Mar 10, 2020

In this webinar we'll cover setting Scheduler constraints and building the master class schedule.

Q&A

Q: Once the classes are copied to the next scheduling year, if there is need for an additional section of one course, is there a way to copy a current class so all the restrictions and configurations are already done?

  • Before getting into the Scheduler - you first need to copy classes and make sure we have a close to accurate picture of the sectioning for next year
  • The copy classes (scheduler user) procedure will bring over most data points other than the actual class schedule records. This would include grading period constraints that may have been set last year.
  • These section numbers will definitely change and that's fine
  • After you copy the classes, if you need to add an additional section - you may choose to copy a current class in Axiom
  • You will still need to make sure that we have an unique ID for each section - but the configuration is largely set.
  • For these new sections, you still would need to go into the scheduler to set the grading period constraints.

Q: What about teachers we know are not returning? Should we leave them on the classes or enter placeholder teachers?

  • There's no wrong answer to this question - given that we at least have a teacher assigned to the class.
  • I've always leaned towards leaving the former teacher on the class.
  • If you apply a placeholder teacher to the class - you can't just apply a single placeholder teacher to all of the sections currently assigned to someone who is leaving
  • If the scheduler sees the same teacher assigned to 25 classes - it won't be able to correctly schedule a chunk of those because their schedule is going to fill up quickly.
  • Leaving the former teacher, or applying multiple placeholder teachers to the classes is the way to go.

Q: I added a new hire but they aren't showing up in the scheduler, why?

  • The teachers displayed in the scheduler are filtered based on the School Level classification.
  • These classifications are generally automatically created based on the classes a person teaches. If they teach US courses, they'll automatically receive that classification.
  • Since this new hire you added has not taught any active classes just yet, we will need to make sure that we add the classification to them.
  • To add the classification, go to the classification tab and apply the appropriate school level classification.

Q: What fields can I update in Axiom and what fields should I update in the scheduler?

  • This is a common question that comes up with newer schools
  • Once you get in the scheduler, you notice that you can't batch update fields.
    • However, your person at Veracross is also telling you about the "Commit" function overwriting data back in Axiom...
  • To answer this question, look at the Find Classes query
    • The two fields that you can update in Axiom or the scheduler that are directly synced with what is in the scheduler is the "Teacher" and "Max Students" field.
      • Maybe you batch update the value first and then while in the scheduler you can adjust.
  • With that being said, class schedule records and class enrollment records are what is staged in the scheduler.
  • When you commit - if you were setting class schedule records in Axiom and in the Scheduler, the class schedule records in the scheduler would be kept and anything in Axiom would be deleted.

Q: Our MS and US run on different rotations. We have two different scheduler links. What is the best way to handle crossover teachers?

  • Really the best method would be to have either MS and US block off a set of times they want the teacher available for
  • The other school level would make sure those are checked as teacher constraints

Q: I already know when we should be running a number of classes - what is the best way to set those schedules?

  • If you've identified when classes meet already you may choose to go to the class schedule tab of the class record in the scheduler and add those items. That's fine.
  • The common statement I then hear from schools is "is there a way to add these schedule records in batch"
  • For example, what if you know a set of classes are meeting during block 1, another set is meeting during block 2...
  • You wouldn't want to jump from class to class setting the same block
  • If that's the case - you will want to use the Auto Schedule Block field
  • In Axiom, you can batch update this field for a number of class records
  • When that is set, you would then run the "Import YYYY Schedules" function to start off your scheduling process
  • Still make sure the constraints are set though! The constraints will allow you to schedule the rest of the classes.

Q: Is there any advantage to run multiple scenarios instead of making changes to the same scenario?

  • Yes, if you are using the Scheduler for the first time, I recommend using multiple scenarios.
  • Using Multiple Scenarios allows you to work with different sets of constraints.
  • Remember, when you are setting constraints, you are setting those on the scenario.
  • You can always adjust the constraints within the scenario and keep running different results to see how classes are scheduled - the problem is that if you keep adjusting the constraints to be super strict and then want to reverse those changes - you don't have the opportunity to just jump back to a previous set of constraints. You'd need to manually roll your constraints back.
  • For that reason, I generally will tell schools to "Copy the Scenario" before making significant changes to the constraints
  • There's really no harm in doing this - it gives you a spot to come back to.

User-Submitted Follow-Up Questions

Q: If I'm adding the School Level classifications for new hires, do we configure Start School Year / End School Year and/or Start Date / End Date? These are added/removed automatically based on classes being taught, as well.

  • Given the system procedures surrounding the addition/removal of School Level classifications - you do not have to populate the Start Year or End Year on a classification that is manually added.
  • You absolutely can, but in order to have the new hire included in the scheduler, we simply just need to see that the classification exists.

Q: Can we import all of these constraints? Or are they all set up manually?

  • There is currently not an import template for constraints at this time.
  • All constraints will need to be set in the scheduler manually

Q: I'm new to Veracross, what is a scenario?

  • A Scenario is what stores the set of constraints you have configured in the Scheduler
  • For the fundamental concepts surrounding scenarios, please reference this documentation article