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Steps to Scheduling

In order to provide an overview of the scheduling process, we present here an outline of the steps for creating a typical straightforward exam schedule. 


Gather Data

To create a new schedule, you need to obtain a copy of the student registration data for the semester. We
recommend storing this in your SchedEx folder (usually your Documents\SchedEx folder). Along with the
registration file, you should copy any other files such as a no-exam list into the folder. These should be ASCII
files with no extraneous characters.

Create a New Schedule

When you click the Create a New Schedule button above, you will be asked for the dates of your exam schedule
and the number of periods per day. Next, you'll be asked for the location of your student registration file and the
wizard will prompt you to identify the fields in the file.

Main Window

At this point you'll be at the main window. On the left side of the screen you'll see a list of Action Buttons that
correspond to the various steps of completing a schedule. As part of our LiveScheduling™ technology, each
action button provides "at-a-glance" information such as how many groups you've created or how many exams
have been scheduled. Keep an eye on this information to help you know what steps you've completed.

Grid Setup

The first thing you'll probably want to do after importing your registration data is to fine-tune your schedule grid

setup. Here you can mark periods or entire days as unusable, enter actual period start times, or set restrictions of such things as types of exams or number of students to be scheduled in any given period.

 

No-exams

If your student registration file includes classes that don't require a final exam, use this action button to identify
those that won't be assigned an exam time. You can use wildcards to select whole groups of exams, such as lab
courses, if your course ID is set up that way. You can also import a list created elsewhere.

Exam Types, Groups, and Diff-Periods

Schedule Expert® has a variety of ways to set up special conditions for your schedule. This includes classifying
exams into Types such as Day and Evening exams, specifying Same-Time Groups whose sections all have to
be scheduled at the same time, and also Diff-period Sets for sections or courses that have to be scheduled at
different times. Just click on the appropriate action button to start.

Restricting Exam Times

There are several ways you can limit exams to specific times: Exam Types, Time Restrictions, and Manual Time
Assignments.

Exam Types

With Exam Types you break your exams down into different types such as Day/Evening or
Graduate/Undergraduate and assign a one-letter code to each type. Then you can go to the Grid Setup
screen and limit certain types to certain time periods. This works best when you have large easy-to-
understand divisions of your exams.

Time Restrictions

Time Restrictions allow you to limit a single exam or same-time group to the exact periods when they can
be scheduled. It's as simple as clicking on the days or times that you want to exclude. If you use both
Exam Types and specific Time Restrictions, the automatic scheduler will limit the exam to the smaller of
the restrictions.

Manual Time Assignment

Although it is possible to assign a specific exam time prior to automatic scheduling, we recommend that
you use a Time Restriction instead. This makes it easier to keep track of your restriction, and gives the
Automatic Scheduler the most information to work with.

Automatic Time Assignment

Schedule Expert® includes a very powerful automatic time assignment module that will choose times for all the
exams. Because every schedule has tradeoffs, the automatic scheduler uses the idea of scheduling weights to
control the emphasis that the scheduler puts on situations like "3 exams per day" or "back-to-back exams".
When you arrive at the Auto Assign Times screen, you will specify a range of weights for the scheduler to
explore. When you click "OK" the scheduler will compute the tradeoffs for each combination of weights and,
when it's done, present you with a screen of many alternative schedules. This lets you see at a glance the
tradeoffs between direct conflicts, 3 exams per day, back-to-back exams, and so on. Clicking at the top of any
conflict column will sort it for you. After examining your scheduling alternatives, choose the schedule you prefer
and go on to examine any remaining conflicts and possibly fine-tune it.

Fine-tune

Once you've chosen a particular schedule from the various weight combinations, you may still want to adjust
some exam times. To make this as easy as possible, Schedule Expert®'s Auto Assign Times screen provides
an on-screen analysis of what will happen if you change an exam time. In the analysis grid, it shows you whether
direct conflicts would increase or decrease. There's also an option to show other statistics such as
increase/decrease 3 exams per day. The time you spend exploring this screen will be rewarded with the ability
to make changes to the schedule with complete confidence.

Publish Your Schedule

Use the Publish action button on the Main Screen to access the many different reports available and to publish
your final schedule. If you prefer, you can copy any report into your word processor and format it to your liking.

 

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