How It Works

  • Using the new scheduling software and the capabilities it provides, Enrolment Services will now find both the times and rooms for all course sections.
  • In order to properly schedule course sections, specific information must be provided by all departments:
    • Course Combination form: Minerva form used to block of courses that need to be conflict free for each term in each year of every program.
    • Course Constraints form: Specifications for each schedule type (for example: conference, lab, etc.) with relevant constraints, for example, a constraint indicating that a lab needs to be scheduled in the afternoon to allow time for set-up.
    • Department Unavailability form: Academic Units need to provide us with information regarding Department meetings and any other academic unit activity which are known before March in order to ensure that course sections are not scheduled during the time of a academic unit activity.
    • Instructor Unavailability form: Instructors complete and submit their unavailability forms online directly via Minerva. This information is vital in ensuring that courses are scheduled on the days / times when instructors are available to teach.
    • Click here to access all forms.
  • In addition to the above information, the following priorities and attributes are incorporated into the scheduling system:
    • Pavilion: The first pavilion priority for each department is their own pavilion.
    • Room Characteristics: A comprehensive list of equipment and attributes is assigned to each room available for course scheduling (maximum of 3).
    • Room type: Every available room is categorized by type to help match appropriate size and types of courses with the appropriate type of room.
    • Room Capacity: The size of every room is determined to match the appropriate class size of the scheduled course section.
  • The software takes into account the course section constraints, course combinations, department and instructor unavailability, pavilion priority, room characteristics, room type, room capacity and maximum enrolment of the course section. The objective is to create a well functioning schedule taking all of these factors into consideration for each course section.
  • When a high number of constraints must be taken into account in the system, there is likewise less flexibility, and therefore, there will be greater difficulty in scheduling course sections.

THE "HUMAN" FACTOR

There is a great deal of computation involved in the scheduling process. The scheduling software must take into consideration an extremely complex set of variables and a great number of constraints. However, all of the constraints, attributes, preferences and so forth, are entered by the Scheduling Team, to help assure that the scheduling software creates a practical schedule.

The Team works closely with the academic units to understand and incorporate the pedagogical and unique needs that may exist so that the scheduling process is approximately responsive. Finally, the Team factors in other important needs and information that individual academic units may not be aware of such as inter- or multi-disciplinary program scheduling needs or the availability of interesting instructional space.