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INSTRUCTORS: Gathering Faculty Preferences

Table of Contents

How Preference Forms Work
Associating Preference Forms with a Department
Creating a New Preference Form
Question Breakdown
Global Preferences vs. Course-Specific Preferences
Sharing the Form
Completing Preference Forms
Viewing Responses
Editing Preferences
Copying a Preference Form for a New Term
Preference Forms Permissions


You no longer need to sort through emails from faculty requesting times and rooms for their sections because Coursedog automates this process. Preferences can be collected through preference forms or directly edited within the Section Editor (Instructors Tab). These preferences can be used to streamline manual or optimizer assignments.

How Preference Forms Work

Coursedog Preference forms are online web forms used to collect Instructor preferences. These forms are built by administrators or department schedulers and sent out via a share link. This share link allows instructors to securely access the form without requiring a Coursedog account. However, instructors must first be added to the Coursedog system before they can submit preferences. 

Associating Preference Forms with a Department

Preference forms can be associated with a specific department. If the Math department creates a preference form, for example, by default the form will only allow Math Instructors to submit preferences using that form. It is suggested to segment out forms by the department, thereby limiting the number of responses each form receives, making it easier to review. However, you can also create forms that allow all instructors in the institution to submit preferences. 

Creating a New Preference Form

Before you can gather preferences, you will first need to build a custom form that matches the needs for your department and/or institution. 

Step One: 

  • Go to Academic Scheduling > Preference Forms

  • Here you will be able to see any forms that you have used, are recommended, or that someone at your institution created.

  • Coursedog comes with a couple recommended templates to help get you started, but proceed to step two to create a new one.

Step Two: Hit “+ New Form”.

Step Three: Fill out the information in the “Create a New Form or Copy an Existing Form” modal.

Step Four: Click “Create” to open.

Step Five: Input a “Welcome Message” under the form title, if desired.

Step Six: 

  1. Review questions in the “preference form builder”. 

  2. A breakdown of the questions is below.

Step Seven: To add a question, simply select the type of question from the question bank on the left and watch it appear in your form to make additi

Step Eight: 

  • Click into the questions on your form to edit it. 

  • Editing options will appear on the left.

  • See “Conflict Times” below for an example of how to edit a question. 

Additional Note

You will not need to “save” your preference form; that is done automatically.

Question Breakdown

Overview | Question Types | Course Select vs Preferred Courses | Conflict Times


The questions you choose to include in your form are vital to gathering valuable preferences. Question types with a downstream functional impact on time and room assignments are outlined in the below table.

Preference Type


Preferred Courses

The courses an instructor prefers to teach.

Preferred Times

The times an instructor prefers to teach.

Conflict Times

A time an instructor can’t teach or is unavailable.

Preferred Meeting Length

The length of the meeting pattern that an instructor prefers to teach.

Time Interval Between Courses

The amount of time instructors want between courses.

Back to Back Courses

If instructors wish to teach back to back, they can specify how many back to back courses they want, and if these courses should be in the same room.

Preferred Rooms

The rooms in which an instructor prefers to teach.

Preferred Building

The building in which an instructor prefers to teach.

Preferred Room Type

The room type in which an instructor prefers to teach. An example would be “Seminar room”.

Preferred Room Capacity

The capacity of a room in which an instructor prefers to teach.

Preferred Room Features

The features of a room in which an instructor prefers to teach.

Question Types

There are three types of questions that allow the Coursedog algorithm to provide recommendations during the scheduling process. These question types will notify you when assigning an instructor if they are a good fit based on their responses:

  1. Preferred Courses

  2. Time Preferences

  3. Room Preferences

On the flip side, the following questions simply provide information for your reference:

  1. Course Select

  2. Dropdown

  3. Multiple Choice

  4. Yes No

  5. Text 

Course Select vs Preferred Courses

The difference between Course Select and Preferred Courses is that when assigning an instructor the latter will notify you if  they are a good fit. If Preference questions are embedded under a Course Select question, they will not be captured in the faculty member's profile or impact time or room assignment recommendations. 

Conflict Times

When scheduling instructors, it is essential to know when they are not available to teach. We can add a “Time Preferences” question and ask instructors, “What times can you NOT teach?”

In the settings on the left, we set the question to “Conflict Times” which means a conflict will arise if you try to schedule a teacher during a time they cannot teach. We will also make the question required by switching the “Is Required” knob to blue. This way, you can ensure that any conflicts will be taken care of before the schedule is submitted. 

If an instructor indicates a conflict time, here’s how that will appear in the instructor selection modal within the Section Editor (refer to this article for more details on section scheduling):

Global Preferences vs. Course-Specific Preferences

Overview | Global Preferences | Course-Specific Preferences


Preferences can either be global or course-specific. 

Global Preferences

  1. Global preferences impact scheduling recommendations for all courses the faculty member is assigned to.

  2. Global preferences are not embedded below any question.

  3. Conflict Times are stored globally.

Course-Specific Preferences

  1. Course-specific preferences impact scheduling recommendations for preferred courses, as demonstrated below.

  2. Capturing course-specific preferences is done by asking “follow-up” questions below the Preferred Course question.

  3. Preferred Times are captured for a specific course.

Sharing the Form

Once a form has been built, it can be shared with instructors. 

Step One: Click on “Share” in the top-right corner of the form builder. 

Step Two (OPTIONAL): 

  • Set a password for the form, if desired.

  • If you set a password for the form, instructors will need to enter the password before they can fill out the form.

Step Three: Click on the “Create Link” button.

  • This will create a secure share link for the form.

  • You can also choose to “make it private”, which would require instructors to be logged in to view the form. 

Step Four: If sharing via link, copy the link.

Step Five: Send the link to instructors.

Completing Preference Forms

  • Instructors can complete the form right in their browser and the results will automatically be recorded in the system.

  • Our system will automatically save a draft of the responses on every edit, but it will not submit the form until the instructor has clicked the “Submit” button at the bottom of the page.

  • Users with the "Instructor" role can log in to the preference form directly via the Instructor Dashboard. Instructors will be able to fill in, edit ("edit Response") and submit within the dashboard. 

Viewing Responses

Responses can be accessed right within the form by clicking “Responses” at the top right, where you can see responses for each instructor that has filled out the form. Below is an example of a form response. There is also a CSV report that is built automatically to view all responses together.

You will also see that each individual’s preferences are updated in their instructor profile, which you can view at Section Editor > “Instructors" tab > (Select Individual). 

Editing Preferences

PATH: Academic Scheduling > Section Editor > “Instructors” tab > (Select Individual)


You can manually change an instructor’s preferences.

How To Do It

Step One: Navigate to Academic Scheduling > Section Editor > “Instructors” tab > (Select Individual) 

Step Two: Click the blue pencil icon next to "Instructor Preferences" in their profile.

Step Three: Inside of the instructor preferences view, users can edit a variety of preferences.

Copying a Preference Form for a New Term

Viewing Forms for a Specific Term

Preference forms are term-specific. If you would like to view the forms associated with a given term, navigate to “Preference Forms”. If the term you want to view isn’t already displayed, click the listed term name to change it. 

Copying An Existing Form

Step One: Open the form you wish to copy.

Step Two: Hover over the listed term in the top left of the screen to see a “copy” icon appear.

Step Three: Click on the “copy” icon. You may now select which term you would like to copy the form to, select relevant Departments for the form, and re-name the form if desired.

Preference Forms Permissions

The ability to view, add, and edit preference forms will depend on the role permissions for any given role. The super admin can grant users access to forms on a role-by-role basis. This can be done under Settings > Roles > (Desired Role) > Preference Forms

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