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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
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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 Instructors page (Academic Scheduling > Instructors). 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 link allows instructors to securely access the form without requiring a Coursedog account. However, instructors will need to come in through the integration as an instructor in Coursedog in order to 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 1: 

  • 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 2: Hit “+ New Form”.

Step 3: Fill out the information in the “Create a New Form or Copy an Existing Form” modal.

Step 4: 

  • Click “Create” to start building your form from scratch.

  • Click “Click to copy an existing form” if there’s an existing form you’d like to use as a starting point. 

Step 5: Input a “Welcome Message” under the form title, if desired.

Step 6: 

  • To add a question, simply click the type of question from the “Add Question” question bank on the left and watch it appear on your form.

  • The same question type can be added multiple times.

Step 7: 

  • To edit a question after it’s been added to your form, simply click into it. 

  • Question settings will appear on the left.

  • Question settings vary depending on the question type but can include: 

Question Setting

What It Does

Questions w/ 
This Setting

(Secondary Dropdown)

  • This gives you the ability to change the exact nature of the question.

  • See question breakdown below for details.

  • Time Preference

  • Room Preference

Is Required

  • Keep this toggled to the left (off) if you don’t want to require instructors to answer this question. 

  • Toggle to the right if you wish to make this a required question.

All questions

Has Description

  • Keep this toggled to the left (off) if you don’t want to add a question description. 

  • Toggle to the right if you wish to add a question description. 

All questions

Allow Multiple Selections

  • Keep this toggled off to only allow instructions to select one option. 

  • Toggle to the right to allow instructions to select more than one option. 


Edit Options

Use this to determine if you want to show all courses in the question or choose the courses that will be visible. 

  • Course Select

  • Preferred Courses

Use Timeblocks

  • Regardless of whether this is toggled on or off, faculty will have the ability to between custom and standard meeting patterns. 

  • If toggled to the left, the default view will show custom times. 

  • If toggled to the right, the default view will show standard meeting patterns.

  • Preferred Times

  • Conflict Times

Step 8: 

  • Type into the field to determine how this question appears to faculty. 

  • “Time Preference (Conflict Times)”, for example, could become “What times can you NOT teach?” 

Additional Note

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

Question Breakdown

Overview | Questions with a Downstream Impact | Course Select vs Preferred Courses 


  • The questions you choose to include in your form are vital to gathering valuable preferences.

  • 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 (Includes follow-up questions)

  2. Time Preferences 

  3. Room Preferences

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

  1. Text

  2. Yes No

  3. Multiple Choice (You define the choices)

  4. Dropdown

  5. Course Select (Includes follow-up questions)

Questions with a Downstream Impact

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.

  • This searches for the courses already in the schedule for the term the form is attached to rather than the entire course inventory.

  • Includes the ability to add follow-up questions. 


Preferred Times

  • The times an instructor prefers to teach.

Conflict Times

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

  • When scheduling instructors, it is essential to know when they are not available to teach. We can add a “Time Preference” question; set the question to “Conflict Times” and change the wording to, “What times can you NOT teach?”

  • 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 when editing a section (refer to this article for more details on section scheduling):

Preferred Meeting Length

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

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.

Interval Between Courses

The amount of time instructors want between courses.


Preferred Rooms

The rooms in which an instructor prefers to teach.

Preferred Room Features

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

  • Faculty will see a dropdown based on the room features your institution has created and can select multiple options.

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 Building

The building in which an instructor prefers to teach.

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. 

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 1 Click on “Share” in the top-right corner of the form builder. 

Step 2 (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 3: 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 4: If sharing via link, copy the link.

Step 5: 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 Academic Scheduling > Instructors (Left-Hand Nav) > (Select Individual)

Editing Preferences

PATH: Academic Scheduling > Instructors (Left-Hand Nav) > (Select Individual)


You can manually change an instructor’s preferences.

How To Do It

Step 1:  Navigate to Academic Scheduling > Instructors (Left-Hand Nav) > (Select Individual)

Step 2: Click the blue pencil icon next to "Instructor Preferences" in their profile.

Step 3: 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 1: Open the form you wish to copy.

Step 2: Hover over the listed term in the top left of the screen to see a “copy” icon appear.

Step 3: 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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