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5. Assigning Meeting Patterns


5.1 Overview

Now that our sections have been assigned instructors, we can assign meeting times to our sections that align with our institution’s rules and our instructors’ preferences. You can manually assign meeting times, or you can leave it to the optimizer which will make the decision for you by taking all the rules and preferences into consideration. 


5.2 Assigning Meeting Patterns Manually

You can assign Meeting Patterns manually in the Section Editor. As with instructors, there are two ways of doing so.


Option 1: In the section dropdown, select the empty field under 'Days'

Option 2: Open the section editor. If you are creating a new section, this is what opens when you click '+ Section.' If the section already exists, you can hover over the section number and select the blue 'Open Section Editor' button. In the section editor, navigate to the 'Meeting Patterns & Rooms' card:


Before selecting a time, you need to decide whether you will be using a Standard Meeting Pattern (a standard timeblock defined by the administration) or whether you will assign a Custom timeblock. In most cases, we recommend using Standard Meeting Patterns to avoid warnings or violating rules. To toggle between Standard and Custom Meeting Patterns, you can click the blue stopwatch icon. 


To assign a Standard Meeting Pattern, select the blue '+ Meeting Pattern' button to open the meeting pattern modal. Inside the modal, Coursedog provides an interface to select from University-approved timeblocks. Users can filter by days or times at the top of the card or scroll through the list. Coursedog helps determine a preference fit that pushes to the top potential fits by incorporating instructor preferences and sorts the time-blocks with the same preference fit by showing you the least used time-blocks first. This naturally nudges folks to schedule more effectively, while pushing to the top the best fits to save time. 


To assign a Custom (Non-Standard) Meeting Pattern, you will simply input the days and times for the section.

 

Note: using Non-Standard Meeting Patterns may result in warnings or trigger workflows, depending on your University's 'Rules' settings. 


From the 'Meeting Patterns & Rooms' card, you may assign multiple meeting patterns with varying start and end dates. To do this, add multiple meeting patterns and then click the 'Set Dates' button. You will then be prompted to set start and end dates for each meeting pattern. These dates take precedence over all dates associated with the term they are being scheduled for, so note that if they are scheduled outside of the term or part of term they are associated with, this could potentially cause issues.


5.3 Assigning Meeting Patterns via the Optimizer

Instead of manually selecting times and dates for each section, you can leave that to the Coursedog schedule optimizer. The optimizer will automatically produce a schedule that satisfies all preferences and rules, if possible. In this course, we will show you how to set up your sections to prepare for the optimizer. The optimizer run is usually handled by an admin user, but if you want to learn how to run the optimizer, check out this detailed guide.


In order to have a successful optimizer run, you must have done the proper set up. Most of this was taken care of in the Section Configuration module. Anything that might affect when the section should be scheduled should be filled in - credit hours and section type are two important examples. 


Finally, make sure that you have ‘Optimize Times’ set to yes for any section you want to be scheduled by the optimizer (Note: if you do not see 'Optimize Times' as a field in the Section Editor, check in with your admin to make sure that they have added the pre-built 'Optimize Times' and 'Optimize Rooms' fields into their Section Template Forms). Sections that have been assigned manually or have ‘Optimize Times’ set to 'No' will not be assigned a meeting pattern by the optimizer.



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