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7. Setting up Rooms

7.1 Overview

An accurate room inventory is a key element of Coursedog. Every Coursedog assignment will use this information to determine appropriate locations for activities scheduled within the application. Success with the application, therefore, depends on the configuration and organization of your room data.

Certain data elements must be established before rooms can be fully utilized. These data elements determine options that are available for selection when adding and editing room records. They include Room Types, Features and Room Custom Fields. If you are importing room records during your initial implementation from a file or from your SIS, these fields, if included, are automatically added to the database and will be available for use. Otherwise, you must manually configure these lists to meet the needs of your institution.

7.2 Centralized vs. De-Centralized Scheduling

The first question to ask before you read more of this page is: "How do you manage room scheduling - do you schedule rooms centrally or do you distribute the scheduling of rooms to departments or colleges within your institution?" Coursedog allows for the successful enforcement of either method through the use of configurations that enforces your rules automatically based on those configuration settings.

View of a room in the Coursedog Scheduling platform.

This article discusses how to optimally configure your rooms for ownership and assignment in Class Scheduling. While we try to cover all scenarios, each institution is different so your room configuration may require some - but not all - of these settings.

The first concept to discuss is room availability. When a scheduler edits or creates their department's schedule, do they assign rooms? If they are expected to select rooms, what rooms do they see? The place this begins in the Rooms area on the left-hand navigation.

7.3 Using Room Release Filters to Prioritize Room Scheduling

When you select Rooms on the left-side navigation bar, you will see one of the below under the "Rooms" header in blue text.

If the text says, "Click to release rooms," this means your rooms are locked. So, when a scheduler enters the Section Editor to assign a room to a section, this is what they will see:

Coursedog will display "No rooms found" when the rooms are locked from assignment.

If you see the text, "Rooms have been released for assignment. Click to edit or lock rooms." under the Rooms heading, this indicates some or all of the rooms are released for scheduling.

In either case, when you click on the blue text to edit room release, Coursedog presents you the modal you see below. You have the option to release rooms based on criteria. "Department Rooms" releases rooms that are owned by departments, as defined by the Departments field for that room. "All" releases all rooms and "None" locks all the rooms.

In the example above, we are releasing rooms to departments based on the Attribute of "Pre-Assigned." You can also release on Room Type - meaning you can release Labs before Lecture halls, etc. Let's dig into these settings at the room level itself and how they impact room release.

Note that if you wish to ensure visibility for ALL rooms you must select 'None' under 'Select Room Filter Type.' Otherwise, if you have any item selected under 'Select Room Filter Type' Coursedog will treat this as an empty filter value and not release any rooms.

7.4 Using Room Settings to configure Room Attributes and Restrict Access to Rooms

Every room has a number of settings available. The settings we want to review include our "Room Attributes" and "Allowed Sections." In the example below, we see an attribute we created called "Pre-Assigned," indicating this is a room where we intend to allow a previously determined assignment. This attribute allows us to release these rooms at a different time than other rooms when we unlock the rooms.

Additionally, notice the "Allowed Sections" area. There are a number of conditions available to help you determine which criteria you want to use for restricting access to rooms. This room - "MH200" - is currently only available to ANY section whose Course Code contains Accounting or Economics.

When a scheduler attempts to schedule sections whose Course Code does NOT contain either Accounting or Economics, this room will not appear in the list of available rooms.

When trying to limit a room to a particular department, the Allowed Sections must be used. Adding a department to the Department field will not restrict the room to a particular department, and instead is used with the Room Release functionality. 

Room Release and configuration of the room attributes area or Allowed Sections are a great way to manage rooms in a decentralized way. However, these settings can also be used as tools to help a centralized scheduling team manage rooms.

Within Room Settings, if 'Exclude from Optimizer' is set to 'Yes,' the room is only available for manual scheduling. If 'Online Space' is set to 'Yes,' then the room will be recorded for tracking purposes (it will be taken out of optimizer, etc.).

Additionally, 'Effective Start Date' and 'Effective End Date' will define when the room will show up ion Results (i.e. if a section takes place outside of these dates, the room will not be assigned to the section).

7.5 Using Field Options to Control Room Assignment

Coursedog also gives you the ability the restrict access to scheduling rooms so rooms can only be selected based on a role or a term. Let's go the Field Options area under "Settings" found in the left-hand navigation bar as shown in the screenshot below. The default view is the "Section Template" which is where we want to begin making edits to the configuration.

Scroll down to where you have the "Meeting Patterns & Rooms" card. Click on the gear icon.

This brings up the "Meeting Patterns Advanced Settings" modal. If you scroll down to the row labeled "Times Room" you can see we have the ability to make some changes to how these fields are edited using Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).

The Coursedog Super Admin natively has the ability to make changes to the RBAC settings for this field. The choices you have are: 'Make the field Editable' and 'Make the field Editable by terms.'

Make the Field Editable: When making changes to this field, note that only the role listed in this field can make room assignments in the Section Editor. If this box is marked "Editable" but no roles are selected, this means any account that can edit sections will be able to make room assignments. In the example above, only the Coursedog Super Admin can make room assignments.

Make the Field Editable by Terms: When making changes to this field, note that only the term listed in this field is eligible for room assignments in the Section Editor. If this box is marked "Editable" but no terms are selected, this means any term with open, editable sections will be able to make room assignments. In the example above, only the Spring 2021 term allows room assignments.

Here are some additional solution articles you might need to reference when making and testing these configuration changes:

7.6 Editing Rooms

You can edit rooms from the same page that you view them. Note that if the field options are not listed as 'Editable' on the Room Template, you will not be able to edit and the room details will appear as follows:

To fix this, go to Settings > Field Options:

Select 'Room Template', click any fields that were not editable in Rooms, and check the box under 'Editable.' You may also decide which roles will be able to edit room forms in the field below the editable check box. 

After checking making each field 'editable' each room’s form should look like this:

In Class Scheduling, Rooms and Buildings have a 'Blocked Out Times' tab which allows users to define the times when a room or building is not available for scheduling. If a user is assigning rooms to a section, and that section's time overlaps with a room's blocked out times, that room will not show up in the list of available rooms. 

Additionally, a 'Room Blocked Out Time Conflict' and 'Building Blocked Out Time Conflict' rule can be turned on to see if any sections with existing room assignments violate the block out time restrictions: 

Currently, there is not functionality to mass update room settings within the UI. For example, reducing the room capacity for all rooms across the board to accommodate distancing requirements. To achieve this, Coursedog recommends the update be made in the SIS which will then push to the UI. Alternatively, a CSV upload could be utilized.

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