Academic scheduling is a challenge, with many pieces to fit into a good course schedule design. While course scheduling templates and programs can help, the final result often comes down to manually moving pieces around to find the best fit. With the visual sandbox method, you use Teamup as a visual schedule builder that lets you drag-and-drop elements to build an optimized academic schedule. Once you’re ready, export the results to plug into your institution’s scheduling program.
The need for a visual schedule builder
At many educational institutions, from K12 schools to graduate-level university programs, the process of academic scheduling is like a high-stakes game of Tetris. There are a lot of tricky pieces that have to fit together in course schedule design. Departments have certain priorities and often want to schedule courses only in peak daytime hours. Instructors have their own set of preferences. Students are juggling real lives as well as a course load, so they need class options that work with their other responsibilities. Plus there are the institutional guidelines and requirements to consider, which can invalidate a carefully constructed class schedule.
Department schedulers are tasked with making it all fit together. Often, all they have to work with are spreadsheets and outdated scheduling systems. While academic scheduling software and internal student information systems may be a necessary part of the class scheduling process, they’re often inefficient and don’t provide a clear visualization of the schedule as it comes together.
This is where Teamup can be helpful, a visual schedule builder to make academic planning easier and more efficient.
Teamup as a tool for academic scheduling
Here are a few ways Teamup can help fill in the gaps and bring more efficiency to academic scheduling:
1. Color-coded visualization of curriculum: Each element can be assigned to a color-coded sub-calendar, so it’s easy to distinguish between departments, courses, locations, instructors, etc. and find the best way to bring the right pieces together.
2. Drag-and-drop rescheduling: Experiment with different scheduling options effortlessly with the drag-and-drop feature, moving courses and events around the calendar to find the best fit.
4. Data export for integration: Fine-tune the course schedule design to perfection, then export to CSV to integrate with your institution’s main course scheduling system. Data export saves time and minimizes data entry errors.
5. Automatically prevent double-booking: Prevent scheduling conflicts from making it to the live calendar: set any sub-calendar to disallow overlapping events so conflicting events are not permitted.
A real-life story: How Teamup fits into the scheduling process
Jean Welker, MA, is an Education Program Specialist at UMass Chan Medical School. She explained how they use Teamup to assist with course schedule design:
I use the calendars as the first piece of my work in developing the class schedules for our medical school curriculum. It started out very basic with just working out dates/times/session titles, but over time we realized how functional the calendars are if we would increase the level of our plan. The most recent bump in our plan is because we have our IT department working to automate the process of loading our curriculum from Teamup into the calendaring system that the students use. Until this automated process is complete, I manually export what we create from Teamup, re-configure it in an excel sheet to the format required for the calendaring software, and then upload small amounts of data at a time.
They use Teamup as a type of sandbox, or playground, for academic scheduling.
When it’s time to schedule classes for the upcoming semester, Jean uses Teamup to move pieces around until they all fit together. Then, once the schedule is in place, it’s checked and finalized and ready to be put into the SIS. The planning, done on a Teamup calendar, is separated from the live academic calendar. There’s no risk of messing up the current class schedule or releasing information to students before it’s ready. And Teamup provides a clear visual of how things can fit together, with easy functionality like drag-and-drop, copy and duplicate, and recurrence rules that make the scheduling process easier. You can save the work you’ve done in Teamup to use as a course scheduling template for future semesters.
Try out a live demo calendar yourself to see all of Teamup’s features and play around with the possibilities. Academic scheduling is a big, complex job; with Teamup, you can create a visual scheduling sandbox that simplifies the process.