The current classroom assignment software runs on a local computer and is written in such a way that any enhancements were becoming a big issue. It was difficult to resolve competing demands for classroom space because not enough information was being collected from faculty. For example, faculty who wanted a classroom with a SMARTboard were not getting consistently assigned to an appropriate room. Therefore the resources required to make the assignments were significant.
Completed <May 2013>:
In collaboration with the Registrar’s office, we implemented a project to survey faculty regarding classroom needs and preferences and also to automate the assignment of classrooms. The goals for the initial project included (1) collecting more detailed information from faculty regarding classroom needs and preferences so that appropriate classroom assignments could be made when there are completing requests for the same classroom and (2) automating the classroom assignment process in order to reduce largely manual processes and the supporting MS Access database. Faculty and administrative assistants in the academic departments have been using a web based application (called “Senta”) for the past year and a half to submit department course schedules as well as express classroom preferences. This tool was enhanced to collect classroom technology and furnishing/ layout needs and preferences (in addition to specific building and room preferences).
Late in the spring semester of 2013, we implemented an algorithm that uses classroom preferences expressed by the faculty in the web application along with additional preferences such as the technologies. In addition, the software allows the Registrar’s office to make manual adjustments as needed and to review the overall results of the classroom assignment process. The new software is written to be extensible and easily modifiable and supported by LTS. The final run and manual adjustments were run in a much shorter time than before. Significant number of faculty were placed in a class of their preference and the Registrar’s Office was able to verify that their classroom assignment met their technology needs and layout preferences. All of the preference and placement data is centrally stored and will be reused where possible and most importantly, the data will help us inform what the needs are so we can respond accordingly.
Project Sponsor: Registrar's Office
LTS Contact: Carol Shanmugaratnam