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The Scheduling Assistant and how it became known as Troy-in-a-Bottle
JANUARY 2017 - How-To
One of the best and worst facets of the scheduling life cycle is that it only happens once a year. The good side of this coin is that it is such a grueling process, doing it all year every year is a somewhat unfathomable proposition. The downside of this is that when that time rolls around; when you've stepped away from it for a while, remembering every step along the way can get slippery.

This is where our Scheduler Checklist comes along. It's working name is Troy-in-a-Bottle because that is what a few of our client schools call it because they report that having access to the checklist is a little bit like having me, Troy, whispering in your ear what to do next. People say this somehow happens in a way that is not creepy or scary, but the people in the ofCourse offices have trouble accepting that.

One of our primary objectives in this service is to simplify as much of the scheduling administration as possible. We do this in a number of ways, but none are possibly as astute and straightforward as this 'go-flight' checklist. Every time you begin working on a new term, you get a new, unblemished checklist to reference. It is available on every and any screen you find yourself on. The entry point is below the upper navigation and above the lower navigation and reads 'Scheduler Checklist / Troy-in-a-bottle.' Click on the icon, and you will land right where you left off (for that semester/schedule at least).

Like the system itself, it is broken into steps, meaning every step in the administrative workflow has an accompanying checklist. Each checklist-item describes things to be done before moving to the next item. Just starting out? You will be reminded to get any new professors or courses added to the system. Or maybe you're ready to reach out to your faculty and ask for preferences. Then it will remind you to review the text of your outgoing mailer before pulling the trigger. Or maybe you're modeling your schedule; you will get a reminder to step through your faculty comments before heading into the polish mode.

As you finish each step, click the box and it will note you've completed it by turning the list item green. After you finish an entire section, it will even update the menu bar in the upper navigation to be green showing you where you are in the overall workflow (I'm not going to share how long it took me to get that little feature working).

I've yet to meet a schedule administrator that wasn't responsible for a dozen deliverables at a time. This is often the reason they are making the schedule in the first place because they have shown themselves to be someone who can get things done and there are few things at a school more critical than the timely and competent creation of their school schedule. But there are lots of small moving parts in the schedule-building process, and it is effortless and completely understandable that one of those little moving parts might get overlooked in the tumult of our time-challenged days. This is where the scheduler has your back and will give you that gentle reminder that now would be a great time to get your adjunct teaching times in place or mark which courses don't need classrooms this year.

Of course, someone has to remember all of this minutia. We're just saying it no longer has to be you.

As always, see you on the scheduling pitch.

Troy.
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