Visual

Classroom Scheduler

 

                              V3.3

USER MANUAL

 

 

 

Visual Scheduling Systems Pty Ltd

 


 

 

 

Visual

Classroom Scheduler

 

 

 

USER MANUAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                          

Visual Scheduling Systems

51 Carinya Road, Picnic Point,

Sydney NSW 2213, Australia

TEL +(612) 9792 7021

FAX +(612) 9772 3092

 

 

                                                           

                                   
Copyright Notice

Visual Scheduling Systems Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication or the software itself may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language in any form by any means without the written permission of Visual Scheduling Systems Pty Ltd, 51 Carinya Road Picnic Point Sydney NSW 2213 Australia +(612) 9792 7021.

 

Terms and Conditions

The information in this manual has been carefully checked and is believed to be accurate. However, Visual Scheduling Systems assumes no responsibility for any inaccuracies that may be contained therein. In the interests of continued product development, Visual Scheduling Systems reserves the right to make improvements in this manual and the products it describes, at any time, without notice or obligation. Information on the latest product developments for the Visual Classroom Scheduler are available from Visual Scheduling Systems. Please call or write for information.

 

Disclaimer

The interpretation of the displays, results, listings or indicators given by the Visual Classroom Scheduler is entirely at the discretion and risk of the purchaser and user. In no event will Visual Scheduling Systems, its management, staff or distributors be liable for direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages resulting from any defect or omission in this manual, or the products described, or helpful suggestions given, even if advised of the possibilities of such damage. Trademarks such as IBM, Excel, are the property of their respective companies or owners.

The Visual Classroom Scheduler needs an IBM compatible Pentium, Windows or Mac OS10 personal computer.


Table of Contents                        Page

1.       Introduction.. 2

How can the Visual Classroom Scheduler help you?. 2

Benefits. 3

How is it different?. 4

2.       Installation.. 5

3.       Before You Start.... 14

The MENU - how can it help me?. 14

File. 16

Edit 21

View.. 30

Colors. 36

Help. 41

Exit 43

4.       Hints and Tips.. 44

File. 45

Edit 51

View.. 66

Colors. 73

5.       Step-by-Step Exercises.. 78

Situation  1 - What it will teach you. 79

Starting from WINDOWS. 80

Different Ways to View the Timetable. 92

Background. 95

Add/Move. 96

Random.. 96

More Color Options. 98

Situation 2. 100

Recommended Setup Method. 112

6    Appendix.. 114

VCS Training Courses. 114

Teaching Budget, Salary And Part Time Costs. 116

7    Conclusion.. 118


 

1.  Introduction

Congratulations on your purchase of the Visual Classroom Scheduler!

How can the Visual Classroom Scheduler help you?

 

The Visual Classroom Scheduler aims to provide:

 

.           A simple solution to schedule/timetable design problems.

 

.           Relief from time consuming effort and not altogether satisfactory results.

 

.           A package effective enough to resolve timetabling worries    arising from day to day problems such as sickness,      maintenance problems and minor emergencies.

 

.           Visual information and a wide range of reports to help          manage valuable resources.

 

.           Confidence that the schedules made will work from day one and deliver expected outcomes with a minimum of fuss.


Benefits

 

The Visual Classroom Scheduler delivers:

 

          Faster schedule/timetable design with less rework caused by double bookings, over commitments and under utilisation of resources.

 

          Increased satisfaction of Teachers / Instructors, Students, Senior Head Teachers / Instructors and administration staff where timetables are clear and easy to update, swaps are easy to arrange and each person can have their own printed copy or access to view  their timetable on screen.

 

          Lower costs where teacher / instructor hours can be easily balanced between appropriate teachers / instructors, incorrect subject or room allocations corrected and room usage maximised to allow allocation of extra classes.

 

          Less student confusion and improved satisfaction along with higher student retention rates. Each student can be issued with their own printed group timetable in their first week of term. The best facilities are more readily available, and classes arranged to compress attendance days and reduce room changes to a minimum. 

 

          Improved budget and productivity performance as VCS on-screen statistics and unique reporting features promote productivity and performance improvements.

How is it different?

 

The Visual Classroom Scheduler is a schedule/timetable design tool, not just a data collection and reporting tool.

 

It clearly shows scheduling opportunities and clashes during schedule design. It speeds up the whole process dramatically without unnecessary double bookings, or under/over commitments.

 

It is a tool effective enough to continually help solve day to day problems such as:

 

    Finding available rooms for new courses

    Deciding suitable/available teacher or instructor absence/replacement;

    One off room usage needs;

    Preparing accurate teacher / instructor time sheets;

    Advising students of class times and arranging staff meetings.

 

The Visual Classroom Scheduler saves effort for the designer, produces a better result, and can also provide information to a variety of interested groups.

Some quotes from clients who have used the system include;

    "A perfect solution with some excellent timesaving features."

    "For minimising data entry, the Visual Classroom Scheduler is second to none!"

    "The planner is superb on this package."


2.  Installation

 

Our first step today will be installing the program onto our computers from the VSS web-site or from CD.

 

 

1.              Please follow the instructions at the VSS web site at http://www.vss.com.au. or on the CD pack.

2.              When you have down loaded or located the VCSinstall.exe file and double clicked on it the installation screen below will appear.

 

 

 

 

Click [Next] to contine

 

 


 

Please follow the prompts and accept all questions, license agreements and default suggestions.

 

The installation includes the java environment or “JVM”, the VCS program, help files, demo file and sample .txt masterfiles for courses, subjects, rooms and instructors.

 

 

 

Click [Next] to contine

The installation normally loads program files to the Windows Program Files directory – unless you choose otherwise.

 

 

Click [Next] to contine

 

 

 


 

The default program group is Visual Classroom Scheduler.

 

 

 

Click [Next] to contine


 

Now all the choices have been made the installation can begin.

 

 

Click [Next] to contine


 

Demo and masterfiles are copied to the C:\VSS directory.

 

 


 

VCS has been successfully installed.

 

 

Installation Complete click [Finish]


 

To start the Visual Classroom Scheduler:

 

Click on the Windows [Start] button at the bottom left side of the screen.

 

Select [Programs] and a list of available programs will appear.

 

Select [Visual Classroom Scheduler] and click on the [VCS] tab.

 

The VCS program will now begin to load and after a few seconds the VCS splash screen below will appear.

 

 

A few more seconds later the main VCS screen will appear.

 

If you are using the demo program, the demo file will automatically load. 


3.  Before You Start...

The MENU - how can it help me?

The menu bar is displayed at the top of the screen. It provides

 you with a selection of functions:

 

Each function allows access to a pull-down menu.

 


How do I use the MENU?

To access the menu functions, press [ALT and the character] , or use your mouse to click on the menu you wish to select. This will display a pull down list of functions.

These functions can also be selected by typing the character in brackets, or again using the mouse.

Selections can also be made with the arrow direction key highlighting the function required and pressing Enter.

 


What are the Functions on the MENU?

File

These functions allow you to create brand new schedules (files), open existing schedules, save schedules to disk, print to a printer or disk file, and exit the Visual Classroom Scheduler.

 


The File menu contains the following functions:

New                     creates a brand new schedule file. This function presents you with a blank grid on your screen with the name UNTITLED.VSS as the file name. The program invites you to give the new file a new name. The new file name will then be shown in the top left side of the screen.

Open                   opens an existing .vss data file. Data files can be merged using the Visual 1000 and 3000 models by simply opening the next file. Also opens tab-delimited text files exported or saved from VCS.

Save                    saves the schedule to disk.  The Visual Classroom Scheduler will prompt you to save the data file when changes have been detected. Current screen settings are also saved for re-display next time. 

Save As               saves a schedule to a new file name or as a text file. You can duplicate an existing schedule to a new name and modify one version whilst keeping the other unchanged.

Write Back         Campus models V1000 and V3000 can recreate merged and updated section files. This function writes files to be given back to sections after consolidation and adjustments for clashes and priorities at Campus level.

Remove              allows removal of a section's activities from the Campus file. Typically prior to re-merging of new activities from that section. Old records cluttering the display can also be removed prior to week n.

Print                    prints the schedule to a local or LAN printer, or to a disk file for later reading and printing by your word processor / Internet browser. Several types of print can be selected here - eg timetables,  timetable listings, one page prints and reprints and view prints. Also Costed Summary reports on total schedule teaching hours, SCH, overtime, class sizes and matching room capacities is available. Use the [no border] option for higher speed on Postscript laser printers.

Export                 provides for the down

                             loading of VSS data to a "TAB delimited" text file readily accepted by spreadsheet and database programs. See Hints and Tips for further details and instructions. A new weekly spreadsheet shows hours per week and Teaching budget totals and costs.


Import                 this function reads in or opens "TAB delimited" text files originally “exported” from VCS. This allows update in a spreadsheet and return to VCS.

EXit                     allows exit back to Windows. Requests update of schedule details to file if changes have been detected.


Edit

These functions allow you to edit or CHANGE a schedule by adding, deleting, moving, and copying information within the schedule or searching for specific details.

The default is Update mode (the safest).

 


The Edit menu contains the following functions:

Add                     enters a new activity onto an existing timetable. Enter details such as the room name, teachers or instructors name, class name, subject, day and start and finish times.  Entry details are optional – leave some blank and “update” them later  - or use drag and drop to allocate. The dialog will continue to restart for a new entry until [Cancel] is selected.

                            NB. You can quickly input multiple resources from masterfiles. This can be found under the FastEntry on this Menu.

(U)pdate             allows correction or changes to existing activities or row names in the schedule in all model sizes.

                            Just click on the activity to update. Or drag and drop to a new row name or day. Safer than “copy” or “delete” mode so VCS defaults to ‘update” .

 

(M)ove                moves information within the schedule. This allows you to "click, drag and drop" activities and move them. Whilst working in this mode the moved activity can appear in a new color to allow you to see what you've changed.        A suitable color for added or moved schedules is Blue. This color change can be selected through the Color menu, using Add/Move.

Copy                   duplicates activities or rows within the schedule. Using this function allows quick duplication of information down or across a timetable, saving time on repeated input.

                            To reverse the copy in progress, simply press ESC whilst holding your finger down on the mouse button.

 


 

Delete                 deletes activities or rows within the schedule using the mouse to identify activities to be deleted.

                            Only works in “All Weeks” view to avoid mistakes.

Search                 searches for information within the whole schedule. Highlights the activites by colour or blimking etc..

FastEntry           allows you to input multiple resource names eg 10 teachers or instructors,  5 rooms etc, one after the other - and speeds up the whole data entry process. Also has an [mf] button to obtain names and details from text masterfiles in your C:\VSS directory.  The masterfile setup details are on the web site at http://www.vss.com.au/masterfile.asp

 


 

SEttings                Settings that can be modified include:

 

 

 


Expected Normal Teaching Hours / week

            Used to calculate any excess after the time given.

After hours Teacher/Instructor Overtime rate

            Insert a value to suit your Campus. eg

250 = 25% loading after 5:30pm and Saturdays. (Ask VCS to make options for your teaching award)

Target Room Utilisation.

            Used to calculate percentage actual room usage vs a selectable target room usage, eg 50 hours/week .

12 or 24 Hour Format

            Displays and prints times in the format selected. 12 shows AM and PM, 24 shows army time eg 13:20.

Default Starting Semester Week Number

            Choose a starting week for classes from the calendar icon and then click [Set Week] or type the week number into the box.

Default End Semester Week Number

            Type the number for the last logical week of semester eg 18 or 20. This saves typing the same week numbers over and over when adding classes.

Default Starting Calendar Week Number

            Choose the starting week for the year from the calendar icon and click [Set Week] to align VCS week numbers with your local calendar.

Term Breaks

            Input start and end calendar weeks of the term breaks. Normal semester class activities will not occur in these weeks. However, if you schedule activities using those week numbers, eg Summer school, your  activities will be shown and counted.

Public Holidays

            Input calendar week number and day when holiday occurs. Activities will not be shown or counted there unless scheduled using that week and day number.

Display and Print Options

O - Show Calendar Week (Wk # on display and prints)

O – Show Semester Week (Good for schedulers)

O – Show Date display (Best - date + semester week # )

 

Bookings            

                            Highly recommended to have this as your default.

                            Bookings is a point and click reservation (booking) system.

                            Click on the grid where you want a class and VCS prompts for booking details at the point clicked. It also defaults the day and resource name selected.

                            Note – uses :”update” mode and so any activity clicked begins the update prompts for that activity. Note that weeks used are in accord with week number or "all" on the screen.

                            Handy function to have on all the time.

 


Typical “update” or “booking” dialog.

Note fields are optional except start and finish time, day and begin and end week.

[mf] buttons access text masterfiles in the C:\VSS directory for each name. Update your own details in these files.

 

 

 View

 

This menu allows you to look at your schedule in four different ways.

All views are integrated with all other views!

You can view rooms, teachers / instructors, subjects or classes. You can also change the time span or the number of levels or rows you are viewing,  or break the view into time periods. This menu also allows selection of timelock, patterns, week number on display (or all weeks) and statistics functions.

 


The View menu consists of the following functions:

Rooms                 displays rooms and their teachers, subjects and classes. The room names are listed down the left of the screen in the Names column and all information relevant to the rooms is visible, accessible and changeable. Update the left hand names column to change the name, cost or room capacity.

Teachers / InstrucTors / LecTurer

                            displays teachers / instructors and their rooms, subjects, and classes. Teacher or instructor names are listed down the left of the screen in the Names column. Update the left hand Names column to change the name, FT salary, PT cost/hr or Faculty name.

Subjects              displays subjects and their rooms, teachers / instructors and classes. Subject names are listed down the left of the screen. in the Names column. Update the left hand names column to change the name,  Students expected  or Faculty name.


Classes                displays class groups and their rooms, teachers or instructors and subjects. Class groups are listed down the left of the screen in the Names column. Update the left hand names column to change the name, input $fees, number of students or Faculty name.

TimespaN           changes the schedule display to a selected time span, eg one day to seven days. Use the arrow direction keys to scroll from Monday to Tuesday and so on. Specify the usual length of the day ie. 08:00 - 22:00 for a more effective use of the viewing area.

Masterfiles         shows details of the VCS room.txt, instructor.txt, class.txt and subject.txt  masterfiles stored in your VSS directory. Create your own campus masterfiles and then double click here to auto select any entry into your section schedule.

 Levels/Rows      changes the number of levels (or rows) displayed. The default is 10 which allows comfortable viewing, however a large number of  levels can be selected. This allows the full display of a large schedule with say 40  teachers / instructors, subjects or classes, or condenses the screen for part of a smaller schedule. The maximum number of levels recommended for ease of viewing per page is 20, as the horizontal lines help to differentiate each row. Any number over this displays a more condensed view without these lines.

PAtterns             provides a very large number of color and pattern combinations used to identify or differentiate activities in a large schedule. The standard number of color combinations is 14. These can be seen by selecting Color, Background.

StatIstics            provides interactive statistics on rooms, teachers / instructors, subjects and classes, providing three distinct groups within each of these areas and giving the total number, the total hours and an average.  It also provides the number of double bookings and percentage used for rooms, and double bookings and overtime for teachers / instructors. Double bookings are not included in the resource totals. Use the icon or F4.


 

Week/All            allows selection of any week number in the schedule period to view or print.            "All" can also be selected to display and print all the week's schedule activities together. The week number or "All" is displayed in the day-of the week headings and in report headings. When in “Week/All” view just arrow right or left to scroll across the weeks.

 

Activenames       selecting to view “active names” will show the names of all teachers / instructors that are instructing within the semester, even though the specific week that you are viewing may not include any instruction hours for them. This function can be turned “on” or “off”, and the screen view as well as listings will alter accordingly. If “on” then all teachers names will be listed, if “off” only those teaching within the period displayed on screen will be shown or printed.


Colors

This function allows you to select from up to 66,000 background colors, and to highlight added or moved schedules, to make the same room, teacher / instructor, subject, class or faculty group the same color and to show "period" colors for am, pm and evening classes. Statistics color highlights good, average or poor usage of resources.

The current color selection is shown on the menu bar -

 eg Color = Periods.

 


The Color menu shows the following color functions.

 

Background                           allows you to select or change the background color of the display.

                            This is really a question of  using the colors to suit the job. You may want all Agriculture class schedules to have a green background, and all Mathematics to be in pale blue. Or simply to suit your own taste!

Add/move           allows you to select or change the color of  added or moved activities. This is very handy to highlight the added or moved activities, or make them stand out from unchanged areas as you are working. Select the number "0" (Black) to de-activate the Add/Move color.

Rando(M)           sets the color selection to a random series of contrasting colors. Each activity of the schedule is given a new color to differentiate them from the others.

Rooms                 displays each room in a distinct color within a schedule. Handy when "viewing" Teachers / Instructors to see home rooms for Teachers / Instructors.

 

Teacher / InstrucTors / LecTurers

                        displays each teacher / instructor in a distinct color within a schedule. Handy when "viewing" Rooms to swap Teachers / Instructors into home rooms. Or when viewing Class groups or Subjects to check teacher / instructor allocations.

Subjects              displays each subject in a distinct color within a schedule. Handy when "viewing" Rooms or Teachers / Instructors - so that appropriate subjects can be easily allocated or checked.

Classes           displays each class in a distinct color within a schedule. Handy when viewing rooms to swap classes into home rooms for teachers / instructors or classes.

Periods           displays activities in different colors for the three periods of morning, afternoon or evening. Handy to spot gaps for potential classes. Handy to check allocation of evening classes into evening time periods.

Faculty           displays each Faculty group in a distinct color. Displays the file name of the group in the top right hand corner of the screen.

StatIstics        Color comparison of student numbers input Vs room capacity or recommended subject student/teacher (instructor) ratio.               Red is < 25%, Light Red is < 50%, Mauve is < 90%, Green is good, Blue is > capacity, White indicates no comparison data is available.


Help

The Help menu is divided into the following functions:

Help

The Visual Classroom Scheduler has help screens which can be accessed by selecting the Help menu using the mouse or by pressing [ALT-H] or F1 function key. Step through the Help screens by pressing enter, selecting a menu number or using the down Arrow key or up Arrow key to retrace your steps

 

.

 


 

About                  selecting About will show you the version number of the Visual Classroom Scheduler that you are working on, the registration details and the VSS company address and phone number.

                            It also shows the number of  activities and FastEntry items in your current schedule on the bottom status line. This may be handy when working close to the limit of your VSS model.

                            NB The Visual 1000 saves 1000 activities, the Visual 250 saves 250, and so on. A warning will be given as the limit is approached.


Exit

This function allows for an exit from the Visual Classroom Scheduler and an opportunity to save any changes you may have made before exiting.

 

 

Exit                     selecting exit will bring up a message asking you if you wish to save the selected file.

                            A message will acknowledge how many activities have been saved to diskette.

                             You will then be asked to hit any key to exit the Scheduler.

 


 

4.  Hints and Tips

 

Getting off to the right start using the Visual Classroom Scheduler means finding the best time saving techniques. Read the Hints and Tips and then work through the example exercises in the Step-by-Step Instructions chapter.

This will give you the knowledge you need for any timetabling or scheduling situation.

 

 


 

File

When you use the mouse to click on the File menu button, a list of available functions will automatically appear.

To select a function, click on the name or type in the character underlined in the Name eg [N].  8

Opening a new schedule using the File function, 

Click the File menu or press [ALT-F] and then select New [N]   7

The text will show you the file name of  untitled.VSS

Click File and Save and the system will prompt for a new filename and directory.

Change the name to suit and the new file name will appear at the top left hand side of your screen.

NOTE If the new file name you type is not concluded by a full stop the system will automatically give the filename the .VSS extension.

Input of information into a new schedule can be

line by line                  Click Edit and Add

eg room, teacher / instructor, class, subject, start and finish time, OR

multiple entry Click Eit and FastEntry

eg many teachers/instructor , classes, subjects Also see Edit Tips.


 

Opening an existing schedule using the file function is easy.

Just click the File menu button and either

Select a previous file from the list of file names displayed using the mouse or by typing [1], [2] , [3], or [4].

Or

Select Open from the list, or type [O]  to open 7

Input or search for the required schedule name and Press Enter

The schedule requested will now appear on your screen.

HINT:  File names can also be selected by typing the number relative to the position of the file name display eg 1, 2, 3 or 4.

NOTE To merge or consolidate files together, use a Visual model 1000 or 3000  and File, Open the first data file and then File, Open the next file and so on. Each time a file is opened VSS will ask "Do you wish to merge these classes/activities with the previous activities? (Y)/N.  Type [Y] to merge.

HINT: Data files merged and saved with the V1000/3000 models may contain all classes in an area, building or campus. Any other Visual model can then be used to read the merged files for a complete picture of accommodation in their surrounding area. See File, Remove to delete a merged file from the display.

 


 

To Save a schedule using the file function

Just press [Alt-F] and then the S key 7 The details will be saved to the file name shown at the top left of your screen.

 

NOTE: If you exit the system when a file has been changed the Visual Classroom Scheduler will recommend saving the file. Save the file and then Exit. All screen settings and colors will also be saved to be reset when the file is next opened.

If you have not altered the display in any way, VSS will not recommend saving the file and exit quickly.

 

To Save a schedule to a new filename  press the [Alt-F]  key and then select SaveAs      7

HINT When some of a schedule is changing but you need to keep the original file intact, you can duplicate it (using Save As). This saves double keying the same information. Simply input the new information and move it around using the Edit function.

NOTE: After using this function the new filename is shown on the top left of the screen, and this means you are now using the new file not the original!!  To continue using the original use the File Open functions.

 

To Write changes back to a departmental file when you’ve been making changes to the merged Campus file simply type [Alt-F]  and type [W], or click on File and select Writeback.

Select the faculty (department) name and click on OK. VCS will write back all classes with the Faculty name chosen to a new file in the VSS directory. The filename will be the same as the faculty name with a .VSS extension.

 

To Remove a department’s file from a Campus file type [Alt-F] and type [R] or click on File and select R. Key in the faculty name and VSS deletes the selected file activities from the display. This function allows a more up to date department file to be re-merged after removal of the old details from the display.

In addition, old records (prior to the week given) can also be removed by entering OLDRECS. Enter the old week number and all old activities will be removed from the schedule display and file.

Printing schedules makes it all worth while!

You can print one set for teachers/ instructors, one to put on the classroom doors, one to pin up for class groups, and one in daily sequence for general use that day.

Type [Alt-F] and type [P] or click on File and select Print.  7

You have menus to select the type of report format you require eg.

Timetable, Listing, Costed Summary, View report (similar to what is shown on the screen), Weekly Spreadsheet.

Af ter selecting a report, further options are available to sort them in Room, Teacher / Instructor, Subject, Class, or Daily sequence.

Type [R] or select Room to receive a report in alphabetical Room name sequence, or [T] to select a report in alphabetical Teacher/ Instructor name sequence etc. Sometimes it's handy if the surnames are first, so that display and prints are in surname sequence (eg MAGUIRE, C).

Reports can be printed for one week or all weeks, and options are provided to print all teacher names etc or only those resources active in the week selected. (saves a lot of blanks).

Postscript pinters print faster if the “No borders” option is selected.

 

HINT  Use a colour printer for your final prints for noticeboards and room doors for stunning timetables.

 

HINT  Once you have previewed your printout,  to produce .HTM files for Internet or Intranet use, use the Print, SaveAs selection instead of the Print Print selection. VCS will prompt for a file name and location (eg C:\VSS) and create an attractive .HTM output. This file needs to be loaded to your fileserver along with the header.jpg

Details on how to personalise your .HTM file with your own header / banner are included at http://www.vss.com.au/header.asp

 

 

 

Exporting VSS data to a spreadsheet or database program is as simple as selecting File and then the Export function.

Type [Alt-F] and type [E] or click on File and select Export.  7

This downloads the data to a "TAB delimited" text file suitable for input to spreadsheets or database packages.

 

Importing text data to VCS is as simple as selecting File and then the Import function.

Type [Alt-F] and type [I] or click on File and select Import.  7

This function will request a filename to load  in a "TAB delimited" text file format. The columns must be in the same format as the “export” file columns.

 

Tip:     Exported data can be exported to a spreadsheet, modified and then re-imported back into VCS. Keep the column formatting and make sure the file is saved again as a “tab delimited” format.

If VCS cannot import the new file, use your spreadsheet program to resave it as a “tab delimited” type and import again.

VCS will accept all your changes so be sure to use the correct spelling etc. – or update them in VCS later.


Edit

To Add activities to a schedule using the Edit function

Click the Edit menu or press [ALT-E] and then select Add [A]   7

OR use the + icon on the tool bar.

The “Add Activity” dialog appears and allows you to input new activities, one by one. Click [Cancel] to stop adding activities.

Most of the following details are optional, you can put some in later:

                                                Class group

                                                Subject name

                                                Room number

                                                Teacher / Instructor / Lecturer

                                                Start time

                                                Finish time

                                                Start day

                                                Roll Number

                                                Student Numbers

                                                Faculty name

                                                Week Begin

                                                Week End

Once you click [OK], a new activity will appear on the screen and the dialog box is recycled ready for the next entry. Click [Cancel] to finish up and resort the entries. 

HINT: As you set up a schedule or as you work on changing an existing schedule the Visual Classroom Scheduler helps you to notice if you've double booked teachers / instructors or classes by creating a sunken cell for any overlapping times. Use the mouse to move double bookings vertically to available rows.

Also the columns on the right of the screen headed "Hours" and "%Used" show the total hours allocated and the percentage of the room allocation, when on Room view, and the total teacher/instructor hours using the overtime/ penalty  rates of teacher/instructor hours for "after hours" work when on the Teacher / Instructor  view.

NOTE: The system will warn you when your schedule is 5 activities away from the limit for saving a file for your model size

ie   Visual 250 saves 250, Visual 1000 saves 1000 activities per file,

This will allow you to save the file before recommencing and opening a new file for the remainder of the exercise.

If you consistently find this warning you would be advised to upgrade to a larger capacity model eg  VCS1000,  VCS3000 etc


Updating an activity or a row in “Update” or “Booking” mode.

Click the Edit menu or press [ALT-E] and then select Booking [B]

Now you can update an activity by simply clicking on the colored rectangle with the mouse. The “Update Activity” dialog appears and any details can be amended or updated. Most details are optional.

OR Click on the row name to update the row details for all activities at once. In "room' view, the room capacity can be entered and in "class" view the number of students and $fees. In "subject" view the nominal student complement and $costs. In “Teacher” the load and salary or $rate.

Capacity numbers appear in the zoom window or in the right hand column display under "Nos" and in the spreadsheet output.  Try Color, StatIstics to check for white activities which indicate missing number data.

Costs appear in statistics and Costed Summary Prints.

Faculty changes re-allocate activities to the nominated scheduler.

Tip: Input room, subject and load capacities before timetabling as they will speed your work. Best to update them on the text masterfiles in C:\VSS eg room.txt, class.txt, subject.txt, instructor.txt

Input student numbers and $fees after enrollment to reveal true costs and Student Contact Hour details.

HINT: Updating costs, capacities and $fees is really easy – just click on the name window, and the unexpected is often revealed. Some classes are very costly to run – and some unexpectedly inexpensive. Some things help meet your targets and budgets and others drag you down. 

Tip:  Costs and Budgetting

VCS is more than just a clever timetabling tool that helps you allocate effectively and reveals more room capacity.

The schedule drives the teaching budget. What you schedule drives your budget. Extra classes require extra teaching staff. How much can you schedule? One extra full time class oftens needs one extra full time teacher at $salary!

HINT: Try clicking on one of the Instructor names and entering some details. Enter $40,000 for the salary, loading of 1, select Full Time click [OK]. Didn’t take long eh! All salaries could be updated in say 15 minutes. Now your schedule is costed for teaching costs!

Press F4 or View Statistics to see  total teaching costs. The Costed Summary report for Teaching staff would also be interesting!

NB casual rate per hour can be entered instead of a salary. Teaching loads can be 0.5 for half a week person etc.

NOW!! Trying clicking on a room name. Enter 30 for room capacity. Stats Type 0  = “My room”, For lecture rooms, enter $500 annual cost ($10 week for cleaning, lighting, A/C,  security)

For computer rooms – enter 50% of the purchase cost for new rooms eg $40,000, 25% for one year old eg $20,000 12.5% for 3 year eg $10,000 and $5,000 for 4 year old rooms. See how that impacts the Class Costed Summary report!

Check View Statistics (F4) and Room Costed Summary Report. 

On a roll now – about to launch into consumables and fees!.


Tip:  Costs and Budgetting (continued)

Hope you can see some interesting information arising. We are about to see the unexpected – all calculated for you.

This will influence the way you plan your educational offerings, the staff you employ and the rooms you use. It gives you the information to make decisions and persuade others that you need appropriate resoures and budget to achieve your goals.

VCS averages costs per hour of class activity. It then allocates an hourly  proportion to each class activity – teaching costs + room costs + consumables and compares these with $fees collected per class group!  An impossibly complex task manually.

HINT: Lets try entering consumable costs for each subject.

Click on a subject name. Enter 30 for subject capacity. Stats Type 0  = “My faculty subject”, 1 = “another faculty” eg remedial maths.

If there is a consumable cost or photocopy costs, excursions, diskettes, meat or wine costs enter the total figure to run that subject once. This is not an annual cost but a running cost.

Now the last lucky last.

Lets try entering details for each class or student group.

Click on a class group name. Enter 28 for number enrolled. Stats Type 0  = “State Funded”, eg remedial maths.

Enter total $fees eg $6,000 for comparison to total costs.

See the Class Costed Summary Report!

Try F4 Statistics! Does this raise questions on why some class groups cost heaps and others are inexpensive to run??

Moving information within a schedule is simple.

Click the Edit menu or press [ALT-E] and select Move [M] 8

Position the mouse over the activity of the schedule that you wish to move, click and hold down the button and then drag the information to the place you want it to be, then release the key. This is referred to as click, drag and drop.

The activity will now appear in the position desired.

If you wish to cancel while moving an activity, continue to hold down the mouse button on the moved activity and press ESC.

NOTE: A handy Zoom Details Box at the bottom of the screen will show in close up, what activity the mouse is positioned over, as well as what is scheduled prior to and after the moved activity.

This is handy for scanning a schedule in order to work further on it.

HINT: When moving (or copying) activities with the mouse, hold down the left mouse button and try ;

    press 8 for an 8am start, 9 for 9am,  10 for 10am, -  for 11am, = for 12am, 1 for 1pm etc.

·       Mid semester, in Teacher/Instructor view, press A for Absent teachers/instructors to create an extra activity for the absence and allow the class to be moved to another teacher/instructor.

·       Press S to "split" schedule weeks into two halves, or

·       Press T to split into three schedules, one before this week, this week only, and one from next week on.

 

·       In high school models, press 1 for period 1, and 2 for period 2 etc and see View Period to set times for periods 0 -9 and lunch and recess.

    using the comma (" ,") key will move an activity five minutes back, and the period (".") key five minutes forward, just position the mouse buttonover the avctivity at the same time as pressing these keys.

 

TIP: Moving class activities vertically does not change class times for Teachers/Instructor, Classes, or Rooms. This is great! As you can reschedule to your heart's content without causing the usual "domino" effect - ie fix one thing and it produces problems elsewhere. Moving class activities vertically is SAFE!

Note: When moving activities horizontally to a new time and /or day, best to check the other views to see if overlaps have occurred for another resource eg Teachers/ Instructor, Rooms or Class group. If possible, use a vertical move to fix those overlaps without affecting other views.


 

TIP: Statistics groupings (Optional)

Rooms, Teachers/Instructor, Classes and Subjects can be grouped in a simple way for display on the statistics display (press F4) or on the timetable listings. To group names in the 1st or main group, use Statistics Group 0 = “My Rooms”, “Full time instructors”, “My Faculty Subjects” or “State Funded Class groups”.

For a second grouping such as part time teachers/instructors, other rooms outside the section or commercial classes, use Stats Type =1.

For a third "other" grouping, such as maintenance, staff meetings, student free access etc, use Stats Type = 3.    

 

Note: Second group (part time) teachers/instructors as specified above will not attract any loading calculations for evening or Saturday work.

TIP:    Statistics groupings are optional and only affect the Statistics screen and loadings for Full time teaching staff after hours. Teaching staff groupings are thus recommended.


 

Copying activities or whole rows can be fun!

Click the Edit menu or press [ALT-E] and select Copy [C] 8

VCS takes a different approach here to many window programs! There is no need to hightlight items and then click copy …….... Once you are in “Copy Mode”, any item clicked will be copied! So be careful – but have fun!

Try click and hold on the activity, and now while holding, drag it to another day and let it go. So once a Monday class is created, it can be quickly copied to any other day of the week. Or, if several similar class groups are planned, create activities for one group, and then copy them to another group – but maybe on different days.

If the class name is clicked all activities will be copied (and clashed). Change to update mode, and click on one activty and change it to a new class group name e.g. #2. Then drag clashed activites from the original row to make two similar classes.

Future versions may allow a change of name automatically.

If you make mistakes – use the Delete Mode and remove them.

To stop copying – chose another View Mode or just click on any menu item.


 

Deleting activities is quick

Click the Edit menu or press [ALT-E] and select Delete [D] 8

Simply position the mouse over or near the information that you wish to delete, and click the button to delete.   8

You will be asked to confirm the deletion by pressing any key.

To continue deleting, click on another activity.

BEWARE there is no Undo facility!

Best do a save before deleting eh!

To stop deleting – chose another View Mode or just click on any menu item.

You will be able to quickly rearrange your schedule discarding old information in this manner.

TIP: To delete a whole row - click on the row name and press any key to confirm deletion of all the activities.


Searching within a schedule is as simple as pressing [ALT-E] and then pressing the S key.

You will be asked to input a name to search on. Only the first few letters of the name are necessary.

Once you have input the name, the Visual Classroom Scheduler will search and match the information  and then highlight any occurrence of the activity. The Details Box at the bottom of the screen will show all the details. Reset the search to turn off the Search function.

Tip:     For larger merged schedules, searches can also be done for Faculty names. NB Reset the search to stop the blinking etc.

 

Using FastEntry to input schedules is great for starting from scratch!  Press [ALT-E] and then press the F key.

You will be asked to enter your selection for entry of all Rooms, Teacher / InstrucTors, Subjects or Classes.

Select, then input all names hitting the Enter key at the end of each name. When finished press Enter again to indicate that entry is completed. All the names entered will now appear in alphabetic sequence.


HINT: By inputting names for teachers/ instructors with surname first, the Visual Classroom Scheduler will sort the surnames into alphabetical order.

TIP: To see your input make sure that you are in the correct viewing mode, eg if you have input Teachers /Instructors first then select View and Teacher / InstrucTors to show your input down the left hand Names column.

Note You might also wish to group Part-time (P/T) teachers /instructors and classes by including a dash or leading space to sort Part/Timers together at the top of the display. Dashes are always printed, whereas the space or "P" is not so obvious. Note it is recommended that incidental hours are best kept on a separate file.

TIP: You can select Edit and Update and then click on a activity to update (fix) it - OR click on the "names" column text to update (fix) ALL the activities in that row!

HINT: Once you have loaded all the data, you can then arrange the schedule by selecting Edit and (M)ove.

HINT: When updating names and a mistake is made, try ESC and  the original name will be restored ready for another attempt.  All previous entries will be prompted again and all easily reviewed!


 

FastEntry is recommended when starting schedule design from scratch. Start with Rooms and then Teachers / Instructors as these are "permanent" resources. With Class groups use Course numbers plus stage number and a code D1 or E2 for day/evening classes)             eg 2420 1 D1, and finally Subjects. Use zero duration to avoid automatic creation of activities.

 

To modify the SEttings select [ALT-E] and then the E key. This function allows the program to be altered for a variety of uses.

Note that Initial report headings are normally preset by VSS staff prior to despatch, providing the University or Institute name and Faculty name on reports and cover screen.

 


Areas that can be modified using this function include:

            Loading factor TAFE NSW = 250, QLD 500, others 0.

NSW TAFE  applies a loading factor to full time teachers/instructors working after 5:30pm or on Saturdays. 250/1000 = 25% loading.

            Normal Teaching hours per week - NSW TAFE uses 19 hours for face to face teaching. Change this number and VSS will use the new number to indicate excess hours over the new normal working week. eg 20 for SA.

            Target Room utilisation - TAFE NSW uses a benchmark for % utilisation shown on screen and room reports based on 55 hours per week. The room percentage utilisation shown on screen and room reports is calculated by dividing room usage hours by the number entered here.

            Default Schedule Week Begin/End - Begin at week 1 and end at 18 etc, or use calendar week numbers or pay week numbers. All new schedules will default to this period reducing keystrokes

            Semester or Term Breaks - If using annual calendar weeks, up to three start/end week breaks can be entered to exclude display or calculations for schedules across the breaks. eg end Term 1, 2, 3. NB Schedules starting or ending in the breaks will still be shown eg Summer School.

           

 

 

 

 

The Booking function is really easy to use.

Select [ALT-E] and then the B key and then click on the screen where you wish to book!

The function allows the program to assist in booking available resources (usually rooms) by defaulting a number of details including room name (in room view), day and start and finish times.

If the normal prompts are set, the program will still request the other details eg teacher, subject, class etc to be entered.

The day is defaulted from the mouse cursor position (clicked).

Press ESC to stop booking this item or click on it to update it.

NB this function also Updates existing items clicked on, running through the prompts using the current data.

 


View

 

View is a very friendly feature as it reduces a multi-dimensional scheduling problem to simple views where clashes can be resolved one at a time. This means the end of the dreaded "domino" effect where fixing one clash often causes another and so on. The mouse can be used to drag and drop activities into better slots.

To View  Rooms within a schedule press [ALT-V] and then press the R key.   7

This will display your schedule with the rooms listed down the Names column on the left hand side of your screen.

You can quickly survey the status of all rooms, subjects, classes and times, to allow any alterations or additions to be made.

HINT: Check on rooms that are double booked!  Look along the row to see overlapping activity times for this room. Then use the mouse to move one of the overlapping activities to a better spot.

TIP: Moving class activities vertically does not change class times for Teachers / Instructors, Classes, or Rooms. This is great! as you can reschedule to your heart's content without causing the usual "domino" effect - ie fix one thing and it produces problems elsewhere. Moving class activities vertically is SAFE!


 

Note when moving activities horizontally to a new time and /or day, best to check the other views to see if overlaps have occurred for another resource eg Teachers / Instructors, Rooms or Class group. If possible, use a vertical move to fix those overlaps without affecting other views.

 

To View  Teachers / Instructors within a schedule press [ALT-V] and then press the T key.

This will display your schedule with the teachers / instructors listed down the names column on the left hand side of your screen.

You can quickly survey the status of all teachers / instructors - what classes and subjects they are teaching and on what days and at what times - to allow any changes that may be required.

HINT: Check on Teachers / Instructors that are double booked!  Look along the row to see overlapping activity times for this Teacher /, Instructor. Check the Hours column to see total teaching hours on class and then use the mouse to move one of the overlapping activities to another teacher / instructor or another time of day.

TIP: Check the Hours column to see the total hours on class. Move or update activities to achieve the normal hours for full-time teachers /instructors.

 

 

 

To View Subjects within a Schedule select [ALT-C] and the S key.

 

To View Class Groups within a schedule press [ALT-V] and then press the C key.

This will display your schedule with the Class group names listed down the left hand side of your screen.

HINT: Check on Classes that are double booked!  A warning color is used to highlight the double booked name. Look along the row to see overlapping activity times for this Class and then use the mouse to move one of the overlapping activities to another time of day.

 

Viewing your schedule over a different Timespan is as simple as pressing [ALT-V] and then pressing the N key    7

You will be asked to input your required time span for viewing the Visual Classroom Scheduler. Type in 1 or 2 or 3 ie  from one day to seven days on screen. You will also be asked to specify the length of day that you wish to view eg 08:00 - 22:00. You can easily view a schedule swapping from one day to two or three according to your viewing needs. Looking at a schedule on a one day at a time basis may allow you to see in greater detail what is taking place on that day.


 

HINT Using the arrow buttons on the top right hand side of the screen  allows you to scroll through a schedule one week or one day at a time. Simply select the Viewing Timespan option of one day and then press the arrow pointing to the right hand sideč .

 

The week or day displayed will change to the next day in the sequence ie Monday will change to Tuesday. To move back simply press the arrow button moving to the left handç side and the display will scroll back from Tuesday to Monday.

 

Viewing your schedule with  period timelines requires pressing [ALT-V] and then pressing the P key.   7

This is for high school models only.

You will be asked to input your required time interval for timelines to be drawn. Type 1 or 24, ie from one hour to twenty four hours.

This will display your schedule with vertical lines showing the selected time periods which can help you to see when schedules start.

eg  the one day display can be divided into one or two hour periods.

This facility is especially effective at one day time spans with one hour periods.


To View your schedule with different Levels or Rows just press [ALT-V] and then press the L key   7

You will be asked to input your desired number of levels suggested between 10 and 44 rows on screen.

NOTE: Beyond 40 levels the details become cramped, but the Zoom boxes can still reveal the contents of each class and the classes can still be moved about - watch the zoom boxes to see where the class will be dropped.

This will display the schedule with horizontal lines showing the selected number of rows or levels and may allow viewing of all rooms or teachers /instructors or classes at once on the same screen.

TIP: Use the mouse to see the details of the schedules in the Zoom detail boxes below, also use color to highlight Teachers / Instructor while viewing Rooms, or color Rooms while viewing Teachers /Instructors.

HINT: The Levels feature is especially useful when moving schedules across large groups of teachers / instructors, rooms or classes.

As before, vertical moves are SAFE, as class times are unchanged elsewhere.

As you move, watch the details change in the Zoom Details Boxes down below. Watching these details helps position the class activity in the row required.


 

VCS Locks the start and finish times of a class using Timelock Having the Timelock ON prevents accidental changes to times when moving the class to another room or teacher  / instructor , using the mouse. Wherever possible rectify problems with the schedule by making vertical and NOT HORIZONTAL moves, this avoids the dreaded "domino" effect causing clashes in another view of the schedule which then also need to be fixed.

 

Introduce PAtterns in addition to the standard color differentiations by using [ALT-V] and then the A key. Using this function provides a distinguishing patterns to several thousand room, subject, teacher  / instructor or class names.

 

Interactive StatIstics are available by pressing [ALT-V] and then the I key. Three groupings are shown for each view. Double bookings are not included in these groups and are totalled separately. Groups are set by name group type.

TIP: Rooms, Teachers  / Instructors, Classes and Subjects can be grouped in a simple way for display on the statistics display (select View StatIstics or Press F4) or on the timetable listings. To group names in the 1st or main group, use group type 0, for 2nd group e.g. part time teachers, use group type = 1.

 

 

For a second grouping such as part time teachers  / instructors, other rooms outside the section or commercial classes, use a leading dash or space before the name and use group type = 1. Click on the name and update the Group Type to equal 1. Using a space or dash prefix  separates part timers on statistics screens and prints.

For a third "other" grouping, such as maintenance, staff meetings, student free access etc, choose another option and Group Type = 3.

Note: Part time teachers/ instructors specified as Type 1 will not attract any loading calculations for evening or Saturday work. .

 

To view or print a specific week within the semester or “all” weeks simply press [ALT-V] and then the W key. If “all” is selected it will be displayed at the top right corner of the screen. Then simply arrow right or left to scroll across the weeks

 

To view or print everyname of teachers or instructors  who are teaching within a semester select [ALT-V] and then the E key.

 

Their names will be displayed even if they are not specifically teaching during the specific week shown on your schedule.

This can be turned “on” or “off” using the ‘every name” function.


Colors

 

Colors are a schedule designer's best friend as they help to fine tune and optimise the schedule.

Changing the Background Color of your schedule is as simple as pressing [ALT-C] and then pressing the B key.7

A color palette showing the various options will appear on your screen.

It's fun to try various background colors by positioning the mouse pointer on the color square of your choice and clicking.8

Alternatively you can select colors using the number shown next to the color by keying it in on the keyboard.7

Our personal preference is a dark grey (select the [Resert] button) but....to each their own!

HINT Selecting and displaying in different colors can simplify classifying and filing of schedules .

 

To highlight Added, Moved or Changed activities in a different color press [ALT-C] and then press the A key .7

Again the color palette will appear and your choice can be made with either the mouse or the keyboard.87

This makes working on a schedule simple as you can easily see what work you've done. When completed, choose any Color, selection to reset all colors back to normal.

HINT: The recommended color for Added/Moved schedules is Blue (Color number 1) as this color contrasts and is particularly effective with Color, Periods. All activities of the schedule for example would now be colored in light green, light red or mauve  to show morning, afternoon or evening classes - and any added or moved schedules will be dark blue and totally distinct.

NOTE If you tire of color changes as you move, add, update and copy -  i.e.to stop the add / move color,  reselect Add / Move and change the setting to “off”.

This is the default - and no further changes in color will occur as you add, update, and copy.

 

Random colors give contrast to your adjacent activities and can be achieved by pressing [ALT-C] and then pressing the R key.7

Doing this sets a sequential color number to each activity, so that all the available colors are on display.

Using random colors will add contrast to your activities, and is especially useful if a lot of short duration activities (less than 2 hours) are adjacent to each other.


Indicating that you want each Room shown in one color requires pressing [ALT-C] and then pressing the R key.7

Your schedule will now be displayed  with each room in one of the available colors.

This will enable you to readily identify rooms by color even though they are scattered over a whole week's schedule. This helps you to decide and plan on efficient room use and keep Teachers / Instructors in home rooms where possible and keep Class groups in the same rooms where possible. Good for fine tuning or optimising!

 

Requesting that all Teachers / Instructor be shown in one color is as simple as pressing [ALT-C] and then pressing the T key.7

Your schedule will now be displayed with each teacher / instructor in one of the available colors.(Press F3 to use patterns to uniquely identify 100's of teachers / instructors, rooms, or subjects.)

This will allow you to identify the teachers / instructors by looking for the same color activity without having to switch to View Teacher / InstrucTors mode. Try the Rooms view to check allocation of teachers / instructors to "home" rooms, try the subjects view to check allocation of teachers / instructors to appropriate subjects. Again this helps with the efficiency of planning and editing your schedule.

 

 


Indicating that you want Subjects shown in one color  means pressing [ALT-C] and then pressing the S key.7

This will display your schedule with each subject shown in one of the available  colors.(Press F3 to use patterns.)

Having this option allows you to identify at a glance all like subjects by like colors regardless of the viewing mode.

TIP: This is most valuable when allocating subjects to rooms or teachers / instructors. Just check which room or teacher / instructor already has that color allocated already! This is also a very handy control mechanism as in View, Room mode, it is easy to check that all subjects are in a suitable room.

The colors readily give them away!  In the View, Teacher / InstrucTor mode, it is easy to check that all subjects are allocated to suitable Teachers / instructors.  In the View, Classes mode, it is easy to see if a subject has been allocated twice to one group or allocated incorrectly.

 

Indicate that you want Classes shown in one color by pressing [ALT-C] and then pressing the C key a second time.7

Having this option allows you to see at a glance all like classes by their like colors.

Handy in View, Room mode to see the movement of class groups from room to room to allocate "home" rooms for students, or in View, Teacher / InstrucTor mode to see the allocation of classes to Teachers  / Instructor.

Indicating that you would like to see the Time Periods shown in distinct colors press [ALT-C] and then press the P key.7

Colors will show whether activities commence in morning, afternoon or evening time slots.

ie         0.00am-12.00am                     Light Green

            12.00am-5.30pm                     Light Red

            5.30pm-12.00pm                     Mauve

This allows you to see at a glance how your day is planned and what schedule opportunities are available.

NOTE: To help contrast short class activities starting in the same period, a darker shade is used for the second activity. eg dark Green, dark Red, or dark Mauve.

 

To see different Faculty colors select [ALT-C] and the F key. Each merged file (or teaching section) will then be shown in it's own color with the mouse cursor showing the name in the top right hand corner of the screen. The faculty name will be shown in the top right hand corner when the mouse is over one of the activities.

 

To see StatIstics in color select  [ALT-C] and the I key. Colors  indicates comparisons between student numbers and room capacity or recommended subject student/teacher (instructor) ratio. Red is < 25%, Light Red is < 50%, Mauve is < 90%, Green is good, Blue is > capacity, White indicates is no comparison data available (input).

 

5.  Step-by-Step Exercises

 

This chapter will give you some practice situations which you can work through in order to develop your skills in using the Visual C Classroom Scheduler.

This chapter will instruct you through the exercises in a step-by-step fashion, showing you as we go through the exercises, how your screen should look as we complete each step.

 


Situation  1 - What it will teach you.

This section helps to familiarise you with the Add function and the Copy, and Move functions. This is a fast way to enter an existing timetable.

You will learn to:

    Set up a schedule, activity by activity using the Edit Add function.

·    Use Edit Add to nominate Week numbers, and class sizes or Student Numbers..

    Correct the errors using the Edit Move function.

    Look at the schedule in different views using the View menu.

    Change the Timespan from 1-7 days using View Timespan option

    Show Time Period lines using the View Timeperiods option.

    Use colors to help with finetuning your schedule.

    Display your schedule with Morning, Evening and Afternoon classes.


Starting from WINDOWS

To input information into the Visual Classroom Scheduler from:

1.         Access the Visual Classroom Scheduler from Windows

            by clicking on the Windows [Start] button at the bottom left of your screen,

            selecting [Programs] [Visual Classroom Scheduler][VCS]

3.         The Visual Classroom Scheduler will now load and display            the title page. Select File, Open and Demo.VSS to view      the sample schedule file Demo.VSS.

Situation 1 - Getting Started

You are the Senior Head Teacher / Instructor of your department. You have the job of scheduling activities for the next week for Classes with the following Subjects.

Class 8607 D1

 

Day

Start

Finish

Room

Subject

Teacher

Wk

Wed

13.00

16.00

T2.25

PHOTO LB

3501PX

Adv Cont

LOCKE,

TONY

1-18

Thu

 9.00

12.00

G5.17

LECTURE

2639A

Accom S&M

WHITNEY,

BRIAN

1-18

Thu

13.00

16.00

??

3500D

Sales Mgt

LOCKE,

TONY

1-18

Fri

14.00

17.00

G3.15

LECTURE

3500A

Mktg Fund

PHAN,

KEN

1-18


 

Class 8607 D2

 

Day

Start

Finish

Room

Subject

Teacher

Wk

Mon

14.00

17.00

G3.15

LECTURE

3501PX

Adv Cont

LOCKE,

TONY

1-18

Tue

13.00

16.00

G3.15

LECTURE

3500A

Mktg Fund

??

1-18

Thu

14.15

17.15

G5.17

LECTURE

2639A

Accom S&M

LEE,

DIANE SNR

1-18

Fri

 9.00

12.00

G5.18

LECTURE

3500D

Sales Mgt

PHAN,

KEN

1-18

 

Class 2420 1 D1

                                                                                                   

Day

Start

Finish

Room

Subject

Teacher

Wk

Mon.00

 9.00

11.00

G2.16

Computer Lab

2481R

PC Supp

WHITNEY,

BRIAN

1-18

Tue

 9.00

11.00

??

2420B

“C++”

PHAN,

KEN

1-18

Tue

14.00

17.00

G3.15

LECTURE

2420C

“C++”

PHAN,

KEN

1-18


 

 

Start up Visual Classroom Scheduler

Now to open a new file for this week's schedule.

From the File Menu select New.

 


From the Edit Menu, select Add.

 


This will give you a dialog box to fill in,  as seen on the following page.

 

Please make sure that the CAPS LOCK key on your keyboard is turned on for the remainder of this tutorial.

 

 

 

 

The fields you will be filling in are:



Enter the details in the table below into the correct fields.

You can leave the other fields blank, or with their initial values.


HINT: You can navigate around the fields with the mouse or with the TAB key.

 

Class Name

Subject Name

Room Name

Teacher Name

Start Time

Finish Time

Day

No. Students

8607 D1

3501PX ADV CONT

T2.25 PHOTO LAB

LOCKE, TONY

1:00 PM

4:00  PM

Wed

30

 

Check the data in all the fields are correct

(remember to always use capitals).
Press the OK button at the bottom of the dialog box.

 

The information will be entered into the database, and the timetable screen updated.
You should see this screen for a moment, as the database updates.

 

Notice the red square which has appeared.

A few seconds later you will be returned to the dialog box. This dialog box contains the data you have just entered. Replace any relevant fields with the information below.

Class Name

Subject Name

Room Name

Teacher Name

Start Time

Finish Time

Day

No. Students

8607 D1

2639A ACCOM S&M

G5.17 LECTURE

WHITNEY, BRIAN

9:00 AM

12:00 PM

Thu

30

 

Continue adding the data in the following tables.


(Please note that there are intentionally some errors (indicated in red) and blank fields in this data for the purpose of this tutorial. Enter all data as it appears in the fields below).

 

Class Name

Subject Name

Room Name

Teacher Name

Start Time

Finish Time

Day

No. Students

8607 D1

3500D SALES MGT

T2.25 PHOTO LAB

LOCKE, TONY

1:00 PM

4:00 PM

Wed

30

8607 D1

3500A MKTG FUND

G3.15 LECTURE

PHAN, KEN

2:00 PM

5:00 PM

Fri

30

8607 D2

3501PX ADV CONT

G3.15 LECTURE

LOCKE, TONY

2:00 PM

5:00 PM

Mon

30

8607 D2

3500A MKTG FUND

G3.15 LECTURE

 

1:00 PM

4:00 PM

Tue

30

8607 D2

2639A ACCOM S&M

G5.17 LECTURE

LEE, DIANE SNR

2:15 PM

5:15 PM

Thu

30

8607 D2

3500D SALES MGT

G5.18 LECTURE

PHAN, KEN

9:00 AM

12:00 PM

Fri

30

2420 1 D1

2481R PC SUPP

G2.16 COMP LAB

WHITNEY, BRIAN

9:00 AM

11:00 AM

Mon

30

2420 1 D1

2420B "C++"

 

PHAN, KEN

9:00 AM

11:00 AM

Tue

30

2420 1 D1

2420C "C++"

G3.15 LECTURE

PHAN, KEN

2:00 PM

5:00 PM

Tue

30

Hint: Once you have entered a class, subject, room or teacher in a record, you can click the arrows next to the field box to select from a list of previously entered data in other records. You can do this for the time and day fields also.

 

Once all are complete, press the cancel button on the dialog box..

 

Your timetable is currently displaying "Room View". You should notice that

 

Fixing Clashes

Two cells are indented. This means that 2 of the rooms or teachers are double booked at these times. It's very easy to fix this.

 

First, Select the Color Menu and then the Periods option.

 

The squares will change to one of two colours, light blue (morning classes) and red (afternoon classes). If you had any evening classes, these would be shown in mauve.

Now select the Edit Menu and then the Update Mode option. By positioning the mouse over the duplicated area, the details box at the bottom will reflect the details of the activity which you are pointing to in the middle box and those occuring on either side in the top and bottom boxes.

You can see that the teacher Tony Locke has two different subjects booked on Wednesday for the class group 8607 D1:
Wed 13:00-16:00 3500D Sales Mgt T2.25
Wed13:00 -16:00 3501PX Adv Cont T2.25


The other clash or duplication is
Tue 13:00-16:00 3500A Mktg Fund G3.15
Tue 14:00-17:00 2420C "C++" G3.15

You can fix the clashes in one of two ways - clicking the square with the error and correcting the information in the dialog box which appears, or drag-and-dropping the square to a new time or day.

Click on Tony Locke's Wednesday Sales Mgt Class square and hold the mouse button down while you drag it one background rectangle to the right (Thursday).

Different Ways to View the Timetable

The first four View Menu options are:

Try them out for yourself.  These four views can also be used with other views.

The Timespan View lets you see a particular time period. In Fig 3.5 we have chosen Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, in the Subject View.

 


 

Working with Color

 

Color allows the schedule designer to effectively work out a schedule to cater for differing and changeable situations.

The Color Menu's name will change depending on which Color mode you have selected.


Background

Select the Color Menu and then select the Background option.
Your screen should show this color table.

 


To select a color for the screen background, position the mouse on the color you want as the background and click. Select one after the other to compare colors.
Experiment with color as using this function allows quick identification of your various schedules. The default background color is Grey (click on the reset button).

 

Add/Move

Now select the Color Menu and the Add/Move option
Select "On" and press OK.
Again you are given the option to select the color that you wish added or moved or copied schedules to appear in.
Try picking a color, and creating a new activity
You will see that as a new activity appears it will be shown in your new color.
Try moving one of the activities, it will now be shown in your color.
Select the Color Menu, Add/Move and press "Off" to turn this feature off.

 

Random

Now select the Color Menu and the Random Option
You can see that each activity appearing on the screen has an individual color. This allows you to differentiate clearly between each activity.

 

 

 

 

 


More Color Options

 

Now select the Color Menu and the Rooms Option.
You can see that activities appearing in the same room are colored in the same color.

 

 


If you now swap to a different View you can easily see the activities which are relevant to a particular room.


Now select each of the remaining color options and experiment with various views of the schedule.

 

 

Congratulations !

You have now completed Situation 1 and learnt about:

 

    Setting up a schedule, activity by activity using the File Add function.

·    Using Edit Add to nominate week numbers 1-18

·    Using Edit Add to nominate Week numbers, and class sizes or Student Numbers.

    Correcting the errors using the Edit Move function.

    Looking at the schedule in different views using the View menu.

    Changing the Timespan from 1-7 days using View Timespan option.

    Showing Time Period lines using the View Timeperiods option.

    Using colors to help with finetuning your schedule.

    Displaying your schedule with Morning Evening and Afternoon classes.

 

 

Situation 2

This section helps to familiarise you with the FastEntry function and the Copy, and Move functions.

This method is recommended when starting a whole new timetable from scratch.

During the exercise you will learn to:

    Set up a schedule using the Edit FastEntry option.

    Use Edit Move to arrange your schedule using the drag and drop technique and the arrow direction keys.

    Use the Color menu in conjunction with the View menu to fine-tune your schedule.

    Use the Edit Copy function to recreate activities and save input time.


 

You are the Senior Head Teacher/ instructor in the Marketing unit. You have to organise a schedule for the following Marketing Class 3500 1 D1, as follows:

 

Day

Start

Finish

Room

Subject

Teacher

Wk

Mon

9.00

12.00

G5.18

LECTURE

3500D Sales Mgt

??

1-18

Tue

9.00

12.00

G5.29

LECTURE

3500A Mkgt Fund

WHITNEY,

BRIAN

1-18

Tue

9.00

12.00

-T2.25

PHOTO LAB

-5331C

Photo

??

10-18

Tue

14.00

16.00

G2.16

486DX33

2481R PC

Supp

LOCKE,

TONY

1-18

Wed

9.00

12.00

-T2.25

PHOTO LB

-5331C

Photo

LOCKE,

TONY

1-18

Wed

14.00

17.00

G5.17

LECTURE

2639A

ACCOM

S&M

??

1-18

Thu

13.00

16.00

G3.15

LECTURE

3501PX

Adv Cont

WHITNEY,

BRIAN

1-18


 

Starting Situation 2

Now to open a new file for this week's schedule.

Press the File MENU

Press New (New File)

Input the filename VISUAL2.VSS.

We will now load test data  through the Edit Menu and the Fast Entry Option.

Our class is 3500 1 D1 Marketing, and we have 6 subjects over 4 days, using 6 rooms and 2 teachers to program.

 

Important Note:

Ensure the CAPS LOCK key is ON before you proceed.

This helps standardise input of Teacher / Instructor, Room Subject and Class names

 


Start with Rooms. So enter:

G5.18 LECTURE

G5.29 LECTURE

-T2.25 PHOTO LB

G2.16 486DX33

G5.17 LECTURE

G3.15 LECTURE

Press ESC or Enter on a blank entry to restart.

You will need to select Edit Fastentry to enter the next part of you schedule, teachers/ instructors

Now enter Teachers / instructors

WHITNEY, BRIAN

LOCKE, TONY

Press ESC or Enter on a blank entry to restart.

You will need to select Edit Fastentry to enter the next part of you schedule, Class.

Now enter Class groups

3500 1 D1

Press ESC or Enter on a blank entry to restart.


Now enter Subjects:

·       3500D Sales Mgt

·       3500A Mktg Fund

·       -5331C Photo

·       2481R PC Supp

·       2639A ACCOM S&M

·       3501PX Adv Cont

(FastType is normally used to speed up Edit, Add entry which does not need extra activities created by FastEntry. 

First select Color, Subjects to clearly see the different subjects.

Now select View, Rooms to make room allocations.

Now select the Edit Menu and the Move Option.

Now you can arrange the schedule using the mouse drag and drop technique.

USE PAGE

Now use the mouse to click and hold each of the colored activities while dragging them across and down to an appropriate starting day and time and room:

Move 2481R PC SUPP to 14:00/16:00 TUESDAY and down to room G2.16 486DX33.

Watch the time box to see 14:00 -16:00

Careful movement of the mouse is required to set the final adjustment - takes a little practice!! Note, by pressing the start time whilst still holding the activity with the mouse will adjust it to the correct time.

Now:

Move -5331C PHOTO to 09:00/12:00   Tuesday and down to room   -T2.25 PHOTO LB. We need to Copy this activity as it appears twice in this weeks schedule.

The Copy function does a copy and allows drag/drop to a new location all at once. A nice feature - a bit tricky till you get the hang of it but then it's very useful.......

NOTE: If you accidentally let go of the mouse button while moving the new item into position....don't click again on that activity to continue moving it. "Copy" is still operating and will duplicate that activity again.

 

 To fix it, click on the menu bar Edit, (M)ove and then "move" the item to the right spot.

 Click on Edit, Copy to resume.

Now ESC and select Edit Copy and click on the above activity.

Copy this activity. Note how the row is duplicated, until you move this to the same timeslot on Wednesday. Click on it with the mouse and whilst holding down the mouse button press the Right arrow key to move the activity to Wednesday.

 

Now re-select Edit (M)ove.

·       Move 2639A ACCOM S&M to 14:00/17:00 Wednesday and down to room G5.17 LECTURE

·       Move 3500A MKTG FUND to 9:00/12:00   Tuesday and down to room G5.29 LECTURE

·       Move 3500D SALES MGT to 9.00/12.00 Monday and down to room G5.18 LECTURE

·       Finally move 3501 PX ADV CONT to 13.00/16.00 Thursday and down to room G3.15 LECTURE

 

Note: For all moves try, whilst holding down the left mouse button, using the arrow direction keys to move to the next day and then, still holding down the mouse button use the number pad to position the activity on the correct time ie 9 = 9am, 10 = 10am etc.

Now select the View Menu and the Teachers / Instructors Option

You can see that the activities appear in the first row and the teachers' names are listed in the Names column.

Now select the Edit Menu and the Move Option.


 

Now move the appropriate subject in a vertical movement down to the correct teacher, time and day.

·       3500A MKTG FUND =          WHITNEY, BRIAN

·       -5331C PHOTO          =          LOCKE, TONY

·       2481R PC SUPP         =          LOCKE, TONY

·       3501PX ADV CONT  =          WHITNEY, BRIAN

 


 

Again select the           Color Menu and the Subjects Option.

Now select the            View Menu and the Classes Option.

Now select the            Edit Menu and the Move Option.

Go through the same vertical movement and drag and drop all the subjects into the class. Day subjects for day classes, evening (and some afternoon) subjects for evening classes.

You have now completed the entry!

Check the various views - Rooms, Teachers, Classes, Subjects for double bookings and under/over commitment indicated by duplicated rows and warning text colors (usually yellow).

 


 

Congratulations !

You have now completed Situation 2 and learnt about;

    Setting up a schedule using the Edit FastEntry option.

    Using Edit Move to arrange your schedule using the drag and drop technique and the arrow direction keys.

    Using the Color menu in conjunction with the View menu to fine-tune your schedule.

    Using the Edit Copy function to recreate activities and save input time.


Recommended Setup Method

Timetables are rarely completely completed from scratch and so a combination of the Edit, FastEntry and Edit, Add functions may well prove the best way to set up your first schedule.

Step 1

·       Select File, New to access a blank schedule screen.

·       Use the Edit, FastEntry function to key in all the Rooms, then the Teacher Names, Class Groups and Subjects with zero duration.

·       Hint for Classes - use Course number, stage number and D for day, E for evening eg 2420 1 D1, 2420 1 D2, 8967 2 E1.

Hint for Subjects use Subject number, and a short name for subject name. eg 2420A "C".   

Step 2

·       Use the Edit, Add functions to add each class activity one at a time.

·       Notice that FastType finds the teacher name, room name, subject name and class group that matches the letters you type so only one or two keys are needed to match the whole name!

·       Press enter to accept the name supplied or just keep typing.

Step 3

·       Press File, SaveAs  and enter a new filename to save your work.

 

Function Keys

 

F1Help

 

Press F1 to bring up the help screen. Also select it through the Help menu.

 

F4 Statistics

 

See Statistics of Timetable.

 

 


6   Appendix

VCS Training Courses

 

Level 1           Introductory/Overview

 

A hands-on session covering most functions of the package, creating sample timetables and how to use them for planning and reviewing resource usage, or answering enquiries on timetable details and printing off listings.

 

Suitable for all new VSS users, Teaching staff, admin Staff, Campus staff including those not computer literate.

 

For those about to commence serious VSS timetabling and who are aware of the basic features, navigation and product potential. Create your own timetable with tips tricks and advice on saving time, using resource names, and meeting teacher and student preferences. Word process output.

 

Suitable for those starting programming, Teaching staff, Admin Staff, Campus Staff.


Level 2           Advanced

 

Suited to staff who have attended level 2 training, allowing full use of maximising resource optimisation, statistics, cost savings, potential for improved staff satisfaction and consolidation across sections.

Suitable for Teaching staff, Admin Staff, Campus staff.

 

Level 3           Resource Management

 

Provides details on usage of consolidated VSS section timetables at College/Campus, Institute and Corporate levels. Resource naming conventions, Groups, Sub Groups, Types and Sub Types are explained along with an implementation approach to achieving management goals. Includes an appreciation of Education Planning, Resource Management, Room allocation, Human Resources, and Finance. Suitable for University, College/Campus, Institute, or Central Support management staff.

 

Level 4           Train the Trainer

 

Provides a structure for potential VSS trainers at local universities, Institutes, Colleges or Campuses. Topics include setting up VSS training, conducting hands-on exercises, troubleshooting, and making the best of the VSS materials such as manuals, quick reference guides, menu maps, and on-line help. answers are provided to commonly asked questions, along with training hints and tips. this course provides training materials and licences to reproduce training materials required. Suitable for Institute or College/Campus trainers or teachers.

Teaching Budget, Salary And Part Time Costs

 

Teacher/Instructor Salaries and part time rates of pay can be included to cost your Teaching Budget before classes commence!

Don't wait until students are enrolled and lock in a budget overrun!

Cost your scheduled plans first, and then be confident that the major (variable) portion of your budget is on track and won't blow you out of the water!

 

The VSS Weekly Spreadsheet shows the full semester programmed hours and cost for each Teacher/Instructor along with the hours planned for each week.

Full Time is costed by individual salary and part time costed per individual hourly rate. Use your on-costed salaries and pay rates to get the full flow-on picture.

 

To enter Salaries and Part time rates of pay into your VSS schedule plan:

 

That's it! From now on, all schedule changes can be easily re-costed by creating the VSS Weekly Spreadsheet. To create the new costed weekly spreadsheet:

 

 

NB VSS creates a Tab-delimited spreadsheet file which can be opened and read by all common spreadsheet and database programs, including DOS programs, Windows notepad etc. use your favourite program - cheers.

 

Extra Bonus!! Underutilised Full Time hours are shown (difference between normal hours and teaching hours scheduled). These are the uncosted or unknown hours which impact your budget and are now are highlighted in the VSS weekly spreadsheet. You will be surprised at the extent of underprogramming and the effect on your budget will be obvious! Use VSS drag and drop to re-allocate staff, - before classes start!

 

Use VSS to check again, immediately after enrolments, to ensure last minute schedule changes have not altered your overall budget position. What a relief.

Happy Budgeting!


7   Conclusion

 

We thank you for taking the time to use this manual and the other aids available to further your education about the Visual Classroom Scheduler.

 

Our established client base speaks for itself in regard to customer satisfaction, and we are always interested in hearing your ideas and suggestions for improvement.

 

Contact one of the Visual scheduling Systems friendly staff for any additional assistance you require on Tel +(612) 9792 7021.

 

And don't forget, if you think of someone else who could benefit from the Visual Classroom Scheduling package, do them a favour and let them know, we'd be happy to help them too!

 

 

This is the last page of the Visual Classroom Scheduler User Manual.

 

Congratulations and well done!