Optimize Exams

Exam meetings can be scheduled in the same ways as other section meetings.  Exams can either be bulk scheduled using the optimizer or manually scheduled individually using the ad hoc scheduling tool.  Scheduling preferences and other room constraints like campus and max enrollment impact the room selection process as well.

A default room preference is defined at the exam type and/or course level.  The default preference may be to use the same preferences as the parent section, be scheduled into the same room as the parent section, or use exam-specific preferences from a preference set.  However, when running the optimizer a preference set must be selected to inform the optimizer of preferences that should be used during assignment.  If a preference set is selected that includes preferences for regular section meetings, the exam meetings will likely match these rules as well and may inherit preferences that are not desired.

Consider the following strategies when optimizing exams.

Using only the default exam type room scheduling preference

If all of your exam meetings are to be scheduled into the parent section's room, or use the parent section's preferences, then it is recommended that you create a blank preference set for exam-only scheduling.  When selected, this preference set will satisfy the rules of the sandbox optimizer file but not impact the scheduling decisions for the exam meetings.

Using exam meeting type preferences from a preference set

If your exam meetings are to be scheduled using preferences that are specific to exams, then it is recommended that you create a separate, exams-only preference set.  Each rule defined in this set must include an exam meeting type as part of the rule matching criteria.  These rules will only be applied to exam meetings and the preference set will only be used when scheduling exams.

Using this strategy, you could have preferences applied to some exam meetings and have others use their default preferences, depending on the exam type configuration.

Using all section preferences

If you would like your exam meetings to inherit preferences from the same rules that determine room assignment for your sections, then you can simply select the same preference set you would have used when scheduling regular sections.

Exam Meeting Type-specific preference rules could be included in this preference set as well for a blended approach.

Optimize Room Assignments For Exam Meetings

  1. Click the Academics tab.
  2. Select Scheduling Sandboxes.
  3. Click the New button at the top of the Sandbox list page and select "Room Optimization".
  4. Enter a name for the optimizer sandbox.
  5. Select a room preference set from the drop-down list. (see the previous discussion about exam preference sets)
  6. Specify the source of your exam data - either production or an existing sandbox.
  7. Select either the term or sandbox name for your source data.
  8. If you would like to retain any existing room assignments in the source data, check the box labeled "Keep Existing Room Assignments".
  9. If you would like to optimize only a subset of the source data or rooms, specify the filters you wish to apply to your data.
    If you intend to optimize ONLY exam meetings, you MUST select the exam meeting types to be scheduled in the Meeting Type filter option.
  10. If you would like to edit the relative importance placed on preferences and seat fill, edit the scoring balance and preference weighting values.
  11. Select and pre-processing options you would like to have applied first.
  12. If pre-processing back-to-back instructors, specify the building or room preference and enter the number of minutes that defines a back-to-back section.
  13. Select the meeting capacity value that should be used to determine room suitability.
  14. Enter the minimum seat fill value.
  15. Click the Save. The sandbox is saved to the list page and optimization is performed immediately. A status and progress bar is included in the list page grid.  Refresh the grid to get updates on its progress.
  16. When the status is "Completed" you may re-enter the sandbox to review results and resolve remaining issues before publishing the room assignments to production.

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