Scheduling Preferences Overview

Academic room scheduling preferences in Astra Schedule allow you to specify a preference for (or require or exclude) certain Room Types, Features, Regions, Buildings or even specific Rooms based on the subject, course, meeting type, instructor, and/or campus of the course section in question. 

Each individual preference can have a weight applied from 1-10, be required, or be excluded. In addition, Feature preferences can have a quantity specified, if applicable. Scheduling requirements, preferences and their respective weights impact room suitability and score for room optimization, as well as ad hoc room and time assignment.

Term-specific, section-level scheduling preferences can be edited as desired, but section records will otherwise automatically have scheduling preferences applied from rules defined in Preference Sets.

Preference Rules within a set contain both rule matching attributes (campus, meeting type, subject, course, instructor) and the rule preferences (room type, feature, region, building, room).  The order in which the rules are applied is determined by an algorithm based on section and room scarcity.

On a rule-by-rule basis, preferences of a specific type (i.e., Room Type) can be configured to "override" any other preference rules encountered during the application of preferences.  If a section matches the rule, any preferences it already has for that type will be removed and replaced with the new ones.  This feature allows certain course sections to have preferences applied that are different than the broader rule that may have been applied earlier in the process.

Finally, specific preferences can be "blocked" for certain sections.  For example, a broad preference may be applied early in the rule set that grants a preference to many sections.  If there is a specific section offering a combination that is an exception to the rule, then a rule may be created to block the application of that preference for the individual.  This feature allows the application of broad preferences with exceptions.

The system will evaluate each rule defined in the preference set, in the order configured, and apply preferences to sections with attributes that match the defined rule.  By default, preferences are combined for sections that match multiple rules.  However, if a rule is encountered that is an "override" then it will eliminate other preferences that were previously applied for sections that match the override rule.  Likewise, if a rule is encountered with a "block" applied, then the section in question will not receive the applicable preference.

A tool is provided within the preference set to test the application of preferences for a hypothetical section record on-the-fly during configuration.


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