2021 Astra Schedule Release Notes

Release 8.9.3  (2-22-2021)


Integration has been enhanced to handle the removal of cross-lists from sections. Once clients remove sections from a cross-list in their Student Information System and complete a batch import into Astra Schedule, these sections will no longer be cross-listed in the application.

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  • Warm Greetings Melody,
    Does the converse of this break-fix enhancement hold true that if sections had already been imported from SIS (Banner) as having a cross-listing, then if we removed or modified the cross-listing in our SIS, then the following section import job(s) would not update or remove the previous cross-listing for those sections.
    Perhaps, is there a particular Product Feedback thread on this topic?

    Best regards, Jason

  • Hello Jason!

    That is a great question! I am going to get you someone on the Support team that can answer those questions for you. 


  • Hi Jason, that is correct and what this new version corrects.

  • Is this update with cross-listed courses the only enhancement included in this release?


  • Hi Kelly,

    That is correct!  This release focused on updating Astra Schedule after the removal of cross-list information in the SIS on a section record.  You may want to discuss with your CSC if this release is right for your institution.


  • This Update AS 8.9.3 helped our institution
    ... our college credit programs does not use cross-listed course much,
    but our Outreach/GED programs utilize cross-listing frequently 

    I wish there was more product enhancements for Astra Schedule like with Delivery Method which has been improved in Astra Apps ...


  • We just upgraded to this version- I had read these release notes, but didn't understand that this means that sections we cross-list in Ad Astra (that we can't cross-list in our SIS because they're not actual cross-lists, they're just sections that meet together for various reasons) would be wiped out after the after the next import from our SIS. This was a way for us to note in Ad Astra which double-bookings were deliberate, and to assign rooms to all such sections for both the term and the final exam schedule. I'm really disappointed that we've lost our ability to do that with this upgrade. It's going to create extra work at times of the year when we are already very busy, and make it harder for us to identify double-bookings that are not deliberate. I can't really understand why this ability to cross-list within Ad Astra was removed. We can't be the only institution to have sections meet together without being technically cross-listed, so I wonder what those institutions are doing. I'm very disappointed that we can no longer use this process that was working well for us. Without it, our work significantly increases. Please advise. 

  • Hi Christine,

    I was also hoping for the continued ability to manually cross-list courses in the newest version of Astra. Ironically I just learned that manually cross-listing was possible with our current version 8.9.1, and had planned to implement this so that only our truly cross-listed courses would be cross-listed in our SIS (Jenzabar). Up to this point we have 'cross-listed' in our SIS all courses taught at the same time and having the same professor so they would be easily scheduled in Astra. I considered using the manual cross-listing option and figured it might help keep our SIS cross-listing information more 'true' by only 'cross-listing' courses in our SIS that were actually cross-listed. Now I am trying to decide...should I continue our current process of cross-listing in the SIS any courses we want scheduled in the same classroom (unless there is another way to accomplish this) and then potentially upgrade, or stay at version 8.9.1 and begin manually cross-listing in Astra the courses that are not officially cross-listed in our Academic calendar and SIS. As a result I have delayed the decision on whether to upgrade to 8.9.4 or stay with 8.9.1.

  • Hi Jonathan, 

    Yes, I definitely would have hesitated to upgrade had I known that we were losing the ability to create the cross-lists in Ad Astra. And since then, I thought about creating them as cross-lists in our SIS, but I think that would be a difficult project to implement, and probably cause a significant amount of confusion. So we're really just managing with the current situation. I have a weekly double-bookings report subscription in Ad Astra so that I can check all the double bookings in each term to see if anything appears there that shouldn't be there. It used to be a mostly empty report, but now it populates with all these classes that meet together by design that we can no longer cross-list in Astra. Since I know the course numbers of these classes well, I am still able to scan the report relatively quickly to see if there's anything there that shouldn't be, and that indicates an actual double-booking that we need to address. But I think that because the report populates with so many sections now, it will be easier to miss the actual conflicts if we're not careful. So that's a nuisance but not terrible. I'm more concerned by the fact that when I do room assignments for the term in Ad Astra, and again for the final exam schedule, I will have to cross-list the classes first each time (rather than just do it once per term knowing that it will hold) and finish those room assignments before the overnight import wipes those cross-lists out. Otherwise, the system will assign different rooms to these sections, or not be able to find rooms for some of them, which will create even more manual work to find and fix the room assignments.

    So there is a workaround that ultimately means we will have to create the cross-lists twice per term (once for semester room assignments and again months later for exam week, with some time pressure to complete that project within a single day each of those times) rather than just once, ignore the conflicts that aren't really conflicts the rest of the time, and check the double bookings reports more carefully. So it's not the worst thing in the world, it's just one of those things that seem like a step backward in terms of us using Ad Astra to work more efficiently. It's also about the timing-  when I have to create the cross-lists the second time for the final exam schedule, it will invariably be the 1st or 2nd week of the semester when we are already very busy with other projects. So certainly not ideal, but of course we have no choice but to cope now that we've done the upgrade, and I think for us, creating the cross-lists for these not-actual-cross-lists in our SIS would be only making the problem worse. (Jenzabar is our SIS, and I think the way it manages cross-lists is somewhat confusing even for actual cross-lists.)      

    I hope that information helps with you making your decision. Best of luck! 

  • One of the things I did for helping to recognized double-bookings that may not have been intentional is to have separate reports first double-bookings where instructor/contact has same name and second double-bookings where there is different names for instructor/contact. 
    I know this does not help much for institutional where you are setting cross-list codes in Ad Astra first before SIS , but it has helped us. {Banner & AS 8.9.4)  We set cross-listing in our SIS first. 

    Best regards, Jason


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