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Activity starts pattern

A description of the preferred start times for this activity.

For example, at an institution, the periods might be 30 minutes long, and start on the hour and at half-past the hour. You might prefer that this activity starts on the hour.

Shading a period in the strongest green colour specifies a strong preference that activities start at that time. Conversely, shading a period in the strongest red colour indicates a strong preference that activities should not start at that time:

Figure 33: Example of a starts pattern

The starts pattern is a soft constraint. So, despite the specified start time preferences, an activity may be scheduled for an unpreferred start time, if hard constraints cause it to be the only available time.

Note: When determining the best time for an activity to be scheduled, this preferred starts pattern is just one of the soft constraints that is taken into consideration. The institution object and individual activities of a module might each have a preferred starts pattern.

An activity might have preferred start times that differ from those that are set at the institution level. For example, you might prefer that a three hour laboratory class starts at 09:00 or 14:00, and have a strong preference against any other start time.

The main differences between a starts pattern and an availability pattern are that:

  • Week patterns are not relevant to starts patterns.
  • When you customise a starts pattern, you specify a level of preference for each period, rather than a basic "yes\no" availability.

To set the preference level for a period, click a colour from the palette (1, above) beside the week grid. The palette contains colours that represent a range of preferences from strong red (strongly avoid) to strong green (strongly prefer). Then, apply the colour to periods (2); you can use the same actions that you use when you specify period availability, see Edit the availability of periods.