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Generate student sets and allocate them to activities

This stage of the process occurs after you generate activities. To ensure that students receive a clash-free timetable, Enterprise Course Planner runs the following process:

  1. It allocates each student to a combination of activities that satisfies the structure of the student's modules.
  2. It creates student sets, which each represent a group of students that are allocated to the same activities.
  3. It allocates each student set to its activities. During scheduling, Enterprise Timetabler keeps a student set's activities clash-free.

You select the programme, pathway, or module whose students you want to allocate to activities. If the selected programme, pathway, or module is not full, Enterprise Course Planner generates temporary "planning students" that occupy the remaining spaces; these students are deleted after student sets are created. To enable Enterprise Course Planner to generate planning students, you must ensure that programmes, pathways, and modules have an accurate Total size.

The planning students simulate a full enrolment. Consequently, the number of student sets that are created represent enough clash-free activity combinations to accommodate full enrolment, if it occurs.

Student sets and the timetable

Pathways describe combinations of modules whose activities must remain clash-free. But, a pathway does not directly influence the timetable. Instead, the size of the pathway, and the student allocation options that you select, determine which activities the students on the pathway are allocated to. Scheduling is influenced by the student sets that are created after this allocation occurs.

Students that are on the same pathway might not be members of the same student set. For example, a pathway might consist of Module A and B, which have the same structure: a large lecture of size 50, and small tutorial sessions of size 10. To accommodate the 50 students studying each module, five tutorials exist within each module. If the pathway has 20 students, allocation preferences determine whether they fully occupy two tutorials of each module, are equally spread across all five tutorials, or somewhere between these extremes.

Consequently, allocation preferences determine how many student sets are created. For example, if the preferences cause students to fully occupy two tutorials, and the same students that attend ModuleA/Tutorial1 attend ModuleB/Tutorial1 (likewise for ModuleA/Tutorial2 and ModuleB/Tutorial2), then two student sets are created: each set consists of ModuleA/Lecture1, ModuleB/Lecture2, and one of the tutorial pairs. If students are not grouped so rigidly, four students sets could be created, because a student might attend any one of the following combinations of tutorials:

  • ModuleA/Tutorial1 and ModuleB/Tutorial1
  • ModuleA/Tutorial1 and ModuleB/Tutorial2
  • ModuleA/Tutorial2 and ModuleB/Tutorial1
  • ModuleA/Tutorial2 and ModuleB/Tutorial2

Procedure

To generate student sets, follow these steps:

  1. On the toolbar above the Enterprise Course Planner dashboard, click Allocation Editor (see 1, below).

    Figure 22: The Allocation Editor window

  2. In the Allocation Editor window, select Programme, Pathway, or Module from the Object View list (2). Items of that type are loaded into the list below (3). You can search, filter, group, and sort the list.
  3. To set allocation preferences, click Allocation Preferences (4). In the Allocation Preference Editor window, you can set the following preferences; your choices are remembered and are applied each time you use the Allocate feature. To save your preferences, click OK.
    • Allocation order
    • Spread or clump
    • Gender mix and module choice mix

    Note: You can set a preference in more than one of these categories. For more information about the effect of each preference, and about the outcome of combining preferences, see Allocation preferences.

  4. In the item list (3), select the item whose students you want to allocate.
  5. Click Allocate (5).
  6. After Enterprise Course Planner completes processing, it displays the Allocation Results Summary window:

    Figure 23: Successful allocation

    The image above depicts the outcome of successful allocation. However, if a student cannot be allocated to one activity from every template on every one of their modules, their allocation will fail. This window can tell you how many students failed allocation (see 1, below) and why (2). Reasons for failed allocations include:

    • Programmes that have no pathways
    • Pathways that have zero size
    • Modules whose templates that have no activities
    • Modules whose activities have insufficient space to accommodate all the students

    Figure 24: Failed allocation

    If the outcome of allocation is not as expected, you can discard any new student sets: click OK in the Allocation Results Summary window, then click Cancel in the Allocation Editor window.

  7. To accept the result of the allocation process, click OK in the Allocation Results Summary window, then click Apply or OK in the Allocation Editor window.