Choose or create a starts pattern

You can specify the activity start times that are preferred, from the perspective of the resource that you are setting this pattern for.

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 activities that this resource is allocated to start 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:

A numbered screenshot that supports instructions about created a starts pattern

Figure 66: 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.

Setting the start pattern

You can choose or customise a starts pattern in a similar way to an availability pattern.

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.