About time constraints

You can create time based constraints, travel tables, availability patterns, starts preference patterns, and usage preference patterns. You can use these constraints to affect the scheduling of activities and the allocation of resources.

Time blocks, time based constraints, constraint profiles, and travel tables

In EDRDM, you can create time blocks, which underpin time based constraints. For example, a Maximum Hours constraint references time blocks; the constraint specifies the maximum number of periods that a resource can be used during each of the selected time blocks.

After creating time blocks, you can create constraints that use them. Then, you can bundle constraints into distinct constraint profiles. For example, a Full Time Staff constraint profile might contain constraints that limit the hours worked per day, and ensure that staff receive a lunch break. After you create a constraint profile, you can apply it to resources.

Travel tables describe the amount of time needed to travel between particular zones or locations, and are directly used by Enterprise Timetabler during scheduling. You can add travel tables to constraint profiles.

Named availability patterns, named starts preference patterns, and named usage preference patterns

In EDRDM, you can create named availability patterns, named starts preference patterns, and named usage preference patterns. Then, in applications such as Enterprise Course Planner and EDRDM, you can directly apply them to activities and resources.

Starts patterns and usage patterns are soft constraints; they are preferences that can influence scheduling but do not prevent an activity from being scheduled at an unpreferred time. A starts pattern is a description of the preferred start times for activities. For example, days might be split into 15 minute periods, but you might have a preference for activities to start on the hour. A usage pattern is a description of the preferred periods for activities to occupy. For example, a member of staff might have a preference for delivering their teaching in the morning, and a desire to avoid teaching in the afternoon.

Note: Each resource that is allocated to an activity might have its own preferred start times; also, the activity and its module might have preferred start times. You can use scheduling preference settings in Enterprise Timetabler to specify how strongly the activity's start time is influenced, during scheduling, by the start time preferences of each type of resource, the activity, and the module. However, start preferences are soft constraints; an activity can occur at an unpreferred time if no better options are available. Also, the resource's availability pattern takes precedence over its start time preferences.

Similarly, each resource and module that is associated with an activity, and the activity itself, might have its own preferred usage preference pattern.

All other time based constraints are hard constraints; if Enterprise Timetabler is configured to enforce them during scheduling, they will control the scheduling of an activity. Availability patterns are hard constraints and can be applied to resources, modules, and activities. An availability pattern describes when the resources that are associated with it can be used; a resource cannot be used when it is unavailable. So, the availability pattern that is associated with an item determines when activities that are associated with it directly if it is a resource (or indirectly, if the pattern is applied to a module) can occur. For example, if a staff member is unavailable on Mondays, the activities that they are allocated to cannot occur on Monday.

Creating time constraints and preference patterns

Before you begin, note that the type and extent of the constraints that you implement will depend on the scheduling requirements of your institution.

To create preference patterns, follow these procedures:

To create named availability patterns, see Create a named availability pattern.

To create travel tables, see Create travel tables.

To create time based constraints, follow these steps:

  1. Create time blocks.
  2. Create a Free Blocks, Maximum Hours, Maximum Workspans, or Resource Breaks constraint.

To bundle time based constraints and travel tables into constraint profiles, see Create constraint profiles.

After you create preference patterns, availability patterns, and constraint profiles, you can apply them to resources and student sets.

Scientia Ref: 4283. For Enterprise Desktop Reference Data Manager 3.15.1. Copyright © Scientia Ltd. 2019