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Adjust scheduling preferences

To determine the best day and time to schedule an activity for, Enterprise Timetabler calculates a suitability score for each valid start time. The score reflects how well the soft constraints of the activity and its associated items (such as its required resources, and the institution and module) are satisfied by the specified start time. You can adjust the relative importance of the soft constraints; doing so affects the score, and shapes the eventual scheduling solution.

About this task: The Scheduling Preferences window contains a tab for each item type. Each tab contains the following controls for each soft constraint. Some soft constraints apply to only some item types.

  • The Enabled check box toggles whether the soft constraint affects the score.
  • The slider determines how strongly the score is affected by the soft constraint.
    • Important constraints should have a higher setting. If several constraints are satisfied equally well by a start time, they make the same positive contribution to the score. However, if one of the constraints has a higher setting than the others, it makes a larger contribution to the score.
    • The sliders on each tab are independent. For example, changing the level of the Preferred Usage slider on the Staff Member tab does not affect the Preferred Usage slider on the Module tab.
  • Some constraints have additional check boxes that toggle other options. For more information about the options, see Soft constraints.

The settings also determine how conflicting constraints affect the score. A start time might strongly satisfy one constraint upon an item, while the opposite is true for a different constraint. If the first constraint has a lower setting, its positive contribution to the score is diminished and becomes closer to the contribution made by the second constraint.

  • The constraints upon an item can conflict. For example, a start time might result in an uneven spread of activities throughout the week for a staff member, but fall within the hours that they prefer to teach during.
  • The constraints upon different items can conflict. For example, a start time might fall within the preferred hours of the activity's student sets, but also fall outside the preferred hours of the required staff member.

To adjust scheduling preferences, follow these steps:

  1. In the Tools menu, click Scheduling Preferences.
  2. On each tab of the Scheduling Preferences window, adjust the settings for each soft constraint. For more information about the soft constraints, see Soft constraints.
  3. To save your changes, click Apply. To return to the main Enterprise Timetabler window, click the cross in the top corner of the Scheduling Preferences window.

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