Activity properties

Activities have a standard set of properties.

The following properties are displayed in the Activity Editor window:

Property

Description

Name

The name of an activity must be alphanumeric and no longer than 255 characters. In practice, activity names are usually much shorter than this, because the activity name can be used in printed reports.

The name of an activity does not have to be unique but, in practice, it is often simpler if each activity has a unique name.

Host Key

The hostkey of an activity is the identifier of the activity. If you do not enter a hostkey, then Enterprise Timetabler generates a unique identifier.

Description

The activity description is an additional 255 character identifier for the activity. While the name is often short, codifying information about the activity, the description, if used, is often a longer and more readily understandable identifier.

Duration

The duration of an activity is set as a whole number of periods. For example, if the institution has a period length of 30 minutes, then the length of a 1 hour activity is 2 periods. The duration of an activity can be between 1 period and the number of periods in the institution day.

The duration of an unscheduled activity determines when it can be scheduled. Valid start times for an activity are determined by the activity duration, in conjunction with sequencing relationships, and the time constraints and availability patterns that apply to the items involved. For example, student sets, staff, and locations can have their own time constraints and availability patterns.

The duration of a scheduled activity cannot be directly edited in the Activity Editor window, because doing so can cause scheduling problems. To change the duration of an activity, see Change the duration of a scheduled activity.

Activity Type

An activity can be associated with any of the existing activity types by selecting from the Activity Type list. New activity types are added in Enterprise Desktop Reference Data Manager.

You can set which activity type is used by default when you create activities. On the Tools menu, click Options, then click the Application tab. Select an activity type from the Default Activity Type list.

Planned Size

The planned size of an activity is an indicator of the number of students expected to attend and hence the capacity of a location required to accommodate the activity. The planned size is a positive, whole number.

The Use Planned Size check box controls whether the planned size should be used when searching for available locations or automatically allocating a location. If the box is not selected, the real size of the activity will be used instead. By default, the check box is selected.

Zone

If the activity does not have a zone, then its location requirements may be satisfied by locations in any zone. If the user specifies a zone, then a location will only be deemed suitable for the activity if it is in the specified zone or one of the descendants of that zone (zones are hierarchical).

New zones are added in Enterprise Desktop Reference Data Manager.

Module, Department, Course, Programme, and Template

If you create an activity by associating it with a module, the Module, Department, Course, and Programme properties are read-only, and their values are inherited from the selected module when you save the activity.

If you create an activity by associating it with another type of item, you can select a department. Module, Course, and Department are blank and read-only.

If you edit an activity, the Module, Department, Course, Programme, and Template are read-only. If the activity was created from a template, the template name is displayed.

Real Size

The real size of an activity is the sum of the sizes of the student sets that are allocated to the activity. The Real Size property is read-only.

If the Use Planned Size check box is not selected, the real size of the activity is used when searching for available locations or automatically allocating a location.

Availability

An activity has an availability pattern. You can select a predefined availability pattern, or design a custom availability pattern. See Edit the availability pattern of an activity.

If the activity is associated with a module, the activity's teaching week pattern consists of the weeks that are common to the availability pattern of the activity and the availability pattern of the module that it is part of. Else, the teaching week pattern matches the activity's availability.

Groups

An activity can be associated with groups.

Tags

An activity can be associated with tags.

User Text 1, User Text 2, User Text 3, User Text 4, User Text 5

Each activity has 5 user text fields which can be used to store additional information for which there is no specific field already.

It is sensible for an institution to agree a policy on the way that user text fields are used. If each user is allowed to use these fields in their own way then that can become very confusing for anyone looking at the data on an institution-wide basis. Potentially, different users will use the same field for different purposes and may use different fields for the same purpose.

Other properties are edited elsewhere in the application, or are automatically set by Enterprise Timetabler:

Property

Description

Location Suitabilities

Staff Suitabilities

Equipment Item Suitabilities

These properties are set when the flexible requirements of the activity are added to or modified. Multiple values are comma separated. For example, an activity might have two location suitabilities.

Required Equipment Descriptions, Required Equipment Host Keys, Required Equipment Names

Required Location Descriptions, Required Location Host Keys, Required Location Names

Required Staff Descriptions, Required Staff Host Keys, Required Staff Names

These properties are set when the preset requirements of the activity are added to or modified. Multiple values are comma separated.

Suggested Days

Suggested Time

The suggested days and time are the days and time that a specified activity should be scheduled at. An activity that has multiple suggested days has in-week repetition; it must occur multiple times during the week, on each of the suggested days. These properties are independent of the activity's scheduled day and time, and the suggested days and time are not modified if the activity is unscheduled; the suggested days and time can record information about the position that the activity last occupied in the timetable.

Enterprise Timetabler is able to consider the suggested day and time a hard constraint; if the scheduled days and time don't match the suggested days and time, a scheduling problem is generated. Alternatively, the suggested days and time can be considered a weighted soft constraint that influences any subsequent rescheduling of the activity.

To set the suggested days and time of an activity, see Create an activity manually and Set and unset suggested days and time.

Allocated Equipment Description, Allocated Equipment Host Key, Allocated Equipment Name

Allocated Location Description, Allocated Location Host Key, Allocated Location Name

Allocated Staff Description, Allocated Staff Host Key, Allocated Staff Name

These properties describe the resources that are allocated to the activity. Enterprise Timetabler sets the property values when it schedules the activity.

Allocated Student Set Description, Allocated Student Set Host Key, Allocated Student Set Name

These properties describe the student sets that are allocated to the activity.

Allocated Courses

The courses that the item's module is part of. The association between a module and a course is set in Enterprise Course Planner.

Teaching Week Pattern

The weeks that the activity should occur during. This property is calculated. It consists of the weeks that are common to the availability pattern of the activity and the availability pattern of the module that it is part of (if applicable).

Scheduled Days, Scheduled Weeks, Scheduled Start Time, Scheduled End Time, Scheduled

These properties are set when the activity is scheduled. An activity that has multiple scheduled days has in-week repetition. If an activity is not scheduled, its value for the Scheduled property is 'No'.

Activity Dates (Individual)

Activity Dates (Range)

Activity Dates (Individual) lists each date that the activity is scheduled to occur on, during the teaching year.

Activity Dates (Range) lists the dates that the activity is scheduled to occur between. The property value consists of the dates of the first and last occurrences in the teaching year.

Activity Template Description, Activity Template Host Key, Activity Template Name

These properties are set when an activity is generated from a template.

Has Problems

This property is set if there is a problem with the activity. A constraint might have been broken, for example the double booking constraint on the location that is allocated to the activity.

Jointly Taught Parents

This property is set when a jointly taught activity is created. The property value is the names of the activities whose teaching is combined by the jointly taught activity.

Scheduling Method

This property is set when an activity is created or scheduled. The property value is either Manual or Automatic, or is blank (which denotes an unscheduled activity).

Schedule Permission

This property describes whether you can schedule the activity. The property value is either Full or None.

TimeStamp

The property records when the activity was last modified. Any change to the activity updates the property value. For example, changing a property value, adding a resource requirement, or scheduling the activity. If this property is set to 01/01/1900 00:00:00, you have not modified the activity since the image was created.

Variant Parent

This property is set when a variant is created. The property value is the name of the activity that this activity is a variant of.



Scientia Ref: 4047. For Enterprise Timetabler 3.14. Copyright © Scientia Ltd. 2018