Scheduling — okay, not so blah

The other day I described the frustrating task of scheduling. Yesterday, "Day 2" of doing things by hand, went much better than expected. I mentioned that we got the 1’s through 5’s done on Thursday, so we started Friday with the 6’s. Things went very well, and we plowed through on into the 9’s by 4:00pm. We (myself and another coworker) quit for dinner, and returned at 7:00pm to finish the 9’s, 10’s and 12’s, the last course (which humorously enough is one of my computer classes!) Well, lo and behold, we were DONE by 9:00pm, and have a schedule that’s in pretty decent shape. There are still some things to hammer out:
  • A total of 11 students have "unsolvable" schedules, meaning they asked for class combinations that can’t fit.
  • One computer class has 29 students registered. The problem is that there are at most 24 computers in the labs.
  • We haven’t counted to see if we’re using more rooms than are in the school (Details!)

Fortunately, a lot of the 11 student problems are easily fixed; usually their guidance counselor will say something like "Sorry, if you want to take AP English you’ll have to skip Intro to Walking" (not a real course, but I didn’t want to offend any of my peers by naming their course). As far as the lab overloads, the system does have a "seating optimizer" function that systematically tries to juggle students around to avoid such issues.

As far as room overbooking goes, THAT could be a show stopper

The bottom line is that we managed to get things close to done in a very brief timeframe. What is frustrating is that we lost a week trying to get the "new and improved" version of the software working, only to find that it can’t do the job it claimed it could. It is amazing to think that we could have been finished on Monday, if we had not tried to save some time. Such is life.

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About Mr. I

After 17 years as a PC Software Engineer I gave it all up in 2000 to become a High School Computer Teacher
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