Custom course durations

Last month I talked about the different kinds of updates we made--sexy, routine, and plumbing. What I failed to mention is that sometimes we work on something that could fall into all three categories. This is the case with this month's new feature--Custom Course Durations.

Yes, I know. It seems like the sort of thing that we should have addressed some time ago, but surprisingly, it was not something people were clamoring for until quite recently at least. However, once discussed, it became one of those middle-of-your-back itches that won't let you rest until addressing it. This was undoubtedly the sense for the requestor and ourselves after the initial call for the feature.

Moreover, while it seems like it would be a trivial matter to address, for all sorts of reasons you could never bring yourself to care about, it was not such a minor thing. So we did the research, made a plan and now any of your classes can carry any duration you desire, traditional or not, sensible or not. Doesn't matter. As has repeatedly been the case updates requested by a few of our schools just made the system better for ALL of our schools.

As for using the feature, there are some reasons you might need to deviate from the standard time. Perhaps the professor is asking this class run an extra ten minutes to offer the students a break and not compromise the in-class time. Alternatively, it might be because they know they are going to miss a few classes and want to pad the time into the class to account for a missed session or two.

Because it was historically just five or ten minutes, the fallout had never been catastrophic, and an admin could usually keep track of the few classes that might have this oddity or make a footnote, or the teacher would address it once the semester spooled up. However, a core objective of the ofCourse system is to off-load as much of the institutional memory demands placed on you so you can deal with the problem, and move on, with confidence, to the next issue in your seemingly bottomless queue.

So now, during your Step 5 polishing of the schedule, you may tweak how long a class needs to meet for, nudging an end time backward or forward in five-minute increments. And, to your next possible question, yes, the Collision Management system will continue to backstop you, protecting you from conflicts to your rooms, faculty, and sections.

As always, see you on the scheduling pitch.


Troy Dearmitt

Troy is the CTO & Co-founder at ofCourse.

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