Coursedog provides a unique set of tools that both streamline and enhance the section scheduling process. While Astra Schedule provides an interface to enter and validate course information, it does little to lessen the more foundational burdens of section scheduling.
For one, Coursedog houses smart instructor preference forms that are highly customizable and allow schedulers to collect a litany of information on faculty, like preferred courses, rooms, meeting times, back-to-back preferences, needed room features, or any other custom information that might be useful. This information then feeds directly into the instructor assignment modal to ensure best fit.
Coursedog also automates the process of policy enforcement at the department level. Rules can be created to mandate standard meeting blocks, reduce prime time congestion, or to accommodate more institution-specific criteria based on any and all data at the section level.
When rules are violated, or changes are submitted after-the-fact, requests are routed through dynamic workflows to a centralized dashboard specific to each user. Appropriately permissioned admins can then either approve, reject, or suspend the request, and all changes will be reflected in Coursedog and the SIS instantaneously.
Lastly, Coursedog automatically surfaces best fit times, rooms, and instructors based on all available inputs when editing sections, making the process more efficient all while generating a schedule that works better for students, faculty, and administrators alike.
By actively flagging likely bottlenecks or possible errors prior to optimization, Coursedog proactively ensures that the results from optimization are clean and actionable.
Moreover, by providing schools with the ability to actually customize the weightings of certain criteria taken into consideration in the optimization algorithm, we offer a room scheduling solution that is more flexible to meet the acute needs of each institution–it seems hard to say that optimizing room assignments is a one size fits all operation.
Also, because our room optimizer is able to take in the more advanced components of section scheduling that are unique to Coursedog, the tool is better equipped to produce room assignments that require no manual clean-up after-the-fact.
Put simply, Coursedog is easy to use. We built Coursedog first and foremost as a user-centric platform because we noticed poor UI was something many vendors in Higher Ed had largely taken for granted. Our interface is intuitive and inviting, and was designed with a self-service ethos; you shouldn't have to be technically proficient or reliant on support or even a manual to know how to use Coursedog, regardless of whether you're an infrequent end-user managing miscellaneous tasks from time to time, or a deeply-involved super admin facilitating a high degree of customization to meet your business needs.
Why is usability so important? For one, it'll save you time, which is likely one of the reasons you bought a scheduling tool in the first place. Hours spent figuring out how to accomplish basic tasks or rectifying integration issues aren't efficient uses of your time. Moreover, usability will drive adoption among department schedulers and your staff–what will you do when your users don't know how to navigate your new scheduling platform, or worse, refuse to?