Here at Coursedog, we take a lot of pride in the first platform we built: our Class Scheduler. While we're not the only solution on the market, we firmly believe that we've demonstrated we are the most complete. In this article, we're going to walk you through 5 of Coursedog's most compelling competitive advantages over another tool, CourseLeaf CLSS: a balance of simplicity and power, integrated section and room scheduling, a flexible data model, a robust section relationships engine, and our suite of reporting and demand analytics.
Put simply, Coursedog is easy to use. We built Coursedog first and foremost as a user-centric platform because we noticed 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 like adding a new term or rectifying data and bridging issues with the SIS 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?
As easy as Coursedog is to use, we hope the below paragraphs demonstrate that we've spared no expense in making the platform powerful.
Coursedog facilitates both section and room scheduling in a single platform. Besides being cheaper than working with two or more vendors (CLSS & 25Live (CollegeNet) is a common pairing), maintaining a singular, end-to-end solution for course scheduling is more efficient and produces better schedules.
Because you're not reliant on two disparate platforms, two separate integrations, and different sets of fields, workarounds, and vocabulary, your data will be more reliable, meaning less time cleaning up schedules manually and more time focused on students and strategic success. Not to mention one platform means one contract, one vendor relationship, one point of service, and one process to learn.
Perhaps more importantly, integrated section and room scheduling produces schedules that are better for faculty, students, and administrators alike. When section and room scheduling are disjointed, room optimization leaves institutions with tons of manual clean-up resulting from their room optimizer's (understandable) inability to reconcile the many nuances of section scheduling (think instructor preferences, section relationships, and scheduling policies like prime time restrictions). As a result, faculty bemoan their schedules, students their course offerings, and administration the associated inefficiencies.
Because Coursedog is built on a modern tech stack (Mongo DB and Vue.JS for any interested IT folk), users are able to exercise a greater level of customization and control over their instance without having to loop in customer support or a vendor's dev team, and can do so in an environment fully integrated with their SIS.
The ability to quickly customize the fields associated with a course, section, room, or instructor is unique to Coursedog. The result is two-fold: more acute flexibility to accommodate your specific business process, and quicker stand-up time to do so. For example, any fields added to any of the objects listed above can be used to power workflows or policy enforcement in real-time.
While other vendors take a more parochial approach to section relationships, Coursedog hosts an expansive list of possible relationships that provide administrators with a more granular level of control in ensuring that courses are offered in logical and efficient ways that meet student need.
Besides simple cross-listings, Coursedog provides more nuanced section relationships like non-overlapping, or same-time-same-day-different-room. These relationships facilitate synergies across departments and empower administrators to ensure that courses are offered at times and places most likely to facilitate access and ultimately completion.
Finally, Coursedog houses an extensive suite of reporting and analytics tools that are accessible to non-technical end users, update in real-time, and are embedded directly into the rest of the platform. Identify scheduling bottlenecks, assess seat utilization, and leverage enrollment heat maps and registration monitoring functionality to ensure course offerings align with student demand.
Moreover, Coursedog provides demand analytics at the section level that can help both department schedulers and registrars plan for upcoming semesters.
If you take anything away from this article, it should be that Coursedog is just as simple as it is powerful; what really sets it apart from a tool like CLSS is its unique capacity to be a single point of service for the entirety of the class scheduling process: report, roll, schedule, optimize, repeat; all without touching the SIS.