Drawing up timetables is a task that involves a large number of people, from the head of studies to the heads of department and other teachers at the school. A variety of information has to be gathered: the subjects that each teacher will teach to each group of students, the times at which they can or prefer to teach their class units, or the classroom where they wish to teach.
In times of pandemic covid-19 online tools avoid face-to-face meetings, making it easier to organise them, as well as favouring social distancing and the prevention of infections. Therefore, finding a tool that allows online collection of all the information necessary to obtain valid and optimal schedules is essential. But what are the main functionalities that these tools should meet?
- Allowing the division of work into departments. The insertion of this data should be possible online and in parallel, giving each department independence, and speeding up the compilation of all the information.
- Defining the teacher who will teach each subject. Each educational institution has certain criteria for assigning teachers to each subject and course. The software chosen must allow each teacher to be associated with the class units he/she will teach in accordance with these criteria.
- Recording the availability of each teacher’s timetable. A teacher may have a reduction in the number of hours worked, may teach in another school, or may prefer to have part of his or her timetable free. Collecting all these restrictions and preferences is crucial in order to obtain a good timetable.
- Collecting other preferences about the teaching staff. Gathering the preferences of the teachers will allow us to know their needs, and thus obtain a good schedule that satisfies them. Knowing which teachers want to be tutors or do on-call hours will increase the satisfaction of the teaching staff with the timetable.
- Specifying details about the class units. Doing this process online should not be a handicap to the quality of the process. Therefore, indicating the classroom where a class unit should or is preferred to be held, or suggesting the weekly distribution of class times for each subject is necessary during data entry.
The Peñalara collection of preferences tool not only covers all these functionalities, but goes further. If you wish, it allows each head of department to take charge of the creation of the class units of his/her department, in order to free the head of studies from this task, and to speed up and distribute the work among more people. In addition, this web application is fully integrated with GHC, both to publish the timetable so that the heads of department can work with it, and to collect the data that they have entered. Thanks to this, we can achieve better schedules and save time.