New software means changes for student scheduling at KSU

Adria Barbour

The scheduling process at Kent State is about to be affected by new technology.

New software, called Schedule Probe, will change the way students sign up for classes and the way teachers are assigned rooms and materials.

For students, there will be new time block scheduling during the day, said Pete Goldsmith, vice president of enrollment management and student affairs.

Goldsmith said the new software offers much more flexibility with scheduling. The new schedule includes 7 1/2-week classes and five-week classes in addition to the regular 15-week classes. The five-week classes will be more frequent, but the credit hours won’t change. The course options will be offered during the fall and spring semesters as well as the summer semester.

“Say you want an internship but not for the whole semester,” Goldsmith said. “You can take a 7 1/2-week class or a five-week class then start classes regularly the next semester of the next time block.”

Also, instead of the traditional Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes, students can take a class when they need to, said Roberta Sikula-Schwalm, university registrar and systems coordinator. The new pattern will not only allow for more back-to-back scheduling, but also doubles the amount of scheduling slots for two- and three-day classes.

But before students can schedule classes, the teachers have to input information into the software. The probe schedules the classes through an updated room inventory which includes information such as class equipment, seating possibilities and room type, Goldsmith said.

The information was based on an architect’s facility database that included all 900 rooms on campus, Sikula-Schwalm said.

Goldsmith said the faculty then determines a certain class location and specific equipment and gives the information to coordinators from each college. The coordinators input the information, and the software decides where the teacher will be.

Goldsmith said it’s important to take into account rooms teachers need.

“The classroom has to have the right equipment. A chemistry teacher couldn’t teach in (a classroom for) early childhood development,” Goldsmith said.

All of these changes will result in efficient space use, timely degree completion, the ability for the university to attract new students and the optimization of university resources, said Sikula-Schwalm.

The changes were necessary because the way the university was scheduling classes was outdated. The process hasn’t changed in the past 40 years, and with increased student enrollment, this was becoming a problem, Goldsmith said.

Thirty-one percent of class sections are offered at non-standard times, Sikula-Schwalm said.

The changes will take place gradually, Sikula-Schwalm said. For Fall 2005, only the rooms will be assigned through the software. For Spring 2006, the new time blocks will be implemented, and in Spring 2007, everything will be switched over.

Contact student affairs reporter Adria Barbour at [email protected].