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Timetable Assistant Application

Pete Self     -       peteself@nesterenkosoftware.com

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Timetable Assistant Application - Used by Guidance Counsellors and Admin daily throughout the year and by Timetablers during April-June.
(This page order - click or scroll down)
1. Introduction
2. Sample Reports
3. Application Use
4. School Setup/Configuration
5. Pricing
6. Video (Link to another page to view video)
7. Frequently Asked Questions
8. Recent Changes/Improvements (Link to another page to view information)

No data-entry required - all data is imported from the Master Schedule Report with a couple of mouse clicks.
Timetable Assistant - various reports and explanations: Master Schedule

The Timetable Assistant Application is used by Timetablers, Guidance and Administrators throughout the province of Ontario. The app is able to easily process data extracted from Master Schedule by Course Section Report or Master List by Course Report etc., depending on your School Administration System. The app is explained below.

In order to build a Master Schedule effectively, you need 'Visual', 2-dimensional grid-like reports to really 'see' the Master Schedule that you are building. The Timetable Assistant Application provides those necessary reports (and much more), and eliminates the need for the many little 'manual' mini-lists that timetablers usually create in order to be able to properly analyze the Master Schedule as it is being built.
I am a retired teacher. I was involved in the Staffing/Sectioning/Timetabling process for many years. I developed the Timetable Assistant Application to help me with the Timetabling process. I shared it with colleagues in other schools. Upon retirement I now sell it. Most orders come from word-of-mouth. Most users renew annually. Many users have been using the app for seven or more years.
This app is compatible with most School Administration Systems.
I understand reluctance to try something different. If a little interested, perhaps check within other schools in your board and get opinion from other 'current' users.

I would be happy to send you a fully-functional 'Trial' version and provide necessary help to get you started.
Click for a Brief Video which provides an overview of the Timetable Assistant Application
Take a Virtual Tour of the Timetable Assistant app. Unlike a video, this Tour will allow you to explore the app for yourself.
FYI - Currently developing a 'Web' version of the Timetable Assistant Application. Experimental at this point.
Experimental 'Web' Version of the Timetable Assistant Application

If you are wondering where to start looking for information, start with the following report. View this sample Master Schedule Report to get a sense of what this app can provide for you. Click on report for printable pdf version.

For any of these applications, I will email you a no-charge, fully-functional evaluation version of the software and, if you'd like, give you an 'over-the-phone' demonstration of the software. Because there is no installation required and no data-entry required, it is very easy to get started. No commitment to purchase before you try it. The apps generally manipulate data extracted from existing reports. The reports generated by these apps save you time, allow you to do your job more efficiently and allow you to serve the needs of the students better. The apps are used throughout Ontario.

1. Introduction - Timetable Assistant

The application takes the 'Master Schedule by Course Section' Report data and presents it in a 'visual' manner. It provides invaluable reports and analysis tools which are used by a variety of users throughout the entire school year - Guidance Counsellors, Timetabling groups, Administrators.
Although there are many reports, the most-used report is the Master Schedule Report. Take a look at it. I believe it speaks for itself.

I believe that you will immediately see how this report (and there are many, many other reports) can help you in many ways.
The application allows you to import data extracted from the Master Schedule by Class or Course Section Report or Master List by Course Report etc. and display the above report. The entire process takes a matter of seconds.
Generally, when a Guidance teacher sees this report for the first time, they have quite a strong reaction - "I spend hours creating that report manually every night during the busy counselling periods of time such as September and January-February". It is very satisfying when I show them how easy it is to generate this report and how often they can get a 'fresh' report with updated data (class sizes). And the reaction of Timetablers is similar.
If displaying your school's timetable in this format would help users in your school, take a closer look at the sample reports and videos below.
This is a Microsoft® Access application file which requires no installation, other than to have Microsoft® Access installed on your computer. No data-entry is required. Data is imported from the Trillium® 'Master Schedule by Course Section' Report.

2. Sample Reports - Timetable Assistant

The app contains dozens of reports. Master Schedule Reports by Department, by Academic Pathway, Capacity, Available Seats, Percent Load, by Teacher, By Room etc.
Click on any of the following to get a sense of the reporting available:
Master Schedule Report (this is the most-used report)
Teacher Linear Report
Teacher Linear Report - Concise
Room Linear Report
Room Linear Report - Concise
Master Schedule Report - Courses At Or Over Max
Master Schedule Report - Courses With Low Enrolment
Master Schedule Report - No Exclusions
Master Schedule Report - Include Full Teacher Name
Listing - Teachers with Classes Exceeding Max - Possibly used for Collective Agreement Compliance
Master Schedule Report - Available Seats
Master Schedule Report - Capacity
Master Schedule Report - Single Sections
Master Schedule Report - Section Size Percent Load
Master Schedule report - Combined Classes Only
Master Schedule Report - Selective 1st Character(s) - eg. Math
Master Schedule Report - Selective 1st Character(s) - eg. Math and Science
Master Schedule Report - Selective 5th Character(s) - eg. Applied
Master Schedule Report - Selective 6th Character(s) - eg. '8'
Master Schedule Report - By Department
Master Schedule Report - By Department Include Teacher Name
Master Schedule Report - By Academic Pathway (C, D, P, U, M etc.)

The next few reports are extremely helpful during the Simulated Load stage of timetabling. The app draws in the Msster Schedule data as well as the Class Load data.
Master Schedule Report - Showing Simulated Load - Grade 9 Simulated Load
Master Schedule Report - Showing Simulated Load And # Requests
Master Schedule Report - Showing Simulated Load And Percent Load by Course

Classroom Sections By Department Report
Classroom Sections By Department Summary Report
Classroom Sections By Department, Semester Report
Classroom Sections By Semester, Block Summary Report

3. Application Use - Timetable Assistant

The Master Schedule Report provides a 'visual' display of the timetable in a grid - Periods from left to right and Grades from top to bottom. A main goal when developing this application was to display a typical 4 or 5-period, 2 semester school onto the width of one page. Schools with unique timetables can also be accommodated on more than one page width-wise. The main information displayed are Course Code, Section and Size.
This report also provides various symbols and flags for analysis. Combined courses are identified. As well, courses that are 'over' ‡ the prescribed Maximum size or 'at' † the Maximum size are flagged. Courses with low enrolment are noted •. Courses appearing in more than one period, such as double-credit tech courses are noted. Unique courses scheduled into a special timeslot such as an Instrumental Band which might gather before school and might be scheduled into AM rather than a regular block, are noted as appearing on the report in a period other than when they actually occur.

During the timetable creation period, the application provides absolutely essential 'visual' reports that are used by the timetabling group as the Master Schedule is built. A separate tab on the Main Menu provides the tools and reports that are used by the timetabling group. Among the differences here are Course Counts and Class Load by Period and Grade.

The Guidance department uses the Master Schedule Report throughout the entire year, but relies on it very heavily during the busy counselling periods during January/February and June/September.

School administration use the application for a variety of purposes, especially to monitor high or low class sizes - 'hotspots'. High-enrolment classes can be monitored closely with respect to any collective agreement maximums; As well, during Semester 1, often changes are made to the Semester 2 timetable - perhaps a low-enrolment course is cancelled, or teaching staff changes for a variety of reasons, or additional staffing is received. The reports provide the necessary visual analysis to help identify where these changes should be made.

School-board staffing committees can easily analyze each school timetable. This is typically done as school timetables are completed and possibly submitted for discussion.

If the collective agreement contains maximum size language, there are special reports included which identify courses that may be over these maximums. These reports can be used during meetings which are typically held to discuss any of these issues.

Many other reports are also provided within the application.

4. School Setup/Configuration - Timetable Assistant

The Timetable Assistant can be configured to meet the needs of each unique school scenario.
In order for it to be 'ready to go' when you receive it, I ask for some school setup information and configure it for you.
Semestered, Non-Semestered; Exact 'blocks' used within the Master Schedule eg. 12345 or ABCDE or A1 B1 C1 D1 E1 etc.; Common lunch or some type of overlap/split; Anything else unique about school setup

5. Pricing - Timetable Assistant

Email to request a no-charge, fully-functional evaluation version of the software. I will also give you an an over-the-phone discussion/demonstration/tutorial which will teach you how to use the software.

A typical purchase of the software includes initial setup/customization so that the software is configured for your specific school/school board. No setup or data-entry would be required by the user. The software purchase is a yearly licence, sold to a specific school. The Timetable (Master Schedule) Assistant application can be installed on any computers within a school.
$200.00 (+HST) for a one-year school licence.
Contact to discuss a Board-wide license.

6. Instructional Video - Timetable Assistant

Several videos explain all aspects of the Timetable Assistant Application.
Click to go to the Timetable Assistant Video page.

7. Frequently Asked Questions - Timetable Assistant

Why is the application so helpful?
Timetabling is such a 'visual' process. This application displays the entrire school Master Schedule on one single piece of paper (For schools up to approx 1000 students. Larger schools would take 2 pages.) Since the report can be refreshed in 1/2 minute, the timetabler is able to continually get an updated 'visual' of the current timetable as it is being built. CourseCode, Section, Size is displayed. Also, courses that are Full † or OverFull ‡ are highlighted. Even courses that are very small are highlighted •. The application will save you a great deal of time, keep you completely organized, allow you to do a much better job, and reduce the stress of the timetabling process.

How do I get it?
Contact me and I will send you a fully-functional, no-obligation version of the application for you to try. Try it free for a couple of weeks (or we can discuss time-frame). And I will call you, get you started and lead you through the various functions of the application.

Do I have to enter any data?
No. There is no data entry required from the user.

Where does the data come from?
The application displays the data extracted from the Master Schedule by Course Section Report. The process of extracting this data and importing into the application takes less than 1/2 minute.

What type of program is it?
The application is an MS Access® application file which requires no installation. No other IT support is needed to run the app. For those unfamiliar with MS Access®, think of the application as a fancy Excel spreadsheet file. MS Access® is a component of MS Office®.

Will it work with any School Management System?
The application is currently for schools using Trillium®. But if you use another SMS and are interested, contact me and we can determine if it can be configured for your SMS.

When I timetable, I seem to always be creating little mini-grids of various courses etc. Can this display selected data?
Yes. For instance, suppose you only wanted to display Science courses. The app can select only 'S' courses and then display the Master Schedule, Teacher Linear and Room Linear for only 'S' courses.
Or suppose you wanted to see placement of your University U and M courses. The app can select only 'UM' for instance, and display only those courses. These quick 'visuals' are essential when timetabling.

When I timetable, can it display Simulated Load values?
Yes. The application is also able to import the Class Load data when the Timetabler is doing 'Simulated Loads'. It displays Course Code, Section, Simulated Load Class Size, and Number of Requests for the Course eg. CDC1D1-03 21/116.
View this report: Master Schedule - Show Simulated Load and # Requests

How does it help throughout the year in Guidance?
The Master Schedule Report is a tremendous tool for Guidance. Especially during peak counselling periods Sept, Feb etc. Guidance staff refresh the report, print it and use the report continually. The special flags highlighting Full courses are extremely helpful when counselling. And all on one piece of paper!

8. Recent Changes, New Reports etc. - Timetable Assistant

Click here to go to another page to view Timetable Assistant Recent Changes, New Reports etc.
A multitude of reports are available.

Pete Self