The primary objective behind course timetabling is to place each course at a time (or set of times) which does not conflict with the time(s)
assigned to any other course required by the students attending it. This is relatively easy if there are only a few courses taken in
combination with the course of interest. It becomes considerably more difficult as the combinations of courses requiring different time
placements increases. The availability of faculty, rooms, and a variety of other constraints, further complicate the problem.
Student course conflicts can be minimized based on either actual student course demands, an established set of curricula, historical patterns,
or a combination of these data. Student conflicts are weighted with faculty time and room preferences and other desired relationships between
classes to produce a solution.
UniTime incorporates the latest research on solution algorithms designed to efficiently solve complex timetabling problems.
It also provides a very comprehensive course structure model that makes it easy to define the relationships between components of courses
with multiple types of instruction (e.g., lecture, discussion, laboratory) and different meeting time requirements.
In addition, UniTime provides for centralized, distributed, and hybrid approaches to building your schedule of classes depending on your needs.
The course timetabling module can also be used to test multiple scenarios, such as the effect of fewer classrooms, or changes in course requirements.
Even the best timetable may require modifications as a result of changing needs or availability of resources. An increase in demand for a course,
departure of a faculty member, or loss of a classroom will require some change in a room or time assignment. UniTime allows users to easily search for
alternatives that have a minimal impact on the overall timetable, make changes to the class timetable, and communicate these changes to affected students
and other systems.
Class changes after the timetable are published make use of an interactive solver that suggests a limited size set of alternative time and/or room
assignments for classes that will enable a proposed change to take place. Initially the solver looks for possible assignment changes which best fit
all of the requirements and preferences set on classes while not affecting the assignment of more than two additional classes. The user can then select
the set of changes which best meets his/her needs from among the options presented. Each option provides information on any additional student conflicts
created and any other preferences that may be violated. If a solution affecting only two other classes is not possible, the search can be adjusted to
allow additional changes. Changes can be limited to allow room-only swaps, time-only swaps, or changes to both room and time.
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for more information.