*bump* anyone? @vikpaw ? Any thoughts?
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I wont pretend to understand this situation fully but here goes:
when staff need to book classrooms which aren't timetabled for them our Cover Manager uses Cover to move them around. This may be for meetings or ad hoc requirements. This also applies when she does cover arrangements where the absent teacher has forgotten to book into an IT room. She will then print the changes off and post them in the staffroom.
These changes don't seem to be reflected in SIMS "Reports>free rooms timetable" so staff looking for a free room have to refer back to the Cover Manager. Are room changes in cover meant to get reflected in the free rooms timetable?
I hope that makes sense.
How do other people manage room changes and bookings? Do you buy in 3rd party software to do this?
Don't think they are meant to be reflected back, as rooms in the 'free room' timetable are based on the actual timetable afaik.
Rooms shown as free in the Free Rooms Report are ones that are not timetabled - that info is pulled through from the timetabling software. Its not dynamic, so if one of those rooms is used to move a class into using cover the timetable shown in free rooms does not update. The only way to see which rooms are actually free at any particular time is by using the cover module - the list it uses is dynamic - but there is no report for this, its just on the arrange cover screen.
We do all our room changes in Cover, but when we had spare ICT rooms in our old building, had a separate system for booking these rooms (ours was based on a shared calendar). I suspect that is the way that most schools do it.
I have room booking software that i export the timetable from sims into it and then all staff can book any room in it from there. Had it for a number of years and works well, until the timetabler changes the timetable and doesn't tell me!
We have it set up for all our meeting rooms as well so people can book them out to save double bookings because people assume its not being used!
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Cover is designed to allow short term changes to the normal operation of the timetable.
As well as being difficult technically to implement, as the timetable is actually created and maintained outside SIMS.net, you would have timetable changes being created by the software daily and would end up with many versions of the timetable in the system. As a timetabler, I can say definitively that this is a BAD THING.
One timetable, edited by one timetabler - any other way lies anarchy.
The update i did in january affected 3 recurring bookings but these were room changes that the timetable update changed so wasnt an issue.
we use this Room Booking System - Online Room Booking Software it shows all our classrooms and updates each night direct from SIMS. If a room gets blocked out for cover reasons then the period of time gets greyed out works really well. If people make a booking it all goes through to the cover manager to approve or decline
Tbh im not to sure but staff are encouraged to plan ahead and to not leave it to the last minute
I thought a change in cover should be reflected in the report, at least if it's a report for the day, cos it does ask for the effective date. If you've found it doesn't, then that's how it is i guess.
If you move a class in cover, then it frees the room for another class to go into it, that should be able to be reported on.
MRBS works and is free, plus someone on here has written a nice import routine from SIMS to make it easier to pull in data. Would be easier than relying on cover manager.
I looked at the MRBS stuff back in June, looked easy enough, threw it towards our head of ICT (who asked about it) and I don't think it's gone anywhere since.
@vikpaw - got a link to that import tool? I might just set it up myself, as the excel files they try to use are constantly being edited by more than one person, who will happily save another copy into the directory, which leads to 3 or 4 'active' ones at a time.
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