I get a disproportionate number of calls that begin, "Troy, we have a bit of an odd request." When you are attempting to automate a process, odd requests are the last thing you want to get tossed your way. But anyone who deals in scheduling knows it is not a matter of IF you will receive any odd requests this year but instead a case of HOW MANY odd requests are you going to receive this year.
Our approach to this certainty is to keep a log of all of those odd requests. Yep, we write them all down. All of them. Even the one where the professor said she couldn't teach before 10:30 a.m. because then she wouldn't have time to read the newspaper and she HAD to read the newspaper before teaching (one observer commented, "That must have been one thick paper"). Of course, what we are looking for are the ones that are less odd or unique than the others.
On this one day though the odd request was new for us but not all that odd. They said they were having problems attaching a professor to a course. A bit confused I pointed them to the process. They corrected me saying, they got the first professor connected to the class. They were having problems adding the other professors. Oh. How many professors are there? Five. I was about to meet my odd request for the year.
When you get into training a computer to do something new, you learn that the first one is always the hardest and once you create an ability to handle one, well then handling five is reasonably trivial. And that is what happened here.
When we began the work to add support for multiple professors, to the question of how many professors do you need to be able to add, we got what proved to be a somewhat universal answer of, "Well mostly one extra but every now and again, this is very rare, there might be two, and in super rare situations there might be more than two." In the programming world, if there has EVER in the history of time been nine people added to a class, every class may as well have nine people added because if we have to make it work for that one time in history, it may as well have happened every time in history.
But this is nothing but good news for the ofCourse admins because now you can cleanly and happily add as many professors to a course as you'd like. Granted attaching twenty profs to a single class will surely make that colored box on the weekly grid a little bigger than the one next to it that is boringly taught by just one professor but then a class being taught by twenty profs probably deserves a more prominent box anyway.
So if you need to add more professors, add away.
And, to the sometimes next question of will the co-teachers time be protected from being double booked, yes, the co-teachers time will be protected. I mean, how useful would a co-teacher who is teaching another class at the same time be?
For help on how to connect multiple professors to a course, see the HOW DO I add additional professors to a course in the Documentation Library. It will walk you through the process whether you are still setting up your course load (Step 2) or putting the finishing touches on a complete schedule (Step 5).
As always, see you on the scheduling pitch.
July 20, 2017