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January 22, 2001

Resource 25 makes room scheduling easy

By Eric Rangus

Historically, scheduling and reserving rooms for classes, events and meetings on the Emory campus has been quite a chore—as it would be on any campus for that matter.

Schedulers from one department would call their equivilents in other departments inquiring about room availability, maybe sending out an e-mail, leaving some messages and returning others, in a marathon of touching base and catching up.

No longer. An online scheduling system called Resource 25 allows users to electronically schedule space for classes, events and other gatherings in any building with just a few keystrokes.

“Space is the single hot-button issue on campus,” said Marcy Alexander, educational analyst for IT teaching and research services. “Who controls and manages it? Whose space is it anyway? We were trying to look at [space] as a Universitywide resource.”

The development of Resource 25 began in 1995 as part of the Facilities Information Management System (FIMS). But the system didn’t truly begin to take shape until December 1996, when the project—as Resource 25—was approved and the perameters of the system were defined.

Emory needed a low-cost, integrated product that would place all its schools on one page. Since each school did its own scheduling independently, compatibility across campus proved to be an early hurdle.

Implementation of the system began in 1997 with the business school as the pilot project. Goizueta seemed like a prime candidate for testing since it had just moved into its new building. The School of Public Health followed in October 1998, then the medical school and then the School of Theology.

When the nursing school signs on this spring, the entire Atlanta campus will be hooked up to Resource 25. Oxford will be Emory’s last piece to be outfitted with the system.

When the nursing school does sign on, it will jointly schedule its classes with the School of Public Health, since crossover between the two will not be uncommon.

“That’s the first time two schools have gotten together for something like this,” Alexander said.
Another part of the system is called Schedule 25. It is a mass scheduling program used by the registrar’s office that allows for bulk scheduling.

In the summer of 1999, Valeria Burian of the regis-trar’s office audited every college building for classroom space. The effort took a month as she entered building after building on campus, writing down logging crucial information such as seating capacity and available equipment.

“There was a lot of work to do on the front end,” Burian said. “There is still a lot of checking up behind it.”

“Once the preferences are defined, Schedule 25 can set up 800 classes in 40 seconds,” said Beverly Cormican, assistant vice president of the Office of Business Management, which oversaw the project.
The nuts and bolts of the system are this: it is an enterprisewide, scalable solution that enables event and class scheduling based the equipment required, group preferences and restrictions.

For instance, a biology class would have a preference built in for certain types of lab equipment and a search for classroom space limited to rooms that could accommodate those needs.

The major difference between Resource 25 and the popular scheduler Meeting-Maker is that the latter programs deals with scheduling people for meetings, classes or gathering. Resource 25 deals exclusively with physical space instead of the humans that fill it up.

Classes, events, conferences and meetings can be scheduled into all spaces and rooms in the Resource 25 database. Event and space preferences by organizations such as academic departments and student groups can be automatically programmed. Space features such as access for the disabled, special equipment and layout are all part of the Resource 25 system.

If several departments utilize a space (such as classrooms in Callaway Hall, for example), Resource 25 can be set up so that schedulers can use rooms outside their direct control. The system also allows users to schedule rooms for specific hours.

“We’re at the point right now where we’ve overcome all the technical obstacles, like Mac versus PC, that sort of thing,” said Felicia Bianchi of ITD, who manages the system. “We’ve created an environment where all schools can decode the information, and get it in a read-only format and perform their duties.”

The system is remarkably easy to use, and the data is churns out are completely user friendly. Information can be viewed in several different ways: a room’s daily or weekly schedule can be posted, and events can also be listed campuswide by time.

Scheduling confirmations include contact names and numbers, sponsoring organizations, room requirements, brief descriptions of the class or meeting, and, of course, the time.

Rooms can be reserved with a few simple clicks of a mouse, and room availability is color-coded onscreen for ease of use.

For more information contact Bianchi at 404-727-0582 or


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