How Do I Library: inline help for ofCourse

Last month I talked about the Scheduling Assistant. This month I want to talk about another helpful tool you have access to, The How Do I Library. This is precisely what it sounds like, a library of documents that tell you how to do various things within the system.

Now yes the system is highly intuitive. That is one of its core attributes and why so many people love it so. And yes, we have had users effortlessly swimming the waters for years. This is why we have been able to deliver the top-flight customer service we have since our start. But, and there's always a but, since most schools only go through this scheduling process once a year, it means the schedule-makers are in it for about two months and away from it for about ten. No matter how long you've been building the schedule or how bright you are, a lot of things can happen in ten months that might nudge a seldom tapped piece of knowledge out of the way.

The second curious part of the process is that while certain parts of the scheduling workflow are constant and evident and ingrained in all of our neural channels, there are some things which don't happen that often or are just a little peculiar in their nature or execution. There are enough of these moments that you will sometimes pull your hands away from the keyboard as you try to recall how you handled this situation last time.

This is where the How Do I documents come into play. Now we have a distinct advantage here in that we have a bank of schools who reach out to us when these questions surface. So we get to see the questions that get asked more than once. This is what helps us cultivate and grow such a resource.

As for its ongoing curation, now when I get asked a question that I think might get asked again or elsewhere, I write it up as an entry in the HOW DO I library. This means that instead of embedding the answer in an email to a single user, I send the asker a link to the specific article, answering their question (and proactively addressing any other future person's inquiry on the same topic).

When you look in on the HOW DO I library, you will see that the articles are organized by section. This is so you may more easily check on your specific question. If you're working on contacting your faculty, look under Step 3 - Get and Manage Faculty Preferences, and you will see the HOW DO I Docs created to date that are related to that step.

Some sample HOW DO I docs include:

  • How do I see what classes a professor has taught in the past?
  • How do I add additional professors to a course?
  • How do I add a footnote to a course?
  • How do I add a class that doesn't need a classroom?
  • How do I reserve a specific room for a class?
  • How do I alter a class duration?

As you can see, there are some juicy features in there. And it is a list that will get more informative and compelling with each passing season. So even as a learning tool, it is not an entirely bad idea to peruse the How Do I library every now and again to see if there is a feature you didn't know was available.

As always, see you on the scheduling pitch.


Troy Dearmitt

Troy is the CTO & Co-founder at ofCourse.

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