Choosing option subjects can be a really important decision for students, so it’s critical that the software achieves the best possible results and makes sure students don’t miss out on their preferred subjects where possible. The option blocks are created before the next academic year and in our experience, some schools will begin to think about next year’s options as early as January, with others waiting until later in the year. Regardless of when you get the ball rolling, creating option blocks is a straightforward process with very little input required. Keep the following steps in mind and setting them up will be a breeze.
Decision time. We recommend giving parents access to VSware so they can enter in student preferences themselves. This saves admin staff from entering results dozens of times. If you choose not to give parents access, then a handy print out form can be given to students and you can manually enter their choices for them. For the print out go to Part 4 ‘Option Blocks’ > Actions > Print Individual Student Options.
Generating. Imagine the options section as a mini version of timetable construction. Let it do the work once you’ve entered in the preferences and it will create neat blocks for your option subjects, while ensuring that as many students as possible get their first choice. You will even be able to view the completed class lists and make edits if needed.
Merging. This part sometimes catches people out, and even though it’s super easy to do, it’s important to be clear on what’s going on. Once your option blocks are generated, you need to merge this information into next year’s timetable file (in timetable construction). Remember, this merge doesn’t automatically happen so if you generate a new timetable file and forget to include the options, you will be facing a pretty big clean up job.
We have some great resources available to guide you through the process of setting up options, including step by step videos, a downloadable PDF and some advanced configuration techniques. Check them out here.