Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

PC-Based Software for Scheduling Lets School Function Autonomously

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

PC-Based Software for Scheduling Lets School Function Autonomously

Article excerpt

PC-Based Software for Scheduling Lets School Function Autonomously

Musselman High School in Bunker Hill, W.Va., found itself in quite a spot last Spring. Student scheduling for the 1987/88 school year was due to begin almost immediately, and the Berkeley County board of education had just announced that the mainframe at its central office would no longer be available for that service. The NCR computer that had scheduled approximately 750 Musselman students a year for four years had been replaced by an IBM System 36, and county-level personnel were too busy converting the accounting system to worry about scheduling.

Fortunately, administrators at another Berkeley County high school--one that had never relied upon the mainframe in the first place--highly recommended the PC-based system that they had been using for about a year. Software modules from Mount Castor Industries, Inc. formed the core of that system, and in April 1987 Musselman's math and computer teacher, Garry R. Kilmer, was sent to that company's headquarters in East Orleans, Mass., for inservice training.

Kilmer, who teaches BASIC programming as well as an Introduction to Computers course and an algebra class, was pleased to discover that the software is written in BASIC. This allowed him to easily and quickly modify the two modules acquired to suit his high school's hardware requirements. The first module, The Director, is currently running on an IBM AT with 640K, two floppy drives and a 30M hard drive; the other module, The Classifier II, runs on an IBM PC with two floppy drives.

Doing the Shuffle

"The Director, basically, is a huge database," Kilmer explains. "All the other programs are really servants to The Director." It contains 99 fields of sortable data, 91 of which are flexible and eight of which are fixed. For scheduling, The Director prepares a data disk of students who'll be attending Musselman High School the following year. The Classifier II combines this information with data entered from student "wish lists" and data on classes being offered, teachers available, etc. …

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