Creating Timetables

Hello Everyone (and welcome back to another year!),
I’m trying to create timetables inside of Gibbon, and I seem to be running into some issues. So, I want to schedule our students into classes directly inside of Gibbon, using their selections they made during the previous school year. I’m using the Course Selection module (thanks @ross), but seem to be confused. I have all of the courses put in (ex. Biology, Chemistry, Algebra, etc.), but I don’t yet know what classes to make, because I don’t know what periods the classes will run, I want Gibbon to determine this for me, and create my school’s master schedule, based on my student’s selections.

So, here is what I’m expecting from Gibbon:

  1. I create the necessary courses (ex. Biology, Chemistry, Algebra, etc.).
  2. I input which teachers teach what courses, so there are no overlapping classes with teachers.
  3. I input student course selections, based on their wants and desires.
  4. Gibbon then creates a master schedule for the whole school by; making sure no students have overlapping classes, making sure no teachers have overlapping classes, making sure all prerequisites are met for the classes, and making sure there are no empty periods in student’s schedules (maybe putting a study hall in instead?). When creating this master schedule, Gibbon would have to create “classes” within the courses, and assign them periods, however it would make all of the periods fit within the day, with all of these schedules.
  5. We then review all of the schedules, and publish them to the students.

Our school is on an A/B-Day schedule, 5 days a week, M-F, with 8 periods in a day, and an extracurricular period (9th period) at the end of the day. If you see the dilemma I’m running into, it’s that I don’t want to preemptively create classes within the courses and assign them periods, because I want a timetabling engine to do that for me, and create my student’s schedules, because I don’t yet know when the classes will fit into the school day.

I appreciate any help, and I’m sorry for the long post. :smile:

Hi Jack,

It sounds like what you’re looking for is the unicorn of school timetabling solutions :sweat_smile: I’m not aware of anything that does this perfectly or this easily. The Course Selection module is not able to create a master schedule for you. This level of calculation and computation isn’t something Gibbon, made by a small team of volunteers, is capable of. Out there on the internet are large specilized pieces of software that can make timetable, but even then they require lots of inputs and controls to be able to make any kind of logical decisions. Creating a timetable is a very human process though, involving lots of decisions of who teaches what and where and how many classes a day, etc, so even with a software-assisted approach there will be lots of effort required. I know one school that uses for this, and another school that uses a giant whiteboard and stickynotes.

What the Course Seleciton module can do is find the best classes to put students in after you have a timetable. It will run through thousands of permutations for each student, finding the best selection of classes within the timetable that don’t overlap and have the best balance of student numbers. Prior to running the timetabling engine, the Course Selection can help you determine how many classes of each course you’ll need based on the Total Requests by Course report, but it won’t be able to timetable your whole school for you.

I know you were probably hoping for a “press a button” solution to this, but everything I know about timetabling in a school is a necessarily involved and complex process :grimace:

Gotcha, I appreciate your input on the matter. I completely understand!


No problem, I really wish there was a better answer. Hopefully some of the data gathered from Course Selection can help during this process.

Good morning,
In our school we are working with FET Timetable. It is a totally free and very powerful software made to generate timetable. You can find it here

I wish we could import in Gibbon the timetable generated by FET, because it is a long work to update Gibbon Timetable when we need to modify the timetable of the school

Hi Pchamproux,

In our school we use FET as well and for some years now. One of the reasons being that importing the generated timetable into Gibbon is so easy. All it takes is a little editing using spreadsheet. :slight_smile:

Kind regards,

Thanks Roman for sharing! I haven’t used it before so it’s great to hear a perspective from a school who has :smiley:

Pchamproux, be sure to check out System Admin > Import from File, there are some timetable import options, using Timetable Complete, or by importing individual classes and timings. It sounds like once you have the exported data from FET you should be able to edit the spreadsheet data in a format to import into Gibbon.