RB: Setting up for the first time

Jan 23, 2018

If this is your first time using Sobs Room and Resource Booking then this is the article for you.  We will try and step through the process and explain the various stages of configuring the system for your school, however we realise that many schools will configure the system in different ways and for their individual requirements.

Configuring your Calendar

In the Configuration menu click on the ‘Calendar’ entry.  First time in the application will automatically generate a record for the current year (if it doesn’t already exist).  Click on the ‘Add term’ link to add the terms for the year.  You will need to repeat this step for each term.

When adding the term specify the description of the term, e.g. “Term 1”, and the start and end dates.  Normally the start date will be a Monday and the end date will be a Friday.  Use the icon at the end of the date fields to popup a calendar from which you can select the date.

“Start term on day” – select the Day Number for the first day of term.  Often this will be Day1, however if you are starting the term on a Tuesday it may be Day2.

“Start term on week” – select the Week Number for the first day of term.  Normally this will be Week1, however if your term is perhaps starting on a Friday, then you may need to select Week0. The week numbers relate to your teacher’s understanding of which week they are teaching in the term and is displayed on the calendar.

After adding each term you can then add any specific holidays to your calendar – you only need to add holidays that occur during term time.  Click the ‘Add holiday’ to add a holiday.  When specifying the date/dates for the holiday these are inclusive, so if there holiday is just a single date then you can specify the same date in each date box.  Keep the description short as these are displayed on the calendar.  You may use the ‘Block bookings’ option to stop any bookings being made on the holiday, however this does not apply to date ranges or year level selections – i.e. blocking bookings only works on single days when the entire school is on holiday.

The year-level option can be used for indicating when specific year levels are on holiday.  This can be used at the beginning of the year when you have staged start dates for different year levels and ask at the end of the year if you have for example year 12 or year 11 students finishing early.

Next we need to configure the timetable before we can ‘Publish’ the calendar.

Configuring your Timetable

In the Configuration menu click on the ‘Periods’ entry.  There are a great many options in here so I am going to start by configuring a simple 5 day timetable.

First time into the Periods page the application will automatically generate you a default ‘Plan’.  The ‘Plan’ is like a timetable for a single day.  For this example we are going to assume you use the same timetable everyday, so we will only need a single plan and it will be the same for every school day.  Click on the ‘Plan’ description and this will display any periods configured – there won’t be any the first time you use this, however because there are no periods for this plan the system is happy to suggest some popular plans as used by other schools.  You can click the ‘Browse plans’ button to step through some popular plans used by other schools – if you find one similar to your current timetable then select it.  If you can’t find one then cancel the selection and you can manually add your own periods to the plan.

If you selected an existing plan then adjust this as necessary for your school timetable.  If you are adding them manually then add each period, description and times.  When you have completed updating / adding periods for your default plan take an opportunity to check once more the times displayed ensuring they are not overlapping.  You can have one period ending at 10:30am and the next period starting at 10:30am, that is allowed.

Now click the ‘Edit’ option for the default plan.  This should all be configured however I wanted you to see this page so you know what options are configured here – this is where we define the length of the timetable and which days this plan applies to.  By default the timetable length is 5 (as in a “5 day timetable”).  This then displays 5 checkboxes for days 1 through 5, they should all be checked to indicate this plan applies to the selected days. (If you are unable to check a box it will be because that box is already selected in a different plan).  Save the plan if you have made any changes.

Publishing the Calendar

The act of ‘Publishing’ the calendar essentially locks in the Timetable (Plan) with the Day number and the Calendar date.

In the Configuration menu click on the ‘Calendar’ entry to return to the Calendar configuration.  At the beginning of this article we configured all of the terms and holidays, and now we want to ‘Publish’ each term.  Before we do that we should visually check that the settings are correct – there is a column called ‘Preview’ that contains a radio button for each term.  Click the Preview radio button for Term 1 – this will display a mock-up of how the calendar would look using the current settings.  Review the calendar displayed and ensure that day numbers and plans are correct for each calendar date – if everything is okay then click the ‘Publish’ link for this term.  If the settings are not correct you will need to review the term or plan records and then revisit this preview step.

When the term is ‘Published’ each school day is assigned a day number and a plan (timetable).  You can however at this point make manual changes to those assignments if necessary.  Any manual changes will be overwritten if you ‘re-publish’ (by clicking the ‘Update’ link on the term record).

Repeat the preview and publishing process for each term.

Creating Resources

Resources are grouped into Categories.  First we must create a category, we can then add resources to this category.

In the Configuration menu click the ‘Resources’ entry.  This will display a list of resource categories – first time in it will be an empty list.  Therefore click the ‘Add category’ link in the top right corner of the page.

For your first few categories you can just entry the description – the rest of the fields can be left as their default values.  When considering what a category is try and guess what type of resources your staff are going to be booking with Sobs.  For example, when they want a Computer Lab they don’t mind which one they have – they will probably be happy with any Computer Lab they can book.  So by grouping all of your Computer Labs into a single category called ‘Computer Labs’ will assist teachers when they want to book these as the application will list available computer labs for the period requested.  Also for new staff joining the school they may not know which rooms are computer labs if they have names like L05, B02 etc.

Try and keep the names of your categories short – use names that your staff would understand / recognise.

Once you have created these categories then click on the category description to begin adding resources.  The first time you do this the resource list will be empty, so click the ‘Add resource’ link in the top right of the screen.  This will allow you to add the details for a resource.

Title: Try and keep the title short – use names that your staff would know the resource by.

Description: You can add a longer description about the resource, for a computer lab you might mention the number and type of computers.  You can also include a reminder about the booking policy – for example staff are limited to two bookings for computer labs each week except by prior approval.

You can leave the other fields at their default values for now – click the ‘Save’ button at the bottom of the page.

Continue adding resources as necessary.

Creating Staff records

Lastly we are going to need to add some staff logins to the system.

There are a number of options in regard to how to load staff, however for the purposes of this exercise we will assume you are going to import staff records.  Follow this link to read the article about importing staff records:  User management

Making a booking

Option 1: Click on the ‘My bookings’ link in the Main menu.  This should display a 7-day calendar using the timetable you entered.  Click on the cell where you would like to make a booking, a dialog should appear allowing you to select from a list of categories, and then select an available resource.

Option 2: A list of categories is displayed in the Resources menu, click on the category to display a 7-day calendar showing the bookings for these resources.  You can then click on any cell in this calendar to book a resource from this category.

Option 3: A list of categories is displayed in the Resources menu, click the ‘Plus’ icon next to the category to expand the list of resources.  Click a resource to display a 7-day calendar showing the bookings for this single resource.  You can click on any cell to make a booking for this resource (if it is not already booked).

If you want to give your teachers some help in how to use Sobs you can now send them the link to a helpful article that will explain the process:  How to make a booking in Sobs