Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering

Department

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Steven E. Butt

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Engelmann

Third Advisor

Dr. Edmund Tsang

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Azim Houshyar

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Though hundreds of papers have formulated models to solve academic scheduling and timetabling problems, only a few have tested their algorithms on large data sets or shown solutions implemented in practice. This study developed a scheduling model for assigning courses to freshman learning communities and implemented the model in a computer program for scheduling during future semesters. The program was developed specifically for incoming freshman participants in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Expansion (STEP) Program at Western Michigan University. Finding a feasible combination of course sections for all groups is a difficult process, which in the past has been done manually. The developed model uses integer programming to assign each learning community a set of course sections for the required courses to be taken together by members within a community. The model is implemented on a large data set assigning schedules to 475 students divided into 20 cohorts from a course database of approximately 200 course sections of 36 different courses. The developed model found feasible schedule templates within minutes instead of days with the manual process. Results of the model were shown to be similar to previous manually developed schedules.

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