Binding in Series25 is the act of putting two or more events into a bound relationship which allows them to be double-booked with one another. Typically the effect of double-booking is undesirable, but sometimes it is done deliberately.
In the context of classes imported from your student information system, there are several scenarios in which you might want to double-book two or more sections. This page discusses those scenarios and describes strategies behind using them.
Types of Bindings
LYNX supports the following scenarios and will generate bindings in 25Live for each one. When a section is bound with another for any of these reasons, LYNX adds a code to the name in 25Live for easy identification. Read more about them (including instructions on how to create them) at LYNX Data Binding Overview.
|Sections are cross-listed or combined in the SIS
"Cross-listed sections" or "combined sections"
|Sections cannot be cross-listed or combined because this affects registration, teaching credits, or some other factor in the SIS, but should behave as though they are
|Consecutive sections taught by the same instructor, who should retain the same room assignment
"Back to back"
|Sections whose start and end times overlap in the same location (e.g. sports classes on a field)
When you indicate in LYNX that two sections should be bound, sometimes it performs a final check to verify that a binding relationship is actually necessary. This is configured by the "Ignore non-overlapping meeting patterns" setting. Read Smart Binding in LYNX for more details, but here's a quick way to sum it up:
- When smart binding is enabled, LYNX will double-check to make sure that sections are actually double-booked before creating a binding in 25Live (operating on the principle that if they are not double-booked, no binding is necessary)
- When it is disabled, LYNX will create bindings even if sections are not in risk of double-booking (operating on the principle that it will follow all instructions you give it to the letter)
Typically CollegeNET recommends keeping the setting enabled.
When sections are cross-listed/combined or in bound groups, both expected and registered headcount in 25Live can be any of the following:
- Use the headcount defined for the group of sections in the SIS
- Sum the headcounts of all sections in the group and use the total for each individual section
- Each section keeps its own headcount
This is controlled by the "Combine head count" options in LYNX. Whether or not to enable combined headcounts depends on how you handle registration numbers in your SIS. For example, if two cross-listed sections each have an enrollment of 20 students, does this mean that a scheduler needs to find a room with 20 seats or 40?
The important thing to note about these settings is that you must be consistent. If headcounts are summed for some cross-listed sections, they are summed for all - so you must ensure that the people entering data in the SIS are doing so consistently. (LYNX does allow for different behavior regarding headcount summing when it comes to XL/CS sections versus BG, as your school's policy may be different on those.) Overlapping bound sections' headcounts are included and summed when the "Head counts on bound sections are summed together" option is selected.
When to Configure Bindings
The right time to set up bindings in LYNX is usually after you have built and tested your extract sets for a term. As you are addressing import errors and warnings (link), you may find that some of them are resolved by the addition of bindings.
For example, a section may generate a "Location unavailable" error if you intend it to be bound with another section and gave them both the same location assignment in your SIS. Without bindings in place, LYNX interprets this as a conflict and gives you a warning accordingly.
Specific timing notes for different kinds of binding:
- XL/CS (cross-listed/combined) sections should be identified in your SIS as early as possible. Make sure to enter the headcount values correctly (as discussed above). LYNX will automatically create bindings based on the groups in your SIS, so no further work is necessary.
- BG (bound group) sections should be identified early as well, but not until you're done creating your extract set. Manually defining these groups in LYNX can be a time-consuming process, so you may want to consider uploading them as a separate file. (Discussed at Bound Groups in LYNX.)
- OG (overlapping group) sections are another tool you can use to reduce the work of setting up bound groups. LYNX will automatically detect which sections are good candidates for binding based on existing location assignments in the SIS. We recommend running this process before setting up BG sections if you know there will be many identified by this check. After creating your list of OG sections, they will behave identically to BG ones.
- BTB (back to back) sections don't need to be identified until you are ready to run the Optimizer or otherwise assign locations. You also need to wait for instructors to be assigned to classes before you can use this tool.
Once you have configured your groups of bindings, remember to import the relevant classes into to 25Live afterward. If you imported classes earlier, the bindings won't show up in 25Live until they are updated by LYNX. The easiest way to do this is to import an entire extract set, but you can also trigger an import for just the bound sections in the setup area of LYNX.