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Smart binding is the process that LYNX uses to determine which meeting patterns should be bound together in a set of cross-listed sections (also known as "combined sections"), as well as other types of groups. It's called "smart" because its goal is to arrive at the same results that a reasonable human being would make. When you see the results, they just make sense.

The effect of binding meeting patterns together is to allow them to share a room without double-booking. Bound events (or more specifically, bound segments) are always assigned the same location in 25Live without triggering a conflict.

How does smart binding work?

The smart binding process looks at every pair of meeting patterns in the group and asks the following eligibility questions:

  1. Do the meeting patterns happen at the same time? (If not at the exact same time, do they overlap? Note: starting and ending at the same time counts as overlap.)
  2. Are the meeting patterns assigned to the same location in the SIS? (Or are they both assigned to no location at all?)

If the answer to both questions is yes, then the meeting patterns are bound. If the answer to either question is no, then they are not.

These questions are evaluated for every cross-listed section imported through LYNX, as well as some other cases. See the examples below for more details.

When is it applied?

The smart binding eligibility questions are checked whenever sections or exams are imported or updated through LYNX, not just when imported for the first time. If the answers to the questions change because meeting patterns have been updated or given new location assignments, then bindings may be added or removed in 25Live.

Here is a guide to whether smart binding applies in a given situation (tick) always, (question) sometimes, or (error) never:

Cross-listed sections(tick)

If sections are cross-listed in the SIS, their meeting patterns will always be checked for smart binding upon import into 25Live.

Bound groups(question)

In addition to grouping sections in the SIS, you can also set up bound groups in LYNX itself.  Smart binding will sometimes be checked depending on your LYNX Settings - Events. (See the next section for more information.)

Back-to-back sections(error)

Sometimes binding is desired for things that don't meet simultaneously, such as when you want to guarantee that an instructor will stay in the same room for two classes taught directly after one another. These back-to-back sections are never checked for smart binding because they would always fail the first eligibility question.

Imported exams

(tick)

(question)

Campus Solutions and systems using LYNX Universal can import exams directly from the SIS. These exams can be combined or added to bound groups similar to sections. They follow the same rules described above: combined exams are always checked, but ones in bound groups are only checked sometimes.

Normal sections(error)

A plain section with no special characteristics is never checked for smart binding. After all, why would it?


How can I turn it off, and why would I want to?

Excluding Bound Groups

As described above, if you configure sections (or exams) into bound groups using LYNX rather than cross-listing them in your SIS, they may or may not be evaluated for smart binding. This depends on an option in LYNX Settings - Events:

Image: Configuration option to "Ignore Non-Overlapping Meeting Patterns in Bound Groups."

If this option is set to "yes", then smart binding is applied to these bound groups. Meeting patterns that don't pass the eligibility questions will not be bound. If it is set to "no", then all meeting patterns in a group will be bound regardless of whether they overlap or have the same location assignment.

This is a global setting, and it applies to all bound groups in all terms.

You could choose to turn this setting off if you don't want LYNX to "second-guess" your decision-making. You may be deliberately trying to create groups that would fail the smart binding eligibility check, such as sections that meet at different times but aren't covered by back-to-back binding.

Excluding Meeting Pattern Types

This option is not available for Campus Solutions or Workday institutions.

There are times when binding cross-listed/combined sections is not aligned with institutional needs. In some scenarios, cross-listing in the SIS is necessary for registration, enrollment data, and business process, but different room assignments are necessary for certain occurrences/meetings of the class.

To help handle these situations, you can tell LYNX to exclude specific meeting pattern types from smart binding. The option in Configuration > Event Settings for "Exclude Meeting Pattern Types When Binding Cross-listed Classes" applies to smart binding on cross-listed sections but not bound groups.

Any meeting pattern types listed in this option will not be considered eligible for binding.

Image: Configuration option to "Exclude Meeting Pattern Types" from smart binding

Examples

Example 1 - A Typical Case

In most cases, it seems obvious when two cross-listed sections should be bound together. The vast majority of the time, cross-listed sections look something like this, with a single meeting pattern each:

  • ANTH 220 01, MWF 0900-1000 (no preassignments)
  • PHIL 220 01, MWF 0900-1000 (no preassignments)
  • SOC 220 01, MWF 0900-1000 (no preassignments)

This is a common example of a course that can be taken for credit in either Anthropology, Philosophy, or Sociology. It has three course records for department bookkeeping, but they all refer to the same lecture being taught in the same room with the same students. Smart binding asks the two eligibility questions above and comes to an answer of "yes" for all combinations of meeting patterns, so they are all bound in 25Live.

Example 2 - Multiple Meeting Patterns

Let's look at a slightly more complicated situation:

  • CHEM 300 01 has multiple meeting patterns:
    • MWF 0900-1000, a lecture (no preassignments)
    • R 1000-1200, a lab (assigned to the chemistry lab room)
  • ENG 300 01 has multiple meeting patterns:
    • MWF 0900-1000, a lecture (no preassignments)
    • R 1000-1200, a lab (assigned to the chemistry lab room)

This is a similar case as the previous cross-listed course, but with multiple meeting patterns. There are four possible pairs of meeting patterns between the two sections: lecture/lecture, lab/lab, lecture/lab, and lab/lecture. The smart binding process looks at each pair and asks the two eligibility questions. The answer to both is yes for the lecture/lecture and lab/lab combinations, but not the other two. Therefore, only those two combinations are bound.

Example 3 - Distance Learning Classes

Some classes are presented in multiple rooms at once, such as lectures that are livestreamed to another campus or classes that are split up due to safety protocols. These sections may be cross-listed in the SIS for credit purposes, but they shouldn't be bound in 25Live because they don't need the same location assignment. They might look like this in the SIS:

  • HUM 110 01, MWF 0900-1000 (assigned to a large lecture hall)
  • HUM 110 02, MWF 0900-1000 (assigned to an overflow viewing room)

When smart binding checks the two eligibility questions:

  1. one answer is yes (the sections are at the same time)
  2. one answer is no (they are not assigned to the same location in the SIS)

Therefore, the meeting patterns will not be bound in 25Live.

If either of the sections were not assigned to any location, they would still fail the second eligibility question because their assignments are not the same. But if they were both unassigned in the SIS, they would pass the eligibility check and be bound in 25Live. Thus, if you want to ensure that two cross-listed sections meet in different rooms, give at least one of them an assignment in the SIS.



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