About COWS

Law: Event Scheduling and Notification System

Conceptual Review

In 2006 the Law School developed a room scheduling system for King Hall to facilitate the scheduling of rooms for various activities and events. The system enables students, faculty, and staff to send requests for room reservations; the Dean’s Office is able to monitor these requests and approve or deny them based on organizational needs.

The proposed system is the next evolution of this project; it will build on this existing system and add increased functionality. The goal is to provide a comprehensive event scheduling and notification system. While initially focused on the School of Law, it could be developed to accommodate multiple departments if a campus need for this application exists.


Jamie Butler – Director of Information Technology, School of Law

This is a Conceptual Review

Designed to solicit comments very early in the planning process, a project concept briefly describes the basic elements of a proposed project, typically in 1-2 pages. It is not expected that all aspects of the proposed project will be described at this stage, as the purpose of the conceptual review is to provide feedback before major project decisions have been made.

To View Conceptual Description


Core contributors to this review included Pamela Davis (School of Education), Chip Mrizek (Graduate School of Management), Bob Ono (IET), and Everett Wilson (Academic Personnel). Comments were solicited from the Dean’s Technology Council (DTC), Technology Infrastructure Forum (TIF), ADMAN (Administrative Management) Group, Staff Assembly and other constituent groups.

Feedback Received to Date (2/17/2010)

Revision History

Initial feedback and sponsor response
Sponsor's update and next steps added


Sponsor's Update and Next Steps

While there are several Commercially available off-the-shelf solutions for scheduling events, no system currently does what has already been developed in the Law school. Building on our existing system will reduce the total costs to the campus and provide this much needed functionality to other campus units.

A key principle of this project is to deliver the data to where people use it. With this in mind, the Scheduling System will integrate with various applications including Google Calendar, Outlook, and iCal. Customized feeds will allow users to select the data they are interested in. Web services and XML data feeds will enable departments to display data in any location they choose, including departmental websites.

One of the strengths of our existing system is its integration with campus systems such as Banner and the CMS. Banner integration is instrumental in reducing employee processing time. The Banner data link enables the system to automatically import course schedules into the system.

The Law School will be partnering with IET ATS to develop digital signage systems that seamlessly integrate with the Scheduling System and the Campus CMS. The Campus CMS will be leveraged to build dynamic digital signage applications using the data from the Scheduling System. Combined, these two systems provide an end-to-end solution for digital signage in any department.

Moving forward, the Law School will consult with various departments to ensure that the system design will meet their needs. While we have already identified a few interested parties, we continue to be open to new stakeholders. After a brief consultation period an updated system design will be available for comments.

Reviewer Observations and Comments

Reviewers expressed interest in the project concept, offering advice and suggestions in several areas (see below).

Reviewer Suggestions and Advice

Data Entry and Consumption Mechanisms

Reviewers agreed that the human involvement with actually entering the data will be a critical point, offering the following value-added items to increase the project's chance of success:

  • Integration with google calendars, the student email program, and allowing those staff and faculty that want/need it to subscribe to iCal feeds. Making it easy for the users to profit from the data entry increases the perceived value of the data entry.
  • Making some of the data web friendly for public facing websites and displays will also create a greater chance of success with the new system.

Sponsor: Agreed. We envision multiple ways to consume this information. The system itself would provide a web view of the calendar, an iCal feed, and xml data for publishing through the Web CMS. There would also be webservices. The idea is that we can create multiple interfaces so the users can acquire the information in any format they are most comfortable. Ideally, this would increase adoption across the board. It should be noted that this system can also be used for Digital Signage. We currently use the information in this system to drive the digital signage in King Hall. We would create a template for other departments to use through the campus CMS. This value add is that any department could very easily create dynamic digital signage for their building(s).


The long-term funding issue is interesting as this project could create a model for other future projects. Could you treat this as a self-supporting activity in which case you could work with the ORMP experts to establish a recharge rate (or even a suite of rates)? For potential expenses to look out for, one reviewer offered the following thoughts:

  • Routine code maintenance costs shared by all -- this could be a set annual contribution with an advisory committee forming a list of priorities and an oversight committee setting the priorities.
  • Hardware costs shared by all
  • Custom programming - could cost be mitigated by customized features later used by other departments?
    • Custom programming provided by partner (trusted) departments:
    • SOL cost of integrating custom programming
    • Standards to be met by partner department
    • Ideally set expectations of provider department up front
  • Customer support - could be an independent hourly charge or a "free" number of hours per year per department (unit) covered by a set contribution.

Commercial-Off-The-Shelf Solutions

Chip Mrizek from the Graduate School of Management (GSM) advises that there are several commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products available to provide this kind of functionality. The GSM chose Event Management System (EMS) by Deans, Evans, & Associates (DEA), which appears to do everything that the proposed system describes. It might be worth looking at the GSM system and seeing how much it would cost to expand licensing to cover the Law School. Some functionality that the EMS system includes is as follows:

  1. Web accessible for students, faculty, or staff to reserve space, or identify external events. Has ability to integrate with LDAP and AD, although, we did not use these modules as our students aren't in our AD and decided to simply tie authentication in with CAS and handle account management through database scripts.
  2. Has iCal functionality that allows people to add appointment to their personal calendaring systems (i.e., Google).
  3. Has a client plug-in that integrates with Outlook, which allows staff to schedule rooms through their Outlook calendar scheduling assistant.
  4. Has a component that integrates directly with Exchange, so that when a person schedules an appointment through the web, it adds the appointment to the invitees' Exchange calendar.
  5. Allows you to identify room setup/teardown times for events
  6. Provides a mechanism to reserve loaner equipment (i.e., projectors, laptops, PA systems, flip-charts, easels, etc) for a meeting
  7. Has room search capabilities based upon occupancy limits, room layout, room features (e.g., fixed A/V equipment), etc.
  8. Has integration for Banner which allows you to import courses from Banner, use the EMS room wizard to identify best fit for courses to rooms, then write information back to Banner. The GSM has investigated this module, but currently does not use it.

    Additional information: http://www.dea.com

Campus IT Architect Review

No comments.

Campus IT Security Coordinator Review

The proposed project represents an application that could be broadly used by UC Davis units. If the project moves forward to support multiple departments, it would be helpful to understand the extent to which the design will take advantage of integration with the new identity and access management system and Kuali Rice middleware services.