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I have a scheduling system, that is used to schedule multiple courses events. To each event students and resources (instructors) are assigned.

I would like to provide email notification to resources upon allocation, event time change, students assignments X days prior event start date. Also sending the students notifications upon changes

The problem that I am facing and trying to solve is that the users potentially can receive multiple notifications (Schedulers can make bulk changes to the schedule which will cause sending multiple notification (one per event)).

I thought about sending one message for all events but I think that sending a message that says your schedule has been changed instead of providing detailed and focus info like what has changed will have no value to the user.

Has anyone had to deal.with a similar problem?

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Speaking as a user, the more repeated emails I get, the less likely I want to look through them. The quick answer: a single email containing all relevant schedule changes for the upcoming day would be best.

For example: I may receive an email Thursday night informing me two of my event locations on Friday were changed.

That being said there are exceptions to this, especially regarding timing. Here are some questions whose answers may affect your design:

How often do room assignments, event times, and assignments change?

If changes occur infrequently, a one-to-one change-notification system may work just fine.

How far in advance of the event does the scheduling body inform your system that something has changed?

If something can change last minute, you definitely will want to send out notifications. I wouldn't mind a heap of notifications if they make sure I get to where I need to go on time.

Do the majority students have access to email on their smartphone?

If not, you may want to consider other options such as SMS.

  • Thank you very much. Schedule changes can happen at any time both far from event start date and very close to event start date. Do you think that providing the scheduler (who changes the schedule) the option to send an on demand notification based on a predefined template, so he will not have to type it all every time, is a good approach? It will definitely ensure that everyone gets only the important emails, but it will require the user to actually send it and it will not be automatic by the system – Silagy Mar 2 '18 at 13:40
  • I don't think much should change on the input side: the scheduler person will make a change to the event, and based on timing conditions, notifications will go out. – Alan Mar 2 '18 at 13:43
  • But the could me cases that the scheduler made mistakes and move the event several times within the defined timeline that notification should be change. In that case the system will send multiple notifications for the same event. – Silagy Mar 2 '18 at 13:47
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    If an event is moved and/or a scheduler incorrectly inputs data several times, that's really out of your control. I don't think you should fret over the edge cases of the system; design it to handle 90% of the normal use cases. Once that's solid and you understand how the schedulers/students respond to the system, look into the edge cases. – Alan Mar 2 '18 at 13:52
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    @Silagy, you could batch the notifications based on how far away the event is or the severity of the change. An event that's a month away may have a two week grace period for updates, when it's a week away the notifications may bump to every couple of days. A room change that's still in the same building is of a different severity level to a location in a different subject. The users may not care about the former until just before the event but they will care about the latter much earlier. – Wes Toleman Mar 25 '18 at 6:17

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