Blocks of unavailable time or slots on your schedule are called "blackouts" or "blackout times." When you use Starting Availability Management to set staff and resources' hours, WCONLINE adds blackouts to fill the unavailable blocks of time. For example, if your center's hours are 10 am to 7 pm, and you set a tutor to be available on Mondays from 3 pm to 5 pm, there are blackouts that repeat every Monday from 10 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 7 pm.
When you need to change staff or resources' hours mid-semester, you can work with blackout times to adjust which times are available vs. unavailable. (And blackouts do not have to repeat; for example, you can add a blackout when someone needs to be out one afternoon.)
Go into Blackout Times Management from the welcome menu to reach the default schedule, or using the calendar with an "x" at the top left of your schedule to switch to Blackout Times Management on the schedule you are viewing.
If you are not sure how to visualize how blackout times work, think of them as either appointments for being unavailable, or, physically, as little solid blocks that have to cover up the correct lengths of time on the schedule. They can be made longer or shorter for adjustments, or they can be canceled to remove them completely.
Staff and resources who/that are unavailable for any whole day do not appear on the schedule view for that day, so someone looking at your schedule does not have to look through a list of unavailable staff and resources. On the schedule view, you can click to open and work with any existing blackouts that you can see. In Blackout Times Management, you can click to open and work with any blackouts, including ones that fill the whole day, and create new blackouts.
- If you are setting up a schedule, to set everyone's hours, use Starting Availability Management, which is much less work than adding blackout times. And, do not use blackout times to add unavailable times that are the same, such as Friday afternoons.
- When creating new blackout times to make permanent schedule changes, our support team consistently finds it best to recommend making weekly repeating blackouts on one day of the week at a time, because it is easy to come back later in the semester to edit blackouts that you know are the same on one day of the week. For example, most people like having a blackout that may look the same on Mondays and Wednesdays but be sure that, if the staff member changes their Monday availability only, all Mondays can be edited alone and in one step. There is not a problem with making blackouts that repeat on multiple days of the week or every day, as long as those are convenient to work with, so we do sometimes recommend different repeating frequencies.
- As with a repeating appointment, if you create a blackout and forget to make it repeat, go to the next week and create another new blackout, remembering to use the repeating options. But, remember that the first week's blackout (the individual one) and the next week's blackout (the start of the repeating series) look identical but were not created as part of a single repeating series. To make a change and apply the change to all the blackouts, start with the second week.
- If you are using slot scheduling, you will see "slot," or your term for slots as defined in language options in Global System Settings, instead of times. Since time-based scheduling is more common and times allow us to give a variety of examples, almost all our instructions refer to times. You can read our instructions assuming that, for example, replacing "10:00am" with "slot 1" with works in every scenario.
SECTION 1: Going Into Blackout Times Management
SECTION 2: Repeating Blackouts
SECTION 4: How to Use Blackouts