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Favorite feature: letting coaches pick rounds for when judges are available

Coaches are able to use text boxes when registering judges to let tourney admin know when judges are available (e.g., no Friday, no Rd 3). However, the tournament admin still has to take this information and manually enter “time strikes” so that the software does not assign a judge to a round when they are unavailable. To allow coaches to be as specific as possible as to when a judge is available AND to minimize data entry errors when admins process these restrictions, there is a feature to use “shifts”. Here is how this works:

  1. Admin goes to Settings…Judges and then picks a judge category. From there, click on the tab for “shifts”
  2. Enter specific shifts by providing starting and ending times/days. Be as specific as you wish. You can make it a whole day (e.g., “Friday”), a portion of a day (e.g., “Saturday morning”), or even a specific round time slot (e.g., “Speech Round 1”).
  3. For each shift, you need to select “Both”, “Sign up”, “Strike”. If you are just using for this for judges that are being entered by coaches and tournament admin, you can use “Both” or “Strike”. If you also wish to enable judges from outside a specific school to sign up to judge, you can choose “Sign up” [note: the “public sign up” option may be useful if you have many community volunteers judging or perhaps you are accepting hired judge requests. As the message at the bottom indicates, judges who sign up in this fashion are marked as inactive. Tourney admin has to manually activate them for them to get any assignments. See picture of a completed “shift set up”.
  4. Once the shifts are entered, coaches will be able to toggle certain time blocks on or off, depending on judges’ availability. When they register a judge, they will see the name of the judge as well as some of the other information the coach provided. They will also see a section about the judge’s availability. The default is “All rounds”. See below.
  5. If the coach clicks on “All rounds”, they see a new screen where they can turn judges on or off for different shifts.
  6. The default is that a judge is available for all shifts. When a coach clicks on the word “Available” next to a specific shift, the text changes to “Unavailable” and the “time strike” has been properly entered.

Tournament admin’s need to be careful when using this feature. It could potentially allow a school to provide fewer judges than what they owe for a round, leaving the tournament short-handed. We hope that coaches will understand that if John Smith is unavailable for Rd 1, then they should provide a different judge who is available for Round 1. The # of rounds each school owes should be the same for every time slot (at least in the preliminary rounds). One way to do this is for coaches to add a FEE on the Shifts set up page. If a school has too few judges in a time slot, they will be charged a fee. Even if hosts don’t collect this fee, they can run a report to see who was charged the fee. If schools manage the shifts correctly (i.e., meeting the required number of judges in each shift), then no fee will be added to the school’s invoice.

I have also used this feature when recruiting judges as volunteers or tournament hires. It lets them enter in their own availability. If you use this feature, then you must also turn on the Public Sign Up option (Settings…Judges, pick a judge category, and click on the “Hires” tab). On the Shift Set up screen, there is a note at the bottom about how the shifts for the public sign up work differently than the shifts for registration by coach. Please read that carefully.