Mimosa is well known in the education community as a versatile scheduling and course-planning application that's used in schools and universities around the world, but it's also suitable for business, industry, nonprofits, and any place that can benefit from better scheduling and planning. Though the full package is a substantial purchase, Mimosa Small School Edition is freeware. It's fully functional but has some limitations, such as saving only 100 "codes" compared with the full package's 8,000 plus. However, that's more than enough to help smaller schools and institutions improve their scheduling and planning.
Mimosa allocates resources and avoids scheduling conflicts automatically by using unique Codes to identify combinations of Components, which are all the available resources of the school or institution, for example, classes, teachers, and rooms. Collections are sets of Components defined by requirements, and Courses are sets of Collections defining all teaching requirements. There's also the Timetables function, which creates matrix views composed of the previously mentioned building blocks plus Bookings, which prevents scheduling conflicts and unintentional assignments. Then there's user-definable Categories, such as Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced; and Block scheduling, Intake scheduling, Cycling timetables, and numerous other functions are designed to make it easy to create, schedule, book, and recycle lesson plans, course schedules, timetables, lectures, and reports. This sounds like a lot, but Mimosa's "field-tested" interface, intuitive functionality and layout, helpful wizards, and high degree of interoperability between its various features and tools make it surprisingly easy to use. We recommend spending some time with Mimosa's comprehensive Help file, but we were surprised by how easy it was just to start right up with the default settings (in our language of choice) thanks to frequent pop-up explanations that help new users over each bump. The Help file and Web site each offer tutorials as well as access to the large Mimosa community.
Despite Mimosa's unique concepts and structure, it ably fulfills its objective of making the everyday job of teaching much, much easier, as educators and institutions in more than 68 countries have already learned. For small schools with limited budgets, Mimosa's freeware version is an easy A.