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Procedure: Timetabling

Purpose

To provide a student focused timetable that will support face to face teaching and learning with minimal clashes while optimising the use of available teaching spaces, resources and facilities. The timetable is produced through collaboration from stakeholders across all colleges and schools and the Timetable Office according to the procedure set out in this document.

Procedure

General Principles

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The Timetable Office is responsible for:
  1. producing and circulating a detailed timetable production timeline to all relevant stakeholders;
  2. data collection and validation of the required inputs for the timely production of the timetable;
  3. releasing the draft timetable for feedback from colleges and schools, according to the circulated production timeline;
  4. publication of the final timetable as outlined in the circulated production timeline;
  5. managing and maintaining the stability of the timetable;
  6. liaising with relevant staff and approvers as required for processing changes and resolving timetabling conflicts;
  7. communicating timetable-related (especially, changes) information to any impacted parties (for students, this is pending a system that allows communication to be automated);
  8. ensuring centrally available teaching spaces are efficiently utilised; and
  9. six weekly summary reporting of timetable changes to Deans, Teaching and Learning Development Committee, and Director of Facilities and Services.

  1. Teaching staff are responsible for:
  1. providing the Timetable Office (or College/School timetabling contact) with the data required for timely production of the timetable; and
  2. reviewing the draft timetable and providing feedback within the two-week period specified in the timetable production timeline.
  1. The College/School Timetabling Contact manages and assists in co-ordinating the timetabling requirements of the College/School by:
  1. providing accurate information at the time of data collection, including submission of staff unavailability approved by College Dean, or delegate, checking actual class sizes against projected enrolments;
  2. coordinating any subsequent changes/adjustments that will impact the timetabling requirements; and
  3. facilitating timetabling-related communications amongst academic staff and through to Timetable Office.

Teaching Staff Availability

  1. Continuing full time academic staff are available to teach during 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday, unless a written unavailability request has been previously approved by the staff member’s College Dean or their delegate and submitted to the Timetable Office in accordance with the deadline published by the Timetable Office at http://timetable.anu.edu.au, or differently by mutual agreement subject to particular course requirements as approved by the Dean of the College.
  2. Valid reasons for staff unavailability that may be approved by the College Dean include:
  1. family responsibilities and caring commitments that cannot be accommodated through alternative arrangements within the requirements for flexible working hours in the applicable Enterprise Bargaining Agreements;
  2. restricted availability due to illness or disability;
  3. other pre-existing professional engagement activities with mandatory attendance that cannot be rescheduled (for example, Medical School staff unavailability due to clinical priorities);
  4. inflexible administrative commitments, such as attendance at meetings as a member of University Council, Academic Board, and College Executives and the Committees and Subcommittees of each of these;
  5. restrictions on the grounds of religious belief/practice; or
  6. specific and agreed research obligations.
  1. Overall, staff need to maintain an availability of 35 hours per week for teaching within standard hours, after deduction of any of the above exceptions.
  2. These unavailability rules do not apply to part-time, casual or honorary staff.

Timetable Production Timeline

  1. A detailed timeline for the timetable production is released by the responsible Timetable Office and aligns with deadlines regarding the notification of course establishment and availability. The timeline specifies deadlines for:
  1. collection of data required for timetabling (detailed below);
  2. review of draft timetable;
  3. publication of final timetable; and
  4. allocation of students to tutorials (noting transitional arrangements for 2019).
  1. The schedule of dates is published on the website http://timetable.anu.edu.au. This include deadlines for submission of data and updated information during the collection and/or validation stage, release of draft timetable, submission of feedback on draft timetable, and publication of final timetable.
  2. A detailed timeline documenting each stage of the timetabling production process for the following year is circulated to all relevant stakeholders at the end of March each year and published at http://timetable.anu.edu.au. It includes:
  1. detailed requirements from each stakeholder including data collection and/or validation;
  2. deadlines for submission of staff unavailability approvals in the required format;
  3. release date of the draft timetable;
  4. deadline for change request for the draft timetable; and
  5. date of release of the final timetable.

Data Required for Timetabling

  1. Colleges/Schools will provide the Timetable Office with the following data according to the deadlines outlined in the timetable production timeline:
  1. programs of study in which each course is included, including core courses and electives;
  2. classes on offer for each semester;
  3. teaching pattern and method of delivery, including contact hours, class sizes based upon initial estimates from Planning and Performance Measurement Division (PPM) for lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars, etc;
  4. resource requirements – type of space and technology requirements;
  5. where known, teaching staff;
  6. teaching staff unavailability; and
  7. requests in relation to medical and mobility considerations.

Timetabling and Room Allocation

  1. Class teaching activities are spread evenly over the week (8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday) and staff that have unavailability patterns that do not utilise all days of the week and available teaching hours may be given lower priority in room allocation.
  2. Where a course is taught at the Acton campus, at least one class free hour in each week of semester during the core teaching hours is set aside for student-based activities which is allocated as at 1pm - 2pm Thursday (suspended for the 2019 academic year).
  3. Intensive classes scheduled for the whole day on Thursdays during semester at the Acton Campus are required to break between 1pm and 2pm (currently not mandatory for the 2019 academic year)
  4. Timetabling and room allocation for central teaching spaces, shared department, and departmental teaching spaces agreed to be made available to the Timetable Office, is the responsibility of the Timetable Office.
  5. The University ensures it meets its health and safety obligations and classes cannot exceed the size of allocated rooms except as directed from time to time by the University’s Risk and Audit Committee.
  6. Where possible, rooms made centrally available by schools are allocated to classes as first preference for that school.
  7. Frequency of use of rooms made centrally available to Timetabling will be communicated to each school by the Timetable Office.
  8. Time slots for school allocated rooms not required by the Timetable office are released back to schools two weeks after semester starts.
  9. In the build of the timetable consideration is given to a range of constraints.
  10. General constraints include:
  1. Programs of Study (PoS) used to minimise student clashes determined by a methodology that combines historical enrolment trends, program orders, and expected changes in the upcoming academic year;
  2. anticipated class enrolments allocated to venues will not exceed the specified room size; and
  3. fluctuations in enrolment numbers will impact the type of venue allocated.
  1. Additional constraints include:
  1. staff and student access and mobility requirements;
  2. staff constraints as detailed in the Teaching Staff Availability section; and
  3. occupational, health and safety requirements.
  1. Additional equity considerations include:
  1. the number of 8am starts teaching staff are allocated during the week;
  2. best endeavours made to avoid early teaching on a day following late teaching on the previous day;
  3. continuous teaching limited to four hours within one day, unless otherwise indicated by academic staff;
  4. two hours attendance for school meetings and adequate time for specific and agreed research obligations approved under 5.f.
  1. Other priority constraints include:
  1. activities running in all weeks of semester have priority over classes running in a fewer number of weeks in the semester;
  2. activities with large enrolments are prioritised due to less room choice;
  3. teaching activities that require specialised equipment are allocated over those that have standard equipment requirements; and
  4. specialist location, zone and equipment requirements.
  1. The timetable includes all centrally timetabled teaching activities. A transitional arrangement is in place for 2019 to gradually increase the early release of tutorials and labs.

Production and Publication

  1. A working document title ‘draft timetable’ will be prepared and published. The timetable will remain in draft form for two weeks during which time the colleges and schools are responsible for checking:
  1. adequate provisions have been made for the required activities; and
  2. teaching staff are made aware of their required teaching hours.
  1. Colleges and schools are responsible for providing timely feedback and requesting changes to the draft timetable to the Timetable Office.
  2. Changes to the draft timetable are only permitted as described in the Timetable Changes section and must remain in line with the objective of a student focussed timetable.
  3. The final timetable is published on the web at: http://timetable.anu.edu.au. Upon publication, changes can only be made to the timetable for extenuating circumstances as described in Timetable Changes section.

Timetable Changes

  1. All requests for changes before the publication of the final timetable (draft timetable) are for the following valid reasons:
  1. location becomes a health and safety hazard or no longer meets mobility requirements for students and staff;
  2. unexpected staff turnover;
  3. changes to class activity type; and
  4. other unexpected events outside of the control of the college/school.
  1. Once students have enrolled in their courses and indicated their preferences for tutorials and labs, the Timetable Office will assign students to their tutorials and labs, and generate a personalised timetable. As this is dependent on some automation, a transitional arrangement will be in place for 2019.
  2. All requests for changes after the publication of the final timetable are for extenuating circumstances and require approval from the College Dean or delegate. Impact to students must be minimised and detailed in the request. Valid reasons include:
  1. unexpected increase/decline in enrolment numbers;
  2. unexpected staff turnover;
  3. mandated changes to research requirements unknowable at time of initial availability submission;
  4. location becomes a health and safety hazard or no longer meets mobility requirements for students and staff;
  5. a class is no longer on offer;
  6. other unexpected events outside of the control of the college/school; and
  7. creation of a new course but cannot guarantee clash-free scheduling and depends on available resources.
  1. All requests for changes are submitted via the form on this link by the College/School timetable contact. A form is completed for every change required, unless the course is co-badged and only one form is required. If a course is co-badged, the requestor needs to have coordinated the change with the other Convener/Lecturer.
  2. The Timetable Office notifies the College/School timetable coordinators and the original change requestor of the outcome of the request in writing.
  3. Colleges/Schools notify all students of any changes to the timetable after final publication.

Escalations

  1. The Timetable Office is responsible for ensuring that clashes are avoided where possible and resolving timetable disputes in the first instance. The proposed resolution will seek to minimise impact on students and staff, while optimising room utilisation.
  2. For the creation of the timetable:
  1. an automated submission reminder is sent to all relevant staff if a response has not been received three business days before the due date;
  2. an automated request for urgent submission is sent to all relevant staff if a response has not been received by 4:30pm on the due date;
  3. in the first instance, non-complying submissions (e.g. invalid reasons for staff availability) will be referred back to the submitter for review and resubmission;
  4. each College/School timetable contact will be informed of non-compliant or late submissions at 9am of the first business day following the due date. They resolve issues and ensure compliant submission within two days;
  5. non-compliances and non-submissions unresolved as at the end of the third day post due date are escalated to Heads of Schools to resolve;
  6. non-compliances and non-submissions unresolved as at the end of the third day post due date are escalated to Deans to resolve; and
  7. the Timetable Office advises the Registrar of non-compliances or non-submissions unresolved by the end of the 6th working day, who attempts to resolve them with the relevant Dean. Issues that remain unresolved at the end of the 7th working day will be escalated to the DVCA.
  1. For requested changes:
  1. the Timetable Office will seek to resolve any requests with the requestor and indicate any reasons why the change cannot be accommodated as requested; and
  2. any timetable change requests that cannot be resolved by the Timetable Office are referred to the Registrar, Student Administration in the first instance and thereafter to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

Non-Teaching bookings

  1. If a teaching space is not in use for timetabled activities, it may be booked for ad hoc purposes.
  2. Non-teaching venue hire bookings within the Teaching and Learning Commons, not related to a specific course, are made by the Teaching & Learning Commons Support service, venuehire@anu.edu.au, Facilities & Services Division after the teaching period timetable has been finalised, typically week three of each semester.
  3. Venues are available to internal and external parties and may incur fees in limited instances.

Reporting

  1. To assist with managing adherence to the policy, every six weeks reporting is submitted to the Senior Management Group (SMG), the Teaching and Development Committee, and Director, Facilities and Services. The report contains data on the following:
  1. compliance to deadlines set by the Timetable Office for each College; and
  2. number and type of change requests processed by College/School.

Information

Printable version (PDF)
Title Timetabling
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_005009
Version 6
Purpose To provide a student focused timetable that will support face to face teaching and learning with minimal clashes while optimising the use of available teaching spaces, resources and facilities.
Audience Students, Staff-Academic
Category Academic
Topic/ SubTopic Students
 
Effective Date 8 Jan 2019
Review Date 20 Dec 2021
 
Responsible Officer Registrar, Student Administration
Approved By: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Contact Area Division of Student Administration
Authority Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000
National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018
Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015