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Timetabling Policy

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Section 1 - Application and Scope - Exclusions or Special Conditions

(1) This Policy applies to all courses on Wollongong main campus.

(2) This Policy applies to courses offered at satellite campuses as well as courses offered in block mode.

(3) This Policy does not apply to courses offered at offshore campuses and Sydney Campus of Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong.

(4) This Policy does not apply to other institutional events such as academic forums, meetings, presentations and professional development. Room bookings for these events can be made using the Casual Room Booking Guidelines.

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Section 2 - Purpose of Policy

(5) The purpose of this Policy is to achieve coordinated and consistent timetabling practices across the University of Wollongong which will facilitate the timely production, publication and management of class timetables.

(6) The Timetabling Policy has been developed to :

  1. ensure that the timetable for the forthcoming academic period will be published at a time, and in a manner, that provides students with the necessary information to plan and finalise their enrolment;
  2. support quality teaching and learning;
  3. schedule classes at times and in locations that will facilitate student attendance;
  4. ensure that students enrolled in a standard program are able to attend classes in all compulsory core subjects and have a reasonable selection of electives from which to choose;
  5. optimise the use of university teaching resources and facilities;
  6. respond to variations in student enrolments; and
  7. minimise the number of amendments made to the timetable following publication.
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Section 3 - Equity Considerations

(7) The University is committed to the principles of employment equity and diversity and eliminating harassment and discrimination. There are circumstances, particularly in relation to carer’s responsibilities, disability and work/life circumstances, where staff and students may require reasonable adjustment (accommodation) with the timetable.

(8) Students and staff requiring reasonable adjustment (accommodation) in relation to timetabling should, as far as possible, ensure their request is made in advance of the timetable being developed.

(9) For staff, the request must be made through the Head of Academic Unit and the Faculty Executive Manager. The Head of School will be required to consider and, where appropriate, provide endorsement for the request. The Faculty Executive Manager will be required to consider and, where appropriate, approve the request.

(10) For students the request must be made by registering with Student Accessibility and Inclusion Team, where a disability is the reason for reasonable adjustment (accommodation). All other requests should be directed to a Head of Students of the Faculty.

(11) If the matter cannot be resolved, staff should contact the Associate Director, Student Equity and Success and students should contact the Director, Student Administration Services Division.

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Section 4 - Timetable Development

Timetable Preparation

(12) The University class timetables will be produced ahead of enrolments. Academic Units will be required to submit all timetabling data to the Timetabling Services and will need to include the following information:

  1. subjects that are to be taught in each session;
  2. anticipated enrolment numbers for each subject;
  3. delivery structure and contact hours for each subject;
  4. class sizes e.g. Lecture = 100, Tutorials = 25;
  5. type of room required g. Tutorial, Lecture theatre etc;
  6. preferred campus zone for class location;
  7. teaching technology requirements;
  8. the staff teaching each class, as agreed with the Head of the relevant academic unit within the framework of the Academic Position Classification Standards;
  9. programs of study for each course – indicate which subjects are mandatory and which are elective;
  10. any travel times that may apply e.g. Wollongong to Loftus; and
  11. requests for reasonable adjustment (accommodation).

(13) The collection and submission of all timetabling data will be the responsibility of the Academic Unit Timetabling Officer (AUTO).

(14) All timetabling data is to be submitted by way of the approved data collection applications as designated by the Timetabling Services and in accordance with the timetable production schedule outlined in clause 16.

(15) AUTO's will be provided with training and support by the Timetabling Services in the use of timetabling applications and procedures prior to, and throughout, the timetabling process.

Production Schedule

(16) The timeline for the production of the yearly class timetables can be viewed at https://intranet.uow.edu.au/ard/timetabling/index.html.

Course and Subject Offerings

(17) Faculties and Schools/Units should finalise their course and subject offerings for the forthcoming academic year in accordance with the subject approval processes to coincide with the Subject Database rollover. The subject database rollover typically takes place in September of each year.

Teaching Times

(18) The University’s classes will only be scheduled between 0830 to 2030, Mondays to Fridays. Exceptions to this are classes taught in block mode which can be taught on weekends, subject to approval by the relevant academic unit.

(19) Classes are scheduled on the half hour and generally in multiples of 60 minute blocks. Class start and finish times are to be in accordance with clause 18. This may vary for Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong classes scheduled at Satellite Campuses.

(20) Classes will commence at 25 minutes to the hour and will conclude at 25 minutes past the hour. This allows a 10 minute buffer for:

  1. venues to be vacated;
  2. staff and students to move between venues and get settled for their next class; and
  3. class set up time.

(21) Common lunchtimes are designated from 1230 to 1330 on Wednesdays and Thursdays of session times. No classes are scheduled during these times unless requested by Academic teaching staff. This may vary at Satellite Campuses.

Staff Availability

(22) Staff wishing to vary their teaching availability or who are seeking reasonable adjustment (accommodation) are required to seek approval using the Staff Special Consideration/Reasonable Accommodation Form.

(23) All approved requests for staff special consideration and reasonable adjustment (accommodation) are to be submitted to Timetabling Services and must be received by Timetabling Services prior to the commencement of scheduling of classes for each relevant session. Refer to Timetable Production Timelines.

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Section 5 - Timetable Production Procedure

Class Scheduling Process

(24) The scheduling of class timetables is undertaken by the Timetabling Services in accordance with the timetable production timelines outlined in clasue 16. Timetables are routinely rescheduled each year and as such day/time/room allocations will vary from year to year. During the class scheduling process a number of factors will determine the day/time/room allocation of classes including:

  1. Class scheduling parameters are 0830 to 2030 Monday to Friday;
  2. Classes are allocated evenly across the entire teaching week, i.e. Mondays to Fridays;
  3. Class sizes will not exceed the size of allocated venues;
  4. Larger classes generally have a priority over smaller classes;
  5. Classes that are conducted on all/majority weeks of session generally have priority over those that are conducted on a minor number of weeks;
  6. Activities requiring specialised teaching facilities generally have priority over those requiring standard facilities;
  7. Where possible, classes will be scheduled at times that are suitable for staff and students in accordance with equity considerations outlined in section 3;
  8. Fluctuations in enrolment numbers can impact on the type of room allocated;
  9. Staff constraints (refer to clasuse 22 and 23); 
  10. Student availability to attend classes (e.g. students on clinical or practical teaching rotations);
  11. Course constraints; and
  12. Room availability.

Travel between Campuses

(25) Same day attendance at more than one campus should be kept to a minimum in order for students to undertake core subjects in standard programs.

(26) Staff travelling between campuses needs to advise their AUTO so the relevant information can be factored into the timetabling process. This will ensure that the relevant staff member’s teaching load is not compromised. 

(27) To minimise the need for students to travel between campuses Faculty/School staff should consider:

  1. Scheduling classes on the students’ campus, i.e. taking the class to the students rather than bringing students to the classes; and
  2. Applying flexible delivery alternatives to their teaching.

Meeting Times

(28) An agreed 2 hour time block will be kept free for each school to schedule all meetings – e.g. Faculty, School/Unit and research meetings etc. Two or more schools may not be scheduled at the same time however they may overlap by an hour. Additionally no meetings, including University committee meetings are to take place during the common lunch periods of 1230 to 1330 on Wednesdays and Thursdays during session times, unless requested by Academic teaching staff. This may vary at Satellite Campuses.

Draft Timetables

(29) At the completion of the class scheduling process for each academic session a draft timetable will be distributed by Timetabling Services to AUTO's. The AUTO's will be responsible for circulating the draft timetable to academic staff within their Unit for review and feedback.

(30) A period a period of not less than 10 working days will be included in the Timetable Production Timelines for staff to review the draft timetable.

(31) Should staff wish to request changes to the timetable they can do so in accordance with the Timetable Change Request Procedure.

Late Submissions

(32) Late submissions of timetable data will be accepted by Timetabling Services. However these activities/classes will be allocated to the best day/time/room option that is available at that time and within the parameters of any constraints that apply to those classes.

(33) Late submissions are considered to be any timetable data submitted to the Timetabling Services after the deadline for submission of timetable data for the relevant session as outlined in the Timetable Production Timelines.

Resolving Timetabling Issues

(34) All timetabling disputes and issues are to be directed to the relevant Faculty/School. The AUTO will then liaise directly with the Timetabling Services in the first instance to achieve a satisfactory outcome. When resolving timetable disputes and issues, the following factors will be considered:

  1. Teaching activities take precedence over non-teaching activities;
  2. Justification must be provided for requiring a specific day/time/venue;
  3. Whether alternative teaching space/time is available;
  4. The extent to which the alteration of existing arrangements will impact other staff and students;
  5. A degree of sharing of undesirable days/times/venues must be maintained;
  6. Specialist teaching spaces should only be used for designated purposes (e.g. laboratories);
  7. Activities requiring specialised teaching facilities (e.g. teaching technology) have priority over those requiring standard facilities;
  8. Requests made prior to the publication of the timetable will be given priority over those made after publication;
  9. Larger classes have priority over smaller classes except for specialist teaching classes;
  10. Activities which occupy large blocks of time have priority over those which occupy small blocks of time; and
  11. Students or staff with disability issues takes precedence over other considerations, unless this causes unjustifiable hardship.

(35) The Timetabling Coordinator is responsible for resolving timetable disputes and ensuring that clashes are avoided. Any issues that cannot be resolved by the Timetabling Coordinator will be referred to the Director, Student Administration Services Division in the first instance and thereafter to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life) and the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor for their adjudication in any unresolved issue/s.

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Section 6 - Publication of Class Timetables

(36) Class timetables will be published via the Timetabling Services intranet page (staff access) and the Subject Timetable Webpage (public access).

(37) Class timetables will be published in accordance with the Timetable Production Timelines.

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Section 7 - Timetable Changes

(38) Staff and students of the University organise their activities around knowledge of their timetable, consequently, changes to the published (Web) timetable should be kept to a minimum. It is the responsibility of the relevant Academic Unit to ensure that information used to prepare the University timetable is accurate and subsequent changes are only made for valid reasons. Valid reasons for changes include:

  1. Unexpected surge/decline in student enrolment numbers;
  2. Unexpected staff turnover;
  3. A location is/becomes a health or safety hazard;
  4. A subject is deemed no longer viable;
  5. Technology failure;
  6. Reasonable adjustments to accommodate students and staff with special needs; and
  7. Data errors and/or omissions.

(39) Should changes to the timetable be necessary they will be dealt with in accordance with the Timetable Change Request Procedure.

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Section 8 - Workplace Health and Safety

(40) Issues related to overcrowding in teaching venues should be addressed by referring to the Overcrowding in Teaching Spaces Procedure.

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Section 9 - Roles and Responsibilities

Timetabling Services

(41) Timetabling Services is responsible for managing and coordinating the production of class timetables within the University. This Unit is also responsible for the use of teaching or other booked space including casual room bookings as well as overseeing the use of the timetabling software, Syllabus Plus.

(42) Timetabling Services is responsible for:

  1. developing, distributing and monitoring the production schedule for class timetables;
  2. producing, publishing and maintaining the timetable;
  3. developing and maintaining procedures and policies relating to timetabling and room usage;
  4. maintaining and developing the corporate timetabling system, including training and support for system users; and
  5. ensuring that all University teaching space is used efficiently.

Academic Unit Timetabling Officers

(43) For all timetabling matters each Academic Unit will nominate a Academic Unit Timetabling Officer (AUTO) to act as liaison between the respective Academic Unit and the Timetabling Services. The responsibilities for this position can be found in the Academic Unit Timetabling Officer Roles & Responsibilities.

Academic Teaching Staff

(44) Academic Teaching Staff are responsible for:

  1. providing to their AUTO's, in a timely fashion, all relevant timetabling data associated with the subjects and courses they will be teaching in the forthcoming academic year;
  2. reviewing draft timetables and providing feedback to the relevant AUTO within the specified period as outlined in the Timetable Production Timelines;
  3. reviewing web timetables prior to the commencement of session classes to ensure they have the most up-to-date timetable information, refer to section 6; and
  4. advising AUTO's of scheduled classes that will no longer be running so as classes can be cancelled and rooms reallocate

(45) The expanded list of Academic Teaching staff responsibilities are set out in Timetabling Procedures for Academic Staff.

Head of Academic Unit

(46) Heads of Academic Units will consult with Academic Teaching Staff and Academic Unit Timetabling Officers to ensure that the timetable data submitted to Timetabling Services by the AUTO takes into account the range of possible duties outlined in the Academic Staff Position Classification Standards.

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Section 10 - Related Documents

(47) All relevant documentation referred to in this Policy is available at the Timetabling Services intranet page.

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Section 11 - Definitions

Academic Teaching Staff
Anyone who is teaching an activity/class which has a subject number.
Academic Unit
School or program group within a faculty.
Academic Unit Timetabling Officer (AUTO)
Point of contact within the Academic Unit for matters relating to timetabling.
Block Mode
Full day teaching sessions that could run continuously for a number of days or weeks.
Class
Any teaching activity that has a subject number which requires a venue and/or teaching resources allocated and is required to be published to the university’s timetable website.
Timetabling Services
Responsible for managing and coordinating the production of class timetables within the University.
Core Subject
A subject which is compulsory for course completion. Also known as a mandatory subject or a compulsory core subject.
Course
A program of study that leads to an award.
Course structure
Course structure refers to the specific program of subjects which a candidate undertakes to meet the requirements of a course as specified in the Award Rules and the Course Handbook for the year the course was commenced. Also referred to as a Program of Study or a Degree Structure.
Data Collection Applications
Software approved by the Timetabling Services to be used in the collection of timetabling data.
Elective Subject
A subject which a student may select from a number of nominated subject options which count towards course completion.
Offshore Campuses
Any campus outside Australia.
Reasonable adjustment (accommodation)
Special facilities or equipment employers must provide to enable a person with a disability to do their job. Reasonable adjustment does not include changing the inherent requirements of the job. An exception to reasonable adjustment is when ‘unjustifiable hardship’ can be proven by the University.
Satellite Campuses
Bega, Batemans Bay, Moss Vale, Southern Sydney, Shoalhaven, Innovation Campus.
Standard Program
Combination of subjects in which a student is enrolled and is based on one year of full-time study being equivalent to 48 credit points.
Student
A person registered for a course including those registered for non award courses.
Syllabus Plus
The corporate timetabling software.