Timetabling & central teaching space management policy

Increases in taught postgraduate numbers and in CPD-style delivery of modules and courses have resulted in increasing pressure on teaching spaces, which are currently used inefficiently.

With these issues in mind, Learning and Teaching Board, at its meeting on 24 June 2009, considered and endorsed amendments to the University's Timetabling and Central Teaching Space Management Policy. The Board also gave its approval to proceed with a study to investigate the feasibility of implementing an automated scheduling system such as those already used, or in process of implementation, at peer institutions (1). The feasibility study will involve an assessment of the information required for automated scheduling and how this data might best be obtained. Parameters that will be considered when determining the best method of auto scheduling include: priority of staff availability; staff teaching patterns to balance research and teaching time; no teaching on Wednesday afternoons; student module choice; priority of the type of teaching; priority of use of space for teaching; and the sequencing of events on a teaching timetable.

In order for this pilot study to be of value, it will need to take into account all teaching currently held in central teaching space and faculty and school rooms. The Board therefore endorsed: 1) the undertaking of a consultation exercise with schools and faculties over the summer to determine the data required for the study; and 2) a requirement that school timetablers allocate all staff to their teaching activities in the timetabling software Syllabus Plus by end October 2009 for the 2009/10 teaching timetable so that this data can be fed into the pilot. We are very much aware that this involves timetablers in some schools and faculties in additional work so the end of October date is designed to give everyone time to complete this important task.

Changes or additions to the Timetabling and Central Teaching Space Management Policy, together with information on the automated scheduling feasibility study, are set out in the LTB paper which is available at the following link http://papers.leeds.ac.uk/ShowDoc.aspx?DocID=1874. The revised policy can be viewed at http://www.leeds.ac.uk/timetable/policy.htm.

In brief, the key changes or additions to current timetabling and Central Teaching Space management procedures and practices include:

(a) evening activities should be booked in the following buildings only: Parkinson Building; Worsley Building; Baines Wing; Leeds University Business School; Clothworkers' Building South and Michael Sadler Building, except in the case of exceptional one-off events which cannot be accommodated in these designated buildings;

(b) classes should not normally be scheduled after 1pm on Wednesday afternoons;

(c) the user is responsible for adhering to the published seating capacity limits for rooms within Central Teaching Space; exceeding these limits could result in health and safety risks;

(d) all University of Leeds students should, wherever possible, be provided with a personalised timetable available online via the portal, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In order to achieve this, the following procedures should be followed:

  • Allocation of students to lectures and group activities in cases where students are randomly allocated is the responsibility of Timetabling and Room Bookings;
  • Allocation of students to groups in cases where the allocation is prescriptive is the responsibility of the teaching school;
  • Student allocations should be updated on a daily basis to ensure that student timetables are as up to date as possible;

(e) module clash reports will be provided to all schools by Timetabling and Room Bookings on a fortnightly basis from the beginning of May to the end of February in the following year;

(f) clashes between single activities on compulsory block modules are unacceptable. In the event of a clash being identified, one or both activities must move in order to resolve it. The parent school is responsible for ensuring that any such clashes are resolved. Any clashes that cannot be resolved should be referred to the appropriate Pro-Dean(s) for Learning and Teaching. Every effort should be made to reduce clashes between compulsory/optional modules and optional/optional modules within a programme of study;

(g) wherever possible, bookings for all ad-hoc (non-teaching) activities should be made via the University's web room booking facility.

Any questions or concerns should be raised with Dr Tessa Mobbs by e-mail: t.mobbs@adm.leeds.ac.uk

Professor Vivien Jones
Pro Vice Chancellor (L&T)

(1) In doing so, it noted particular difficulties faced by the Faculty of Medicine and Health

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