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Course Scheduling Principles

Course Scheduling Principles PDF version

The following course scheduling principles were developed for several reasons important to the smooth functioning of a core mission of Vancouver Island University, namely the delivery of courses in a timely manner to our students. The principles are a central group of operational guidelines that provide an institutional perspective to the timetabling process by capturing practices that have been understood but not written down; and providing further clarity in areas where differing needs come into conflict. The principles are intended to assist Faculties in the delivery of the most course offerings to students, at times which maximize their ability to fit those courses into their schedules, by making the best use of available space within budgetary and contract constraints. They will also provide agreed upon parameters if the Institution decides to adopt a software approach to timetabling.  Implicit within these principles are practices that are in keeping with Vancouver Island University’s desire to increase its commitment to environmental, social, and economic sustainability by ensuring long-term sustainable use of our resources.

Courses will be scheduled with a priority placed on enabling students to reach their educational goals; students should be able to take courses needed for graduation in a timely manner. Classes should be scheduled to avoid student timetabling conflicts and allow for as much choice as possible.

  1. Demand for courses will be measured, through either pre-registration or data analysis, and scheduled courses should reflect this demand.

  2. All space belongs to Vancouver Island University. Instructional departments are allocated space for periods of time based on proven need and from time-to-time dedicated space may be re-equipped and re-assigned. Annual reviews of utilization and course demand will inform allocation decisions.

  3. Where the factors determining the scheduling of a course concern more than one Faculty, more than one department, or more than one campus, it is expected that consultation will take place in order to coordinate activity.

  4. Within the next three years a Course Scheduling Committee will be established to oversee all practices regarding course scheduling, and will include a representative from Facilities. Functions of this committee may include facilitating consultations regarding course scheduling and devising solutions to course scheduling dilemmas.

  5. Faculty workloads and schedules will comply with the VIUFA and BCGEU Collective Agreements.

  6. The Space Allocation Group makes all decisions regarding the allocation of space for course scheduling, including decisions regarding requests for additional dedicated space.

  7. Space Definitions:
    • Dedicated Space:
      A space that has been designed and equipped with a specific purpose in mind and it is therefore commonly impractical for such space to be made available for use by other programs or departments. These types of spaces typically have equipment that is purchased and maintained by the specific departments and programs that use them.
    • Temporary Dedication:
      If a space does not meet the criteria for Dedicated Space in (a) above, it may be considered for a temporary dedication based on the nature of the use of room. For example, some programs/courses have pedagogical requirements for a fluid delivery pattern that necessitates a room be available to them on a regular basis for varying timeslots. Decisions regarding temporary dedications will be made by the Space Allocation Group on a case-by-case basis and are subject to annual review.
    • Allocated Space:
      A space that a program or department has been allowed to use for its own functions in the most efficient and effective manner possible in accordance with the Ministry of Advanced Education space standards.
    • Shared Space:
      A space that is allocated to more than one Faculty during the same time period. Certain days of the week or times of the day will be allocated to specific Faculties, often based on historical usage. Shared space is commonly lecture theatre or computer lab space.
  1. To the extent possible, the pedagogical needs of a course should determine the type of room assigned.

  2. Courses will be scheduled to optimize space utilization. Program areas with similar delivery time models will share space so as to minimize conflicts.

  3. VIU operates on a 6-day workweek (Monday – Saturday).

  4. Faculties should aim for consistency when determining the start and end times for courses and the days of week they will be delivered. Efforts will be made to standardize timeslots and thus enable students to take courses across departments and Faculties without conflict. This principle does not apply to stand-alone programs provided that the rooms allocated to their program are fully-utilized.

  5. No more than 50% of courses within a Faculty can be scheduled so that they start and end between 10:00 AM and 2:30 PM Monday to Thursday.

  6. Requests for additional space made by Faculties that can demonstrate that they have used all of their allocated timeslots/rooms will be given priority over requests made by Faculties that cluster their courses during prime time, high utilization periods.
    • Instructional activity will have priority access to classroom and lab facilities over meetings and events.
  1. Persons with disabilities will be accommodated with regard to course scheduling up to the point of undue hardship for VIU.

  2. For rooms allocated to Faculties offering Diploma and Degree programs that follow the regular academic semester system, room allocations are removed in March each year. After rooms become unallocated, any department or program may book them for any course.

  3. For rooms allocated to Faculties offering programs that do not follow the regular semester system, allocation removal dates may be adjusted to best reflect the course scheduling needs for the program. Allocations should be removed as soon as possible after courses scheduling has been completed.

  4. The timetable for courses related to Diploma and Degree programs that follow the regular semester system is published for students in early May each year. After this time any changes to course schedules must be approved by the Dean.

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