1. Purpose of procedures
1.1 The purpose of these procedures is to implement scheduling principles, organisational arrangements, and roles and responsibilities that underpin the production of the University timetable and use of central teaching space for learning and teaching activities. The procedures inform the business processes around the production of University timetables for all USC locations, excluding sites managed by third-party providers.
Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness.
Course Catalog refers to PeopleSoft Student (Campus Solutions) configuration where data is recorded for an offering in a course. This includes course title, units, workload hours, components, description, requisites, grading basis, offerings, field of education, bands, clusters, course attributes etc.
Course Component indicates the part of the course offering in which students enrol eg lecture, tutorial, computer lab, workshop. One course may have multiple components.
Non-timetabled courses are courses that do not require USC physical space resources and are setup for enrolment purposes only.
Specialist Space refers to rooms that are designed for specific purposes and only approved usage allowed. Ie Laboratories (Nursing, Science), visualisation Studios, Immerse Labs, Performance Centre etc.
2. Timetable development
2.1 The University will produce a constraints-based timetable for every teaching period, using data provided by the Schools. Typically, the constraints will include:
- class sizes
- room capacity
- room attributes required for particular classes (location – campus, building, room type, AV equipment, etc.)
- teaching staff availability, travel times between campuses, clash-avoidance
- student pathways through a program of study to ensure a certain number of places in a set of classes are clash-free
- staff and student load and convenience (no more than a certain number of hours in a day, no late finish/early start, lunch-hour free within a certain period, etc.)
- preferences for course delivery in certain time-ranges (e.g. daytime offering vs after-hours)
2.2 Constraints may be entered as ‘hard’ (must be met) and ‘soft’ (preferred, but not absolute).
2.3 Students will be encouraged to enrol for the full year in advance, and at the course level, allowing more accurate estimates of class sizes to be available for the timetable construction process. Enrolment in courses for the following year will typically open in October, with class selection dates opening closer to the commencement of the relevant teaching period. Students may be offered priority class selection opportunities as incentives for timely enrolment.
2.4 Heads of Schools should endeavour to complete staff teaching allocations prior to publication of the final timetable, so that this data can be used to inform the constraints-based process.
3. Development timelines
3.1 The final timetables for the forthcoming teaching periods will be published on the University website at least two weeks prior to the open enrolment date for the study periods. Ideally, a final timetable will be available to students two months prior to each semester, and similarly for trimesters and sessions.
4. Timetable construction
4.1 Data collection
The following data is collected for timetable construction:
- determining the teaching spaces available for inclusion in the timetable. In consultation with Facilities Management, determining what new spaces are available and what existing spaces may be unavailable due to renovations and refurbishment
- ensuring that the resources and seating levels in the teaching space are accurate and current and are compliant with health and safety requirements
- collating the data collection and updating the timetabling software with the information supplied by the Schools and Campus Leads.
- details of the courses that are to be available for the relevant teaching periods
- any changes to the Schools course portfolio, including new or discontinued courses
- information on the anticipated enrolment numbers in the course to be offered across all USC Campuses (excluding third party managed sites)
- the components for each course
- a listing of potential constraints
- details on the staff who are part of the teaching team for the courses to be timetabled
- specific learning and teaching space requirements for courses.
4.2 Draft timetable
4.2.1 The Draft timetable will be provided for review prior to the release of the published timetable and the Draft Timetable Feedback form will be available at this time for Course Coordinators, Program Coordinators and/or Campus Leads to provide further timetable information.
4.2.2 Course coordinators, Program Coordinators and Schools are responsible for the provision of course component information that is compliant with PeopleSoft, data is supplied to the timetabling team by the deadlines advised by this team during the creation of the timetable for each study period.
4.3 Timetable Clashes
4.3.1 A clash occurs where two required courses as part of the program have a clashing timetable (ie: are scheduled at the same time/day) AND the clashing courses are to be taken during the same teaching period and year of the program. The Timetabling Team will endeavour to resolve this clash by moving one of the course components or advise school of other resolution options for students.
4.3.2 The timetable may allow for a clash between a required course and a listed elective course for a program. This shall be avoided wherever possible and every attempt shall be made to maximise the choice of clash free elective courses except for free choice electives.
5. Post-publication of the timetable
5.1 All requests for changes to the ‘published’ timetable relating to a change of date and/or time will require the approval of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).
5.2 All changes after the timetable is published should be kept to an absolute minimum.
5.3 Requests for changes must follow the ‘changes after publication’ procedures provided by Student Business Services.
5.4 Valid reasons for change after timetable publication are: the result of circumstances, which could not reasonably be foreseen at time of timetable development, such as:
- Unexpected staff turnover
- Health or safety hazard
- Unplanned work required by Information Technology Services or Facilities Management
6. Post Publication Changes
6.1 Where students find they have clashes within the Study Period they may consult with Student Services and Engagement for investigation if the clash is with courses required for their recommended study sequence.
6.2 Where clashes are the result of student progression being out of sync with their recommended study sequence, the clash may not be able to be resolved, which may increase their duration of time at study in order to complete their program. Alternatively a Course Coordinator may approve a time conflict permission.
6.3 Where clashes are the result of a student being out of sync with their recommended study sequence and it is their final semester, timetabling may investigate if a clash free change may be available to resolve the clash. Where it is not possible to accommodate this change, the Course Coordinator may approve a time conflict request.
6.4 Non-Viable classes are only removed from the timetable with approval from the Head of School and if the students enrolled in the nominated non-viable classes can be moved to another class for their course without causing clashes.
6.5 Class that have been scheduled but not utilised (ie no students enrolled) will have the bookings removed from the beginning of week 3 to the term, i.e. week 3 of semester 1 or 2, etc.
6.6 The timetable team will only schedule into specialist spaces with the approval from appropriate parties, regardless of specific requests from Schools and Course Coordinators. Should a course require a specialist space, the Schools and Course Coordinators must specify reasons/requirements for their course/s to be scheduled into specialised/owned spaces. These reasons will be presented to the owners of these spaces and only if the space owners agree, will classes be scheduled into the requested venues.
6.7 The School identified as the designated ‘owner’ of a double degree is responsible for consulting all relevant partner teaching areas, to ensure that required courses are clash free and there are sufficient courses available for a full-time student to undertake.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Information Technology Services
Student Services and Engagement
Heads of School or equivalent (or delegate)
Program Coordinators/ Discipline Leaders