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Scheduling Procedures - Australian teaching locations

Parent Policy

Scheduling Policy

1.    Students

The learning needs of students are of the highest priority in developing the timetable, reflecting the University's strategic goals of enhancing the student experience and learning outcomes. The primary purpose of scheduling is to create a timetable for students that aligns with the scheduling principles of early release, stability and flexibility to maximise student attendance and effective participation.

The timetable will be optimised to facilitate clash-free enrolment in core units, double degrees and maximise choice of elective units, wherever possible. However, a clash-free timetable cannot be guaranteed.

2.    Hours of Teaching 

The core teaching hours of the university are 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday. Faculty Deans can also approve teaching between 6.00pm and 9.00pm Monday to Friday to provide flexibility, support efficient use of facilities and facilitate access to specialist resources. Block teaching on weekends and extended hours can be arranged by agreement with affected staff.

Faculties will determine whether classes should be delivered during the day, or in the evening, depending on the particular student cohort and the requirements of the academic unit.

Students should expect to attend classes during the hours of teaching nominated by faculties.

3.    Managing space allocations

The use of rooms and facilities for learning and teaching activities will take precedence over other use requirements of the University, followed by requests for use by external persons, groups or bodies. No adjustments to the academic timetable will be made to accommodate external use aside from exceptional circumstances where specifically approved by the Chair of the Scheduling Services Group.

The following principles determine priority for use of shared space:

  • whichever faculty establishes that it needs specific facilities within the space and no other space is available with the same facilities
  • the scheduled class time cannot change and no other suitable venue is available at the same time.

Where conflict resolution is required, issues will be escalated in the following order:

  • 1. Group Manager, Scheduling Services
  • 2. Chair, Scheduling Services Group

4.    Creation of annual timetable

Scheduling Services will create a new timetable on an annual basis which will be based on the information provided by faculties (more detail provided in Section 7 of this document). The timetable will schedule classes for all teaching activities.

The scheduling process aims to achieve the best match for teaching and delivery methods, the efficient use of teaching space and technology and to maximise student choice.   

The key steps to create the timetable are outlined in the procedures below:

  • Confirm space availability
  • Plan student load
  • Collect data required for the creation of the timetable (including academic staff availability)
  • Schedule the draft timetable
  • Review of draft timetable
  • Publish the timetable
  • Post-publication timetable changes.

5.    Confirm space availability

Prior to the scheduling cycle, Scheduling Services will check availability and capacity of space types. As space requirements and load plans are received from faculties, Scheduling Services will discuss the implications of being under/over capacity with faculties, Buildings and Property Division, and eSolutions to support course, technology and facility planning. 

6.    Plan student load

Information generated by the annual load planning process led by University Planning and Statistics (UPS) will be used to help ensure that anticipated student numbers are accounted for when creating the annual timetable.

Scheduling Services will participate in relevant discussions with UPS, international recruitment and faculties to identify significant trends that are likely to impact the timetable, e.g. growth projections, changes to study modes, relocation of courses to different campuses.

UPS will share load plans submitted by faculties in July with Scheduling Services. Scheduling Services will provide current unit enrolments to faculties. Faculties are expected to use these two information sources to estimate future unit enrolment numbers in consultation with Scheduling Services.   

7.    Collect data required for the creation of the timetable

Faculties are required to provide data to Scheduling Services and adhere to minimum standards in relation to the data provided.

Faculties will provide the following data to Scheduling Services:

  • The units to be offered set up in Callista
  • The method of delivery of units
  • Space type and resource requirements
  • Academic staff unavailability and an indication of the amount of teaching which can be allocated to an academic staff member (taking into account their agreed academic workload allocations)
  • Unit enrolment estimates.

Late provision of necessary data will not be accepted as it results in inefficient scheduling and significant change to the timetable post-publication.

8.    Academic staff availability

Academic staff will nominate their unavailability for teaching activities for the following year to the nominee/s of the Dean at a prescribed date set by the Scheduling Services team. 

Staff are expected to be available during core hours (8.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday). A Dean may request classes be scheduled between 6.00pm and 9.00pm in consultation with academic staff. Any allocation of teaching outside of 8.00am to 9.00pm must be by agreement with affected staff members, giving consideration to the University's commitments to equity and diversity and Occupational Health and Safety (as articulated in the Scheduling Policy).

Valid reasons for academic unavailability between 8.00am and 9.00pm include administrative commitments, specific research obligations, part-time arrangements, agreed individual flexibility arrangements, family responsibilities, agreed leave arrangements (including scheduled leave for the Outside Study Programme), religious or medical reasons. Faculties can nominate periods where staff will be required for faculty administrative commitments and are not available to teach.

Any questions regarding the availability of an academic staff member will be referred to the nominee/s of the Dean.

The nominated availability of academic staff must accord with the staff member's workload allocation, the faculty or academic unit's academic workload model and the requirements of clauses 59 and 60 of the Monash University Enterprise Agreement (Academic and Professional Staff) 2014.

Faculties will submit academic availability to Scheduling Services.

When creating the timetable, Scheduling Services will apply the following restrictions where possible.

  • Allow for a one-hour break from teaching between the hours of 11:00am and 3:00pm.
  • Prevent early teaching (before 10:00am) on the morning following an evening when required to teach late (after 6:00pm).
  • Limit the number of continuous teaching hours in one day to four hours (except for special cases such as full day field trips and laboratories).
  • Limit the span of teaching (start of first class to end of final class) in a single day to eight hours.
  • Allow for attendance at school meetings, seminars and research conferences
  • Ensure adequate time is available for research activities, in accordance with an academic staff member's agreed academic workload allocations

It may occasionally be necessary to waive the restrictions where there are compelling reasons affecting the quality of the timetable and by agreement with the affected staff members.

9.    Review of draft timetable

The draft timetable will be available for review at the end of October. A two-week period will be allocated for the review of the draft, to provide feedback and request changes. Faculties will ensure academic staff are provided with an opportunity to comment on the draft timetable.

Scheduling Services will require timely feedback about the draft timetable from faculties and service providers such as the Buildings and Property Division and eSolutions. Consequent feedback will be reflected in alterations before the timetable is published.

Changes to the draft timetable will be allowed where they do not adversely impact the KPIs set by the Scheduling Services Group (SSG) and where they are consistent with student-centred timetabling objectives. Academic staff may request changes to the timetable provided their request is for a valid reason (as articulated in section 8 above) and has the agreement of the nominee/s of the Dean. Any concerns regarding the allocation of teaching activities to academic staff must be resolved within the faculty.

Once published, the timetable will not be amended unless there are extenuating circumstances impacting academic staff availability or for the other reasons outlined in section 10 below.

10.    Post-publication timetable changes

Scheduling is done on an impartial basis with regard to the University's principles of effective teaching and learning, optimal utilisation of space and facilities and student needs. This will mean that all faculties will receive a spread of teaching times. Staff will not be able to request a change to their teaching allocations unless there are exceptional circumstances affecting their availability which could not be foreseen in advance of the creation of the timetable. Faculties may authorise internal academic staff changes as long as these do not result in changes to the timetable.

Once the timetable has been published, changes to the timetable will only be made in exceptional circumstances.  Exceptional circumstances which may give rise to a post-publication change include:

  • To add classes for courses/units where actual demand exceeds forecast demand.
  • To remove scheduled classes if enrolment numbers are fewer than planned.
  • Unexpected staff turnover where a suitable substitute cannot be found.
  • A location becomes a health or safety hazard.
  • To make reasonable adjustments to accommodate students and academic staff with special needs.

11.  Engagement with key partners

Where possible, the development of the timetable will be integrated with other key University processes including load planning, changes to teaching delivery method, use of technology and infrastructure investment planning. This ensures that Scheduling Services are aware of changes likely to affect future space availability.

To ensure that processes interlink and key information provided in an accurate way, timelines for the creation of the annual timetable will be communicated to the faculties by April each year.

 Contact: Scheduling Services adm-timetables@monash.edu

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Version Number: 1.0Effective Date: 02-June-2016Contact: adm-PolicyBank@monash.edu