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Timetabling Policy

The Timetabling Policy comes into effect from 2009/10 onwards. The latest version was revised on 8th December 2011. You can access this as a pdf here.

Copies of the Staff Teaching Exemption forms can be accessed here.

If you require a large print copy of these documents please contact the Central Timetabling Office on ext: 4877 or via email at timetabling@bath.ac.uk

 

1 SUMMARY AND OVERVIEW

1.1 Purpose and scope

1.1.1 This document sets out the University ’s policy, procedures, roles and responsibilities in respect of:


1.2 Guiding principles

1.2.1 To support the delivery of the highest quality learning and teaching to students at the University.
1.2.2 To ensure that students are taught in the most appropriate teaching accommodation.
1.2.3 To provide easy access to timely and accurate timetabling and room booking information via the internet.
1.2.4 To optimise the utilisation of the University’s general teaching space.

 

1.3 Definitions

1.3.1 CTO – Central Timetabling Office.
1.3.2 GTA - General Teaching Accommodation. Space used for teaching and timetabled centrally.
1.3.3 Standard Programme - A programme with teaching delivered regularly during normal semester periods only and comprising compulsory units or a mixture of compulsory and optional units with no more than 10 individual options or option blocks per academic year or stage.
1.3.4 Departmental Timetabler – A person in an academic department who has been nominated as being responsible for the liaison between the CTO and the department.
1.3.5 Scientia – The company who produce the timetabling software.
1.3.6 Syllabus Plus (S+) / Enterprise – the name of the timetabling software.
1.3.7 WRBS – Web Room Booking System

 

2 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

2.1 Central Timetabling Office

2.1.1 Plan and co-ordinate the construction and production of the University teaching timetable in liaison with departmental timetablers.
2.1.2 Produce a diary of key dates to be published in the Academic Administration Calendar and on the University’s timetable website that outlines dates for collection, submission and publishing of timetable information for the forthcoming academic year.
2.1.3 Allocate teaching space in accordance with University policies.
2.1.4 Mediate and assist in resolving timetable clashes.
2.1.5 Maintain the University’s timetable website.
2.1.6 Provide user support to all Scientia Timetabling software users in the University.
2.1.7 Liaise with Audio Visual/Estate Services over the need for physical resources.
2.1.8 Manage the web room booking system.
2.1.9 Periodically conduct room audits and provide statistical data as required.

 

2.2 Heads of Department / Heads of School

2.2.1 To manage the timetabling process within their Department or School in accordance with this policy.
2.2.2 To ensure that Departmental/School inputs into the timetabling process are completed in a timely and accurate fashion, according to the procedures outlined in section 3 below.
2.2.3 To ensure that staff availability to teach is managed in accordance with the precepts articulated in section 4.4 below.
2.2.4 To be responsible for ensuring that their programme structures changes are produced on time and that no further changes are made to programme structures for that year.
2.2.5 To be responsible for ensuring that appropriate departmental staff are aware of the guidance on student unit changes (up to date advice can be located within the Programme and Unit Catalogue web site -
http://www.bath.ac.uk/catalogues/information/students/changing-units-advice-to-stus-final.pdf)

 

2.3 Departmental Timetabling staff

2.3.1 Liaise with academics to collate required timetable data and feed back information relating to teaching patterns.
2.3.2 Check draft, provisional and final timetables to ensure academic quality and clash limitations.
2.3.3 Liaise with the CTO on unit, staff and target information.
2.3.4 Advise all students when changes occur.
2.3.5 Keep CTO up to date on rooms no longer required.
2.3.6 Inform the CTO of any students who have a disability and will therefore require specific rooms. Further guidance can be found on the ‘Timetabling arrangements for disabled students’ web page on the University’s timetable website http://www.bath.ac.uk/timetable/senda-timetabling-for-disabled-students-v02.pdf .

 

2.4 Academic staff

2.4.1 Read and check timetables when published and advise the Departmental Timetabler of errors as soon as possible. This must be done before the
deadline for the final timetable production.
2.4.2 Adhere to the latest version of the published timetable. Bookings can be checked for the programme or unit by going to http://www.bath.ac.uk/timetable/
2.4.3 Notify the Departmental Timetabler of teaching requirements and inform them of cancellations or additional teaching activities so that, where appropriate, web timetables can be updated.
2.4.4 Start and finish lectures promptly to allow smooth changeover (classes start at 15 minutes past the hour and finish at 5 minutes past the hour).
2.4.5 Ensure teaching spaces are left in a clean and tidy condition (ensure whiteboards/chalkboards are cleaned at theend of each class), and furniture is returned to its standard configuration.
2.4.6 Ensure availability for teaching during all University teaching hours except when Head of Department/School has approved exemption on the basis of equalities and diversity (e.g. caring responsibilities). Head of Department/School must indicate approval on the Staff Teaching Exemption form.

 

2.5 Students

2.5.1 Check published timetable as it appears on the University website and advise the relevant Departmental/School Timetabler in the event of:
. clashes between chosen optional units (n.b. some clashes between optional
units may be unavoidable, and alternative unit choice will be advised)
. special arrangements required as a result of disability.
2.5.2 Regularly check the timetable website for changes, additional activities, room changes etc.
2.5.3 Students are expected to be available for all teaching weeks. Those involved in sporting fixtures may request permission from academic staff to be absent from teaching events on Wednesday mornings in order to travel to fixtures. It is the responsibility of the student to make-good for any such absences.

 

3. PROCEDURES

3.1 Timetable Construction

    1. Timetable Construction

Month

CTO responsibility

Departmental responsibility

January

Start of semester 2

For the week prior to the deadline for students to register/change units produce the SEMESTER 2 overfull unit list for publication on the timetabling website.
Make any target changes/ liaise with Department Timetablers about potential room swaps.

Ensure the CTO are kept up to date on target changes and room size issues
Ensure that Programme and Unit changes meet deadlines to ensure the Programme Catalogue is delivered on time.

February

Build the new database using data from the current year.
Download information to produce the information for data collection process.

Ensure that all information about new units, staff, target numbers, staff availability and specific timetabling requirements are recorded via the data collection process.

March

Enter programme structure information into the Scientia Timetabling software from the Programme catalogue as soon as available.

Finish data collection process by the deadline given.  (Teaching rooms are allocated on a best fit basis, it is therefore extremely important that accurate group sizes are given at the construction point.  When specific rooms are requested these will be accommodated if possible, but constraints such as room size availability and facilities may make it necessary to schedule into alternative rooms.)

April

Complete transfer of departmental timetabling request data to the Timetabling software

Continue to keep the CTO up to date on any new units or staff
Ensure returning students complete on-line unit registration process.

May & June

Continue entering data and start scheduling teaching activities.

Continue to keep the CTO up to date on any new units or staff.

July

Send the DRAFT Semester 1 programme timetables to the Departmental Timetablers on the first Friday of the month. NOTE: Timeslots and rooms are not guaranteed until the final timetable is published.

Review and check the Semester 1 timetable to ensure that all teaching activities have been entered correctly and resourced appropriately – this includes ensuring that staff and locations are assigned to the correct activities.  (Comments are to be returned to the CTO by the deadline given.)

August

Send the PROVISIONAL Semester 1 programme timetables and individual staff timetables to the Departmental Timetablers in the middle of the month.  Changes are made from the comments received in accordance with the principles set out in 4.5.1 and 4.5.2.

Review and check the Semester 1 timetable to ensure that all teaching activities have been entered correctly and resourced appropriately – this includes ensuring that staff and locations are assigned to the correct activities. (Comments are to be returned to the CTO by the deadline given.)

September

Send the FINAL Semester 1 programme timetables and individual staff timetables to the Departmental Timetablers at the beginning of the month.  Make the Semester 1 timetables available on the web
Start scheduling Semester 2 units.

Distribute the timetables to staff and students and post on notice boards etc.

October

Start of Semester 1

For the week prior to the deadline for students to register on/change units produce the Semester 1 overfull unit list for publication on the timetabling website.
Make any target changes/ liaise with Department Timetablers about potential room swaps.

Send the DRAFT Semester 2 programme timetables to the Departmental Timetablers in the middle of the month.

Ensure the CTO are kept up to date on target changes or timetabling issues

Review and check the Semester 2 timetable to ensure that all teaching activities have been entered correctly and resourced appropriately – this includes ensuring that staff and locations are assigned to the correct activities.

November

Send the PROVISIONAL Semester 2 programme timetables and individual staff timetables to the Departmental Timetablers at the end of the month

Review and check the Semester 2 timetable to ensure that all teaching activities have been entered correctly and resourced appropriately – this includes ensuring that staff and locations are assigned to the correct activities.  (Comments are to be returned to the CTO by the deadline given.)

December

Send the FINAL Semester 2 programme timetables and individual staff timetables to the Departmental Timetablers before the start of the Christmas vacation.  Make the Semester 2 timetables available on the web.

Distribute the timetables to staff and students and post on notice boards etc.

 

3.2 Ad-hoc room bookings

3.2.1 Staff and students can request a room booking via the University’s WRBS at:
http://www.bath.ac.uk/timetable/roombookings A guide to using this service can be found at;
http://www.bath.ac.uk/timetable/roombookingshowto and a step by step guide to booking a room; http://www.bath.ac.uk/timetable/WRBS%20guide.pdf
3.2.2 Bookings made via the WRBS will first be acknowledged as a provisional request then confirmed via e-mail.
3.2.3 Weekday evening booking requests must be received by 4pm to allow time to inform Security and other relevant staff of the booking. Weekend bookings must be received by 4pm on the preceding Friday.
3.2.4 Audio visual equipment, regardless of whether there is already equipment in the room, should be booked through the Audio Visual Unit (a.v.bookings@bath.ac.uk).
3.2.5 Ad-hoc bookings for staff and students are free of charge.


3.3 Accessing timetabling information

3.3.1 All timetabling information is available via the web. Any changes made to the timetable in the Scientia Timetabling software are automatically updated on the timetable web pages.
3.3.2 Programme of study, unit and location information is available at: http://www.bath.ac.uk/timetable/


3.4 Teaching Rooms

3.4.1 Smoking is not allowed in GTA rooms. Eating or drinking is not allowed in any GTA rooms unless by prior arrangement with the CTO. Refreshments will not be allowed within tiered lecture theatres.
3.4.2 The furniture within each room is set out in a particular way to conform to the University’s teaching requirements. Wall diagrams illustrate the correct arrangement and rooms must be returned to this layout at the end of each session.
3.4.3 Rooms should be left clean and tidy, with boards cleaned.
3.4.4 Activities within GTA rooms should not cause a disturbance to anyone else.
3.4.5 All teaching spaces are provided with a writing board (chalk or whiteboard) and an OHP. Any other audio visual equipment should be booked in advance with the Audio Visual Unit using their online booking form that can
be found at http://www.bath.ac.uk/bucs/services/audiovisual
3.4.6 All users of centrally timetabled rooms are required to abide by University Regulations covering meetings etc on University premises, and by the University’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Expression (http://www.bath.ac.uk/regulations/) Regulation 19.
3.4.7 All room problems should be reported either on a Teaching Room Problem Report form that can be found in the room, or to the Audio Visual unit.


4. POLICY

4.1 Teaching Times for standard Programmes and Units


4.1.1 The University operates over two semesters, eleven teaching weeks in each, plus a revision week. Induction takes place the week before Semester 1 teaching commences.
4.1.2 Teaching takes place Monday to Friday. The standard teaching day is 08.15 to 19.05. Wednesday hours are 08.15 to 13.05 for undergraduate students.
4.1.3 All rooms should be vacated by five minutes past the hour to allow time for students to vacate the room and enable the following session to start on time at fifteen minutes past the hour. This timing allows for interchange of students and installation of equipment.

 

4.2 Teaching on non-standard Programmes and Units

4.2.1 All teaching that takes place at the main Bath campus must be noted on the University timetable. This includes Programmes and Units seen as non-standard, i.e. taught at a different time or in a different manner to a
standard unit. This would include block taught units, residential units, Summer schools, twilight teaching etc.
4.2.2 Information regarding non-standard Programmes and Units will be gathered at the same time and in the same manner as that for standard Programmes and Units.
4.2.3 Activities on these units may take place at any time agreed with CTO and the academic department concerned, including evenings and weekends and in weeks generally designated for other purposes (including University assessment and vacation weeks.)


4.3 Timetabling

4.3.1 Teaching activities take precedence over non-teaching activities. Bookings for Departmental Open Days and UCAS may be requested as part of the timetable construction process however, due to the demand on teaching
space there is no guarantee that rooms required will be available.
4.3.2 All teaching activities must be timetabled in the Scientia Timetabling software, regardless of whether they take place in GTA or departmentally managed rooms. This enables provision to staff and students with a complete timetable and ensures clashes are avoided.
4.3.3 The CTO will ensure that for standard programmes compulsory activities do not clash with each other. Every effort will be made to ensure that, for standard programmes, optional activities do not clash however due to various timetabling constraints some clashes between optional units may be unavoidable.
4.3.4 Teaching will not be arbitrarily scheduled at the same time every year or, in instances where year long units take place, at the same time in both semesters.
4.3.5 Timetable clashes should be resolved, where possible, prior to the final publication of the timetable. At each iteration of timetable publication the number of students affected by a clash will be identified and a solution sought. Timetable complexity will mean this cannot always be achieved.
4.3.6 Allocation of GTA is the responsibility of the CTO.
4.3.7 For standard programmes every effort will be made to ensure that students do not have an 08.15 and an 18.15 class on the same day.
4.3.8 Access for students with disabilities is a priority and will be accommodated wherever possible.
4.3.9 Regular, full semester, bookings take precedence over ad-hoc or sporadic teaching.
4.3.10 Part-time students will attend fewer teaching activities but there is no University commitment to block teaching on specific days or within specific weeks unless specified within the programme structure.
4.3.11 For standard programmes, wherever possible, students will not be assigned more than four consecutive hours of teaching without a break.
4.3.12 Class sizes should not exceed the size of the room allocated.


4.4 Availability to Teach

4.4.1 Full time staff and students will be expected to be available to attend teaching within the standard University hours, 08:15-19:05.
4.4.2 Staff with a regular caring responsibility for a dependent may request that teaching does not take place at specified times to enable them to carry out the caring commitment. Notification of an agreement made with the Head of Department/School should be made on the Staff Teaching Exemption Form at the data collection phase. Staff will then be required to have the form signed by their Head of Department/School, and to submit the form to the CTO.
4.4.3 Availability of part-time staff should be notified to the CTO in the data collection phase via the Staff Teaching Exemption Form.
4.4.4 Research days will not be recognised as a valid reason to restrict availability to teach.
4.4.5 Restrictions imposed by external commitments should be considered carefully by Heads of Departments, or equivalent, in line with their timetabling responsibilities as outlined in section 2 above. Where deemed valid these will normally be categorised as “desirable”, rather than essential constraints. The CTO should be informed via the Staff Teaching Exemption form signed by the Head of Department/School.


4.5 Timetabling changes and changes to room allocation

4.5.1 Once the provisional timetable has been issued, requests to change this timetable as a result of changes to teaching personnel or to the personal circumstances of staff declared available to teach will not be accommodated
if there is a consequent adverse impact on the timetable as a whole (such as the need to change the timetable for another programme or give students lectures at the extremes of the day). It will be expected that such events
will be managed by the Head of Department or School through reallocation of existing resources.
4.5.2 Once the provisional timetable has been issued no changes will be made due to changes of methods/teaching patterns. This includes changes to patterns of staff teaching on a single lecture series if it causes the timetable to be
altered resulting in an adverse impact on the timetable (such as the need to change the timetable for another programme or give students lectures at the extremes of the day).
4.5.3 Once the final timetable has been issued, requests to change this timetable as a result of changes to teaching personnel or to the personal circumstances of staff declared available to teach will not be accommodated. It will be expected that such events will be managed by the Head of Department or School through reallocation of existing resources.
4.5.4 Departments are responsible for notifying all staff and students affected by a change.
4.5.5 The CTO may occasionally need to move a class to a different location if the room for example, needs to be decommissioned for maintenance purposes. Department Timetablers will be advised of any changes.


4.6 Ad-Hoc Room Bookings

4.6.1 Ad-hoc room bookings during teaching hours will not be confirmed until after the final timetable has been published though may be requested before this time via the WRBS.
4.6.2 Rooms that are not scheduled for use during the timetabling process may be booked for ad-hoc purposes via the WRBS.
4.6.3 Students, clubs and societies may use the WRBS.
4.6.4 Staff making ad-hoc room bookings for teaching e.g. rescheduled lecture, should indicate the unit/activity code in the ‘Reason for booking’.
4.6.5 ‘Out of hours’ evening/weekend bookings made after the publication of the Weekly Room List will be conveyed to the Security Office.
4.6.6 All bookings must adhere to the University’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Expression (http://www.bath.ac.uk/regulations/) Regulation 19.
4.6.7 All bookings must adhere to Health and Safety regulations (http://www.bath.ac.uk/internal/safety/safetypolicy).
4.6.8 Requests for rooms are subject to the booker agreeing to the terms and conditions (http://www.bath.ac.uk/timetable/Terms).


4.7 External Bookings

4.7.1 During teaching weeks external bookings requiring GTA space will be dealt with by the CTO.
4.7.2 The University’s requirement for rooms and facilities takes priority over external groups or organisations wishing to use the rooms. No changes will be made to the University’s teaching timetable to accommodate external use.
4.7.3 All external bookers must fulfil the Universities terms and conditions of use including providing evidence of Public Liability Insurance.


4.8 Equality and Diversity

4.8.1 In line with the University’s policy on equality and diversity, the University will make every effort to accommodate staff and students with, for example, disabilities, carer responsibilities, religious beliefs etc.
4.8.2 Students or staff requiring special arrangements should make their needs known ahead of the production of the timetable to ensure that any special arrangements can be accommodated, minimising post-publication changes to the timetable.