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Timetabling Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) The purpose of this Policy is to inform the University community of the principles and processes used to create the University teaching timetable.

(2) This policy applies to all synchronous learning and teaching activities scheduled on Western Sydney University campuses and online.

(3) This Policy does not apply to:

  1. Microcredentials
  2. Programs of study delivered through arrangements with an approved third-party partner that do not use Western Sydney University campuses or facilities
  3. casual room bookings 

(4) Asynchronous online learning activities can be accessed by students at any time and do not need to be timetabled.

(5) For information concerning the management of University facilities, refer to the University's Space Policy and Space Allocation Guidelines.  

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Section 2 - Definitions

(6) For the purposes of this policy, definitions that apply can be found in the Policy DDS Glossary, in addition to the following:

  1. Assigned Learning and Teaching Space means teaching locations designed for specific purposes, e.g., science laboratories, engineering laboratories, nursing clinical practice laboratories. 
  2. Asynchronous learning activity means educational activities, discussions, and assignments that engage students in learning at their own pace.
  3. Common Learning and Teaching Space means general, non-specialised areas used by the University community for teaching and other related activities.
  4. Draft Timetable means a working document produced by the Timetabling team and provided to enable School academic and administrative staff to identify and resolve timetable problems before the timetable is published.
  5. Mode of study means the method of delivery for a subject as outlined in Table 1: Modes of Study.
  6. Published Timetable means the version of the timetable published on the website and access by students via the class registration system.
  7. School means the Academic Unit responsible for delivery and teaching of a subject.
  8. Synchronous learning activity means an interactive learning activity in which all students are participating simultaneously e.g., tutorials.
  9. Teaching Activities means synchronous classes, tutorials, lectures, laboratories, studios, practical and other activities to support student learning and attainment whether they are held online or on campus.
  10. Timetable Data Collection means a period of time where timetable requirements are captured, reviewed and updated to inform scheduling of the teaching timetable.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

Timetable Principles

(7) The timetable will be designed to:

  1. Enable flexible and contemporary learning experiences in line with the University's Strategic Plan
  2. Meet the needs of staff and students, including those members of the University community that have special requirements related to a disability, carers’ responsibilities or religious beliefs
  3. Efficiently allocate and use the University's resources and facilities.

(8) All Teaching Activities must be timetabled and will be included in the Published Timetable.

(9) Teaching Activities will be timetabled based on a subject offering’s:

  1. Term, with Teaching Activities timetabled to commence at the start of the term and to conclude by the last week of term
  2. Campus, unless the subject requires access to an Assigned Learning and Teaching Space which is only available at another campus
  3. Mode of Study as outlined in Table 1: Modes of Study
  4. Other timetable requirements as outlined in approved subject documentation.

(10) Table 1: Modes of Study

  On Campus Online Hybrid
Characteristics Subjects that are taught wholly on campus using University facilities Subjects that are taught wholly online Subjects that are taught using a mixture of online and on campus facilities

(11) Schools are responsible for selecting the appropriate term, campus, and mode of study for their subjects and programs and for ensuring timetabling requirements are accurately captured in subject documentation.

(12) Asynchronous activities will not be included in the published Timetable.

Learning and Teaching Spaces

(13) All Common and Assigned Learning and Teaching Spaces must be booked via the University timetabling system.

(14) All Common and Assigned Learning and Teaching Spaces will be prioritised for teaching activities and only released for other activities including Casual Room Bookings once teaching activities have been finalised.

(15) The University will apply the following principles to the allocation and use of teaching facilities:

  1. Teaching spaces on each campus will be available for classes from Monday to Friday between the hours of 8am and 10pm
  2. Classes may be held on Saturday or Sunday where required by the program or subject
  3. Wherever possible, classes scheduled on evenings, weekends and public holidays will be consolidated in rooms and buildings rather than spread across teaching facilities
  4. Teaching activities will be allocated to resources as per the academic requirements provided, i.e., room size, equipment, space type
  5. Specialist teaching spaces that require technical lab support must be timetabled within the scope of hours determined by the managing School and technical support teams
  6. Programs or subjects with periods of professional experience or placement must only be timetabled for those weeks when students are required to attend a synchronous teaching activity, whether that is online or on campus
  7. Once a learning and teaching Space and time has been allocated, classes will be conducted within the scheduled times
  8. Teaching activities will normally commence on the hour and conclude 10 minutes before the hour to enable room changeover and allow students to move to the next class
  9. Classes must not be conducted in teaching facilities without being scheduled or booked within the University timetabling system.

Responsibilities

(16) The roles and responsibilities of staff involved in the timetabling of learning and teaching activities are set out in Table 2.

Position Title/Staff Responsibility in relation to Timetabling
Deans 
  1. have overall accountability to ensure appropriate School staff provide information to Timetabling in order to schedule subjects and programs offered by the School in accordance with the published timeline for publication of the timetable.
  2. hold authority to approve exceptional changes to the published timetable.
  3. may nominate appropriate Academic staff within their School to perform some or all of the functions under this policy.
  4. may appoint designated professional staff to be the liaison points between the School and Timetabling.
Director, Academic Programs or equivalent
  1. Provide program specific information to ensure timetable requirements are met.
  2. Support timely engagement during timetable data collection.
Subject Coordinators and Academic Staff
  1. Provide accurate information during timetable data collection.
  2. Verify the information in the draft timetable.
Timetabling
  1. Lead the development of timetabling timelines.
  2. Coordinate and action the phases of each timetable cycle - planning, scheduling, draft review and publication.
  3. Allocate teaching space effectively and efficiently, working with Schools regarding specialist teaching spaces.
  4. Deliver the appropriate scheduling of activities in accordance with approved teaching delivery.
  5. Provide support to allow for innovative teaching delivery.
  6. Provide timetable related communications and updates.
  7. Action approved change requests during draft and published timetable phases.
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Section 4 - Procedures

Planning and Scheduling

(17) Data Integrity, Quality and Operations will coordinate the annual data collection and scheduling of teaching activities to ensure timely release of the timetable to students.

(18) The number of classes initially scheduled in the timetable is based on previous enrolment patterns and strategic planning, such as anticipated growth or decline.

(19) Additional classes will be scheduled where enrolments exceed available class space.

(20) Classes with zero enrolments at the commencement of week three (3) of a main term or week two (2) of a shorter term will be cancelled and become available for other subjects.

(21) If scheduled teaching activities fall on a public holiday, Timetabling will liaise with the Subject Coordinator to schedule a make-up class on an alternative day, if required and if teaching space availability permits.

Timetable Publication and Changes

Draft Timetable

(22) A draft timetable for each term will be released to Schools for review to identify and resolve timetable problems before the timetable is published.

Published Timetable

(23) The University timetable is published in accordance with advertised dates and will only be published on the official University webpages.

(24) The timetable for each term will be published at a time and in a manner which permits all students to be informed of the timetable prior to the period available for class registration.

(25) To create a stable and reliable timetable for students, changes to the timetable post-publication will be minimised; valid reasons for change include:

  1. unexpected variation in student enrolment numbers
  2. unexpected academic or teaching staff changes
  3. reasonable adjustments to accommodate staff or students with special needs
  4. health or safety hazard.

(26) Timetable changes should consider the impact on students and make allowances where possible.

(27) Changes to the published timetable relating to a change of day/time or mode of study will require the approval of the Dean or their nominee.

(28) Changes to the published timetable will generate appropriate notification to staff and students as necessary.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

Timetabled Space Categories

(29) Timetabling will maintain a database containing all the spaces the University has designated for learning and teaching.

(30) This database will include and identify the following learning and teaching space categories:

  1. Common learning and teaching spaces
  2. Assigned learning and teaching spaces – Control of such areas is assigned to a specified School or Research Institute but their use is allocated via the University Timetabling System. The academic unit that has been assigned the space will have first preference in the allocation of these spaces. Such spaces are typically configured and equipped for teaching a particular discipline or area and are supported by specialised technical staff.

(31) Overall responsibility for the scheduling of these spaces is vested in the Timetabling Coordinator. 

Other Documents

(32) Refer to Associated Information