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Timetabling Procedure

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) The purpose of this Procedure is to outline the process for developing and managing the University’s timetables.

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Section 2 - TEQSA/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(2) HESF: Standard 2.1 Facilities and Infrastructure; Standard 3.3 Learning Resources and Educational Support; Standard 7.2 Information for Prospective and Current Students

(3) Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015: Part 2 Training and Assessment, Standards 1 and 5.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to timetabling for all teaching areas (Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training) at Victoria University campuses in Melbourne only. Scheduling for all other activities is covered by the Hire of Facilities Policy.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(5) Ad hoc booking: Any booking for space other than a Compulsory Study Period timetable booking (i.e. meeting, staff training, examination, and external room hire bookings).

(6) Course Approval Management System (CAMS): Web-based centralised system for an efficient and secure catalogue of courses and units offered by Victoria University (VU).

(7) My Timetable (Allocate Plus): Student class registration system that allows students to register for classes and create their personal timetable.

(8) Staff Allocation: Staff responsible for teaching each activity scheduled in Syllabus Plus.

(9) Teaching Activity: An activity associated with a unit where students have to attend a specific place at a specific time, on a specific day, including placements off campus where these occur on a set day.

(10) Unit Offerings: Units that have been confirmed in CAMS to be on offer for students for the preceding year.

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Section 5 - Policy / Regulation

(11) Timetabling Policy.

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Summary of Roles and Responsibilities

Roles

Responsibilities

Director, Student Administration Approves post-publication timetable change requests.
Timetable Manager Manages timetable and confirms - available teaching space; resources; seating capacity.

Plans and coordinates the construction and publication of the University timetable in liaison with the College’s Timetabling Contacts.
College Dean / Director Teaching and Learning Submits timetable change request post-publication to the Director, Facilities for approval.
Information Technology Services Provides technical support and development of information systems and interfaces associated with the timetabling process.

Ensures that appropriate audio-visual (AV) and computing facilities in centrally timetabled rooms are operational.
Central Timetable Unit (CTU) Produces and distributes a timetable timeline that outlines the relevant dates for the development and release of the timetable.

Ensures that timetabling databases are up to date.

Informs Course and Unit Administrators (CUAs) of any changes to timetabled activities throughout the year.

Manages ad hoc booking requests for internal and external stakeholders.
College/School Manager Confirms unit offering in CAMS and provides staff allocation to CTU. 
Timetabling Contact CUAs, Course/Unit Conveners or other staff member nominated by the College/School to liaise with CTU to undertake the following:
.   Collect and enter timetable data in Timetable Data Collector.
.   Informs CTU of any class cancellations.
.   Advises affected students of any changes to the published time table.
.   Allocates students in Allocate Plus for READ ONLY units.
Students Check the published timetable for the combination of units they wish to study and enrol in to ensure there are no clashes.

Part B - Timetabling Priorities

(12) The University timetable is published on a designated date to enable all students to view and plan their timetable for the following academic year.

(13) The timetable is constructed based on the Timetabling Policy to:

  1. make effective use of the University's available teaching resources and facilities;
  2. accommodate pedagogical practice; and,
  3. enable students to satisfy course rules, attendance requirements and subject combinations.

Part C - Scheduling of Teaching Activities

(14) All Teaching Activities must be timetabled in the Central Timetabling System, regardless of whether they take place in General Teaching Space, Specialist Teaching Space or off-campus. This enables provision to staff and students with a complete timetable and ensures clashes are avoided.

Teaching Hours

(15) Day unit offerings will be scheduled between 8:00am and 6:00pm Monday to Friday and evening unit offerings scheduled between 6:00pm and 10:00pm Monday to Friday. Classes may be scheduled at any time during these hours.

(16) Classes may be scheduled on weekends or outside normal semester weeks where specifically requested by the teaching area.

Staff Availability

(17) It will be assumed that academic staff are available to teach during ordinary hours as defined in the relevant enterprise agreement. The following teaching time exemptions may apply but will require approval from the relevant Dean:

  1. Part-time and Sessional Academic Staff will only be scheduled to teach during the time they are paid to teach.
  2. Staff meetings.
  3. Allocated Day for Research for Academic Staff in research-active positions.
  4. Other approved College/School/Department commitments.

(18) The nominated availability of teaching staff must be in accordance with the staff member’s workload allocation as per Victoria University Enterprise Agreement 2019 and Victoria University Vocational Teacher Enterprise Agreement 2019.

(19) All Timetabling Contacts will submit staff allocation to CTU prior to start of each teaching period.

Start and Finish Times

(20) Classes will start either on the hour or on the half-hour to achieve maximum resource utilisation. 

(21) Classes will start five minutes after the scheduled start time and finish five minutes before the scheduled end time to allow for a change-over period between classes.

(22) Scheduled timetable data and ad hoc bookings data will be subject to periodic evaluation. Classroom Utilisation Surveys and physical room audits will be conducted throughout the year, therefore all parties should ensure that the information supplied and their requirements are consistent and up to date.

Part D - Timelines

(23) Timelines for the timetabling process for each year shall be set by the CTU in the previous year.

(24) Timelines for each campus may be different depending on the courses offered at that campus but will apply to all teaching areas at that campus except by agreement with the CTU.

Part E - Timetable Publication

(25) A Draft Timetable will be prepared for staff to review prior to the Published Timetable to ensure that:

  1. Activity requirements have been adequately provided for all unit offerings, and are in line with initial teaching area's requests;
  2. All details of activities have been entered correctly; and, 
  3. Any clashes are reported to the CTU.

(26) The Higher Education Published Timetable will be published by third week of October so that students can take account of the timetable when enrolling, changing their enrolment or registering for classes.

(27) Class Registration – My Timetable (Allocate Plus) will open according to an agreed timeline by the Student Services Business Systems and Reporting department for Higher Education students only after the final timetable is published online. The opening schedule will be published on the current student website.

(28) Once timetables have been established and confirmed, all staff and students are expected to utilise spaces in accordance with the published timetable. All classes should be conducted within the scheduled space and times. Class start and finish times to be adhered to as outlined in Part C, Clause 15.

(29) In situations where there is a room clash (i.e. two classes requesting to use the same room at the same time) clients are required to check for booking details on Timetable Planner under locations or contact CTU on 9919 9488.

Part F - Changes to the Published Timetable

(30) Changes to the Published Timetable will be kept to a minimum. Changes will only be considered if:

  1. student enrolment numbers exceed the capacity of the scheduled venue or require additional classes to be run;
  2. a unit or group is no longer deemed viable to run;
  3. there is a need to accommodate reasonable adjustments for students with a disability or medical condition;
  4. staff allocated to an activity has changed.

(31) Where a teaching area wants to make a change to the Published Timetable that does not meet the above criteria, the Dean of the College may submit a request to the Director, Student Administration, giving the reason for the requested change. The Director, Student Administration, or nominee may approve the change (if it is possible to do so) however minimising impact to student timetables will be the primary consideration and change requests that unnecessarily affect student timetables will be rejected.

Class Rescheduling / Cancellation

(32) The Facilities Department must be notified via the Facilities Service Desk on 9919 5900 of any observed equipment failure including IT/AV equipment, or OH&S issues within centrally timetabled rooms. 

  1. The Facilities Service Desk will notify CTU and the area responsible for resolving the issue (e.g. Facilities, ITS etc.). 
  2. CTU will liaise with the area responsible for resolving the issue to determine the ongoing impact on upcoming room bookings and source alternative rooms if required.

(33) CTU will endeavour to reschedule the class where a scheduled class must be cancelled due to:

  1. an emergency such as power or lighting failure; 
  2. any OH&S issue; or,
  3. the class falling on a public holiday that is observed by VU.

(34) Where classes need to be rescheduled or relocated, CTU will notify College Timetabling Contacts.

(35) A class may be cancelled in the event that an instructor’s absence is unavoidable (e.g. personal emergency, jury duty, etc.) and the teaching area will -

  1. make every attempt to notify students utilising at least one of the methods of communication specified in clause 36. It is the student’s responsibility to keep their contact information current with VU;
  2. notify the CTU with the details of the class cancellation. 

(36) Where changes occur, teaching areas must notify all students of the change via the following channels:

  1. Notification on the student Learning Management System;
  2. Notification to the student’s VU email account;
  3. Temporary signage at the original location to direct students to the new location. Signage must be removed at the conclusion of the activity. 

(37) CTU will record the required changes to classes in regards to location, class size, addition and removal of classes in Syllabus Plus, with those changes then being imported into My Timetable.

Part G - Use of Teaching Space

(38) Space will be allocated for teaching purposes in accordance with the Space Allocation and Management Policy.

(39) All rooms must be booked with the CTU in accordance with the Space Allocation and Management Policy and Space Allocation and Management Procedure.

(40) The Director, Student Administration, will arrange for regular audits to monitor the use and utilisation of teaching space.

(41) Rooms must only be booked for the exact day(s), time(s) and week(s) required. Any room booking which is no longer required must be cancelled as soon as possible with the CTU. 

Room Capacity

(42) Activities will be timetabled in the room which is the most appropriate size for the number of students scheduled to attend, subject to other requirements and space availability. 

(43) If, at any time, the number of participants scheduled to attend a teaching activity exceeds the maximum capacity of the allocated room, teaching areas must contact the CTU to relocate the activity.

Reduction of “non-attendance” in timetabled teaching spaces 

(44) The table below identifies the categories with proposed processes and actions to be adopted.

Category Reason Process Action
Activity timetabled but not required Activity not required (e.g. insufficient student numbers to require all timetabled activities, i.e. projected enrolment numbers not achieved). CTU and Timetabling Contacts to:

- monitor utilisation report for HE students in My Timetable and cancel classes to match enrolled student numbers;

- monitor enrolment numbers for VET students and cancel classes as required.
CTU intention to cancel classes and request confirmation. Contact & advise –
 
- Responsible College staff;
- College Manager;
- Copy the Dean;

if no response is received within 5 days from notification date, CTU will cancel the class.
Timetable information incorrect Week pattern incorrect (e.g. activity timetabled in all semester weeks but not running in all weeks – placements, intensive bookings, etc.). Timetabled requirements to be confirmed with the Timetabling Contacts. CTU to follow–up and confirm the information with the Timetabling Contacts, 5 working days prior to publishing date.

Timetabling Contacts to check the draft and published timetables thoroughly to ensure that the timetabled activities match the requirements prior to the ‘cut off’ date.
Scheduled hours incorrect (e.g. full-day booked but only part-day or sessions used).
Incorrect class type scheduled (e.g. laboratory classes timetabled but no laboratory activities running).
Activity using another room One-off specific activity for class (e.g. field trip or library visit). Timetabling Contacts to notify CTU as soon as the ‘one-off’ activity details are available. CTU to cancel class & record.
Activity relocated to another room without advising CTU. Timetabling Contacts are not permitted to relocate without CTU approval. Timetabling Contacts are to check availability of rooms with CTU before relocating so that timetable can be updated. CTU to amend the timetable.
Activity not running  Staff away. Timetabling Contacts to notify CTU immediately of cancellation/change. CTU to cancel class & record details for auditing purposes.

(45) When rooms are found to be unused despite having a booking, or if a room is used without prior booking:

  1. The organisational area responsible for the activity will receive a warning notification via email from the Director, Student Administration, or nominee for any space use breaches.
  2. The Director, Student Administration, may rescind a warning if timetable changes notified to the CTU have not been updated in the University Timetabling System or if a class is cancelled after the scheduled start time due to unforeseen circumstances.  

(46) Where an inappropriate use of teaching space has occurred, the Director, Student Administration may charge the organisational area a fee of $1000 as specified in the Timetabling - Inappropriate Use of Teaching Space Procedure.

Part H - Ad Hoc/One Off Bookings

(47) Requests for an ad hoc booking should be submitted 48 hours before the event is scheduled to take place. Requests submitted with less than 48 hours' notice will be considered at the CTU's discretion.

(48) Bookings must be made through the Room Bookings Helpdesk (roombookings@vu.edu.au) in the first instance. CTU can be contacted directly on 9919 9488 for urgent bookings. 

(49) The CTU aims to review booking requests within two working days and require the following information: 

  1. Start time;
  2. Duration;
  3. Capacity;
  4. Purpose of the request;
  5. Room type and location;
  6. Contact details.

(50) Booking confirmation with a reference number will be provided in the confirmation email and should be quoted in any future correspondence.

(51) Campus security will be sent a notification by the CTU of any teaching space bookings that fall outside of a building's normal opening hours. Where an out of hours booking is made at short notice, it is the responsibility of the event organiser to contact security on 9919 4999 to ensure arrangements are in place to access the required building.

(52) CTU will consider bookings for ad hoc purposes only after the Timetable has been published.

(53) External stakeholders requesting an ad hoc booking should submit a Room booking request form via VU's webpage or contact the Room Bookings Coordinator by email (roombookings@vu.edu.au) or phone on 9919 9488. 

(54) External hirers of University space must not be in conflict with the University's mission and values and must comply with the Hire of Facilities Policy.

(55) The Room Bookings Coordinator may refuse any request to hire if the principal or the proposed event is judged to be inappropriate for a University venue.

(56) The CTU must be notified immediately of any booking cancellation to ensure rooms are fully utilised.