Classroom Scheduling Protocols

Promulgated Winter 2002. Revised Spring 2013.

Introduction

To carry out the mission of the University of Oregon, the classroom facilities are primarily for use by students, faculty and staff for activities and programs that are directly related to the basic educational functions of teaching, research, and preparation of scholarly material. Every effort is made to ensure that classrooms are assigned fairly, used appropriately, and accommodate the University's academic and instructional needs.

These protocols are designed to ensure that quarterly course offerings are scheduled in a manner that permits access to available offerings by the greatest number of students and that allows the best match between the specific instructional needs of the faculty and courses being offered and the existing facilities. Previous procedures led to a reduced number of scheduled classes on Friday; these protocols return Friday to a normal teaching day.

Teaching facilities are a finite resource, and the goal of these policies is to maximize room and seat utilization as well as apply scheduling policies in a consistent and equitable manner. These objectives and classroom utilization expectations apply to all academic departments and classroom space.

Classroom scheduling is a dynamic process requiring reevaluation of class size, equipment specifications, and pedagogical changes each term. The assignment of a specific room at a specific time in a given term will not automatically guarantee a continuing assignment of that space, even if the room was used efficiently. Faculty members should not expect to use the same space on a continuing basis.

Responsibilities

The Office of the Registrar has the responsibility for the utilization and scheduling of classrooms in the general classroom pool. To assist in this responsibility, the Academic & Classroom Scheduling Office will provide an annual calendar establishing production dates and deadlines for the term Schedule of Classes.

Each department is responsible for providing a coordinator to interact with the Academic Scheduling Office. Requests for classrooms must be made by the academic department coordinator. Faculty, instructors, and GTFs must make requests through this coordinator.

Each department is also required to immediately notify Academic Scheduling of course cancellations, changes in classrooms, classroom assignments that were listed as TBA, and instructor assignments no later than the end of the second week of classes.

Academic departments are responsible for determining course offerings and input of schedule information in a timely way, no later than the specified deadlines.

Contact Hours

  • Classes at the 1xx and 2xx level have one classroom contact hour and two hours of out-of-class work per week for each credit hour earned. For example, a four-credit class will meet for a minimum of fifty minutes per day, for a total of 200 minutes per week.
  • Classes at the 3xx and 4xx level must have a minimum of three contact hours per week for a four credit class, with sufficient demonstrated lab or activities outside of class to warrant the additional credit hour beyond contact.
  • Courses designated as 4xx/5xx, must have a "substantive difference in the experiences of these two groups of students." Refer to the 'General Principles Related to Combined Undergraduate/Graduate Courses' policy, below.
  • Credit Hour and Student Workload Policies

Course Meeting Times

Each school and department must distribute course offerings over all five days of the week and over the full class day. Classes must be scheduled proportionally over four of the five time zones described below. While the fifth time zone is optional, it is still part of the teaching day and should be utilized when possible. Classes using department-controlled classrooms are also required to adhere to time zone scheduling.

Standard class meeting times are divided into five zones. Time zones are defined as a 1 hour 50 minute block of time. Each zone listed below includes one time slot with the exception of Zone 2 which consists of two 1 hour 50 minute time slots. Time zones stand alone and cannot be combined or crossed. Percentages are targets based on the total number of credit sections scheduled to start in each respective time zone.

Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5
8:00 - 9:50 10:00-11:50 & 12-1:50 2:00-3:50 4:00-5:50 6:00 or later
20% 40% 25% 15% optional

Non-credit discussions or labs may not be scheduled in Zone 2.

Tentative ('Q') classes may not be scheduled in Zone 2.

Courses meeting longer than two hours must be scheduled in Zones 3, 4 or 5 or on Friday.

Two day per week classes that meet for 1 hour and 20 minutes must begin on the first hour of the zone; classes may not begin on the 1/2 hour. The exceptions are Zone 1, where classes are permitted to begin at 8:30 a.m., rather than 8:00 a.m., and Zone 4, where classes may begin at 5:30 p.m.

Block classes that meet for longer than two hours per session must be scheduled in Zones 3, 4, or 5, or on Fridays. Block classes may not be scheduled during Zones 1 or 2. Departments are permitted to schedule 600-level graduate courses as a block across time zones, including Time Zone 2, in their own department-controlled classroom.

Course meeting times may not cross time zones.

Discussions or labs must be scheduled outside the Zone 2 time range. The exception is Thursdays or Fridays, when discussions may be scheduled throughout the day. Department controlled spaces may be scheduled anytime including zone 2. This exception does not apply to joint controlled classrooms.

The limited availability of specialized laboratories (such as in the sciences and the arts) and computer station classrooms may necessitate the scheduling of certain laboratories and discussions within Zone 2. Use of specialized teaching facilities should be maximized while following the time zone principles as much as possible.

Non-credit sections are scheduled after all credit classes are assigned a room.

Room Assignment Policies

Credit-bearing classes will take precedence over all non-class related seminars or events. Non-credit events, study groups, breakout sessions, etc. will be scheduled after all credit classes have been assigned a room.

When scheduling classrooms every effort will be made by Academic Scheduling to provide the accommodations requested with the space utilization requirements of the whole university as the objective.

Assignment of classrooms for sections with enrollment greater than 70 students is an independent scheduling procedure. Requests are submitted on the Large Classroom Request form and conflicts are resolved on an individual basis with academic departments. The academic scheduling coordinator is then responsible for the update of the room assignment when completing schedule data entry.

Initial scheduling priority will be given to those classes requiring specific equipment or seating configurations. Each quarter the Office of the Registrar will make available to departments a report of classes offered the previous year. The department scheduling coordinator will update course offerings in Banner. Building preference may be noted and specific attributes for classes which require special features, i.e. computers, video, seating, maps etc. must be noted by the department at the time the course is entered in Banner, prior to classroom assignment.

Sections designated as tentative ('Q') will be assigned rooms after all other sections have been assigned. Tentative sections may not be scheduled in Zone 2.

Laboratories and departmental or joint-controlled classrooms should be assigned and submitted at the time schedule information is entered.

Enrollment history or anticipated increases for a particular course will be used by Academic Scheduling to determine classroom size, so enrollment limits should be carefully reviewed and adjusted. Departments should base estimated enrollments on the actual enrollment during the previous corresponding term, with an estimated increase no more than 15%. In cases where the department projects a greater than 15% increase, justification must be provided in writing.

Resolution of Conflicts

Class size and equipment requirements will be determining factors in disputes involving credit-granting academic classes.

Highest priority is given to departments which do not control their own seminar rooms. Departments with dedicated seminar rooms are required to maximize the use of these rooms for smaller classes and meetings, rather than requesting room assignments from the general pool.

Academic Scheduling will make every attempt to mediate room conflicts and develop a solution. However, in the event that conflicts cannot be resolved at this level, the Deans, Registrar and/or the Provost's Office may become involved.

Faculty and instructors are responsible for sharing the ten-minute 'pass time' between classes. Every effort should be made to vacate the classroom in a timely way, allowing the following instructor to set-up and prepare, as well as allow the finishing instructor to make final remarks and gather materials. There is no 'ownership' of this time. Students should be encouraged to meet with the instructor during office hours rather than during the "pass time". Should conflicts develop, instructors should first attempt to resolve the concerns between themselves. If the result is unsatisfactory, conflicts must be mediated by department chairs.

Joint-Controlled Classrooms

A joint-controlled is one which is jointly scheduled by an academic department and the Academic Scheduling Office. The academic department has priority in assigning courses into classrooms under joint-control, at the time the term class schedule is established.

The department is expected to fully use the seating capacity of department-controlled classrooms and conference rooms, and adhere to the time zones established within these procedures.

All unscheduled time after this initial schedule is developed will be available for general assignment.

Once rooms are assigned, classes will not be removed from joint-controlled classrooms when there is a change in the controlling-department class offerings.

Joint-controlled classrooms will not be made available for general use or student events. In turn, academic departments must schedule any use of the room beyond classes with Academic Scheduling, who will determine availability. Scheduling and Event Services does not schedule joint-controlled classrooms.

Classroom Accessibility

Classroom assignments may be changed when the room is determined to be inaccessible for a student or an instructor. Instructors should notify Academic Scheduling as soon as they identify any barriers to their own or a student’s access to or within a classroom. Academic Scheduling will make every effort to relocate the class to an accessible room. Academic Scheduling works closely with Accessible Education Center to ensure that classrooms and classroom locations are fully accessible for disabled students and instructors.

Changes in Classroom Assignments

Instructors/departments may not move their class from an assigned room without prior approval from the department scheduling coordinator and the Office of the Registrar.

All schedule changes affecting class meeting time/days or classroom assignments must be requested in writing to Academic Scheduling. Before submitting the request, instructors should inform students about the possible change and encourage any student whose access to the class might be impacted by a change to notify them as soon as possible.

In the event of an emergency evacuation of a classroom or building, Academic Scheduling will attempt to relocate classes to temporary meeting rooms if desired.

Room Size and Configuration

Seating capacity has been determined in accordance with state and city safety regulations. Departments are not to over-enroll students beyond the maximum classroom size. If it appears that student demand will surpass the scheduled room, departments should contact Academic Scheduling immediately, before the class grows too large, to determine if alternate space is available. It is unacceptable for students not to have appropriate seating. Inappropriate seating violates building codes and provides a poor image of the university and it's ability to manage enrollment.

Furniture and equipment such as overheads, chairs, and tables are not to be moved from one room to another without approval of the Academic Scheduling or Media Services. If a room does not contain adequate facilities to meet the scheduled maximum enrollment or equipment needs, the instructor should contact the department scheduling coordinator for assistance. Academic Scheduling will attempt to locate alternative space, if necessary.

Appropriate Use of Facilities

Food service is not permitted in academic classrooms, and food may only be served outside of classroom facilities. Certain events may be denied use of classroom space if it is determined that the nature of the event is inappropriate for the purpose of the classroom.

The possession, consumption, or furnishing of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances are prohibited in any classroom.

Classroom Maintenance

Facilities Services is responsible for routine maintenance of classrooms. Media Services is responsible for maintenance and repair of all equipment within a classroom.

Concerns about cleanliness should be addressed to janitor@uoregon.edu. The janitor also provides chalk for the classrooms.

Damage, lighting, seating, requests for lecterns, podiums or additional tables should be addressed to Custodial Services. Seating will not be increased beyond the approved capacity of the classroom.

Non-operating overhead projectors, VCRs, monitors, computer-projection equipment should be reported to CMET, 1-541-346-3091.

The University Space Committee, chaired by a staff member from the Provost's Office, is responsible for the review of classroom space, and proposals for remodel or upgrades.

The following policy was developed by the Graduate School in January, 1999:

Graduate curricula should consist predominately of courses, independent activities, and experiences (e.g., research, internships) which demand a deeper and/or broader level of performance than would be found in undergraduate courses.

Graduate programs should consistently provide sufficient opportunities for students to directly interact with faculty and students at their same level or beyond. The achievement of an undergraduate degree that is acceptable as a credential for acceptance into a graduate program indicates that there would be minimal value to graduate students if the opportunities for student to student and faculty-to-student interactions are dominated by undergraduates.

In those cases where a course must be delivered to both undergraduate and graduate students simultaneously, there is to be a "substantive difference" in the experiences of these two groups of students. Two examples of ways in which a course might demonstrate substantive differences are:

  • Assigning additional and/or different reading assignments, writing assignments, problem sets, or examinations;
  • Holding regularly scheduled additional meetings or discussion sessions that provide a "graduate only" environment.

The substantive differences described above, or others designed by the professor, should be described in either a separate syllabi for undergraduate and graduate students, or if only one document is produced in separate sections of the single syllabus. In any case the professor is responsible for outlining in detail the differences in the assignments, activities, and standards for demonstrating mastery.

If there are assignments or examinations that are common to students at both levels, and the only difference is in the criteria for mastery (i.e., grading criteria) then the faculty member must articulate clearly how those criteria differ. This should be a part of the syllabus so that students have a clear and fair understanding of the standards that will be applied to their work.

This articulation of criteria for evaluation is also necessary so that the coherence of the program is not compromised by unnecessary variance across courses and/or instructors. The principle that is operating here is that students and faculty must be able to identify and understand how the acceptable mastery of the course content at the graduate level differs from successful mastery of the course contact at the undergraduate level.

A characterization of grading or evaluation criteria as being "hard" or "more demanding and rigorous" is not sufficient. There terms must be defined in a way that creates mutual understanding among the various parties (students, faculty), as well as by an outside observer with appropriate expertise (e.g., external review committees, accreditation committees.)