Below are a number of FAQs and answers for staff regarding timetabling. FAQs for students can be found on Essentials.
- Student Experience
- Post-publication timetable changes
- My Working Hours
- My Timetabled Day
- Timetable Build
How does the timetable support student experience?
The timetable is core to the student experience as it sets expectations about how programme and module content will be delivered.It enables students to plan their time for studying, paid and voluntary work, sporting commitments, and any caring responsibilities which they may have.
Can I change my teaching once the semester has started?
Schools may make only essential changes to the timetable once it has been published.
Semester 2 was a long way away when I thought about my teaching. Do I get another opportunity to make changes?
Staff may make amendments to their Semester 2 timetable during a dedicated window in the autumn. Full dates for the building and publication of the 2024/5 timetable can be found in the key dates for building the 2024/5 timetable document.
Why do my sessions get changed at late notice?
At the start of the semester, the location of your timetabled session may be changed to ensure that there are enough seats available for all students registered on the session. The Timetabling Team attempt to allocate rooms based on the predicted number of enrolments; however, students are permitted to change module up until the end of the second week of semester, and therefore numbers can fluctuate.
Timetabled sessions are sometimes changed at late notice because of unforeseen problems with the estate, such as a flood or electrical failure. Occasionally the Timetabling Team are asked to move a timetabled session to make way for a strategic University event.
How are my working hours accommodated?
The timetabled teaching week is Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, with a 1pm finish on Wednesdays for undergraduate programmes. It is assumed that all teaching staff are available during these hours, with the exception of staff who have a part-time contract, a formal flexible working agreement, or a tailored adjustment plan. Each year, Heads of Schools provide the Timetabling Team with a list of staff whose working pattern differs from the norm. If you think that your working pattern has not been accommodated in the timetable, please contact your Head of School to discuss what they have on file for you. Further details about how staff working patterns are accommodated in the timetable can be found in Appendix 1 of the Timetabling & Room Booking Policy.
Does the Smart Working Policy mean that I can have my teaching condensed into a smaller number of days?
No, the policy under 4.8 is quite clear; the timetable needs to be created and colleagues, save for Reasonable Adjustments and Flexible Working, need to work round it.
Why do I have to teach at both 9am and 5pm?
The University offers a range of modules on many of its programmes. This means that there are unique pathways through programmes which have to be accommodated in the timetable. Although the students on your two modules may be the same cohort, those students may be taking a range of UWMs, IWLP modules, or other modules outside of the standard programme specification. The density of the timetabling web can mean that, although all the students were available at 9am, they are not all available again (with a suitable teaching space) until 5pm.
Why are there large gaps between my classes?
See above. The density of the timetabling web can mean that the students, or a specific room are not available immediately after a previous class has finished, which can create large gaps between sessions.
Why are my classes back-to-back?
Where possible, the Timetabling Team allocates lunch breaks for staff.
Classes are scheduled based on student, staff, and space availability. With the number of unique pathways through programmes available to students, it is not always possible to arrange staff teaching days with breaks between classes. The Timetabling Team do check staff timetables to see whether it is possible to move sessions, but it is often not possible to do this without creating a knock-on impact on student experience or another member of staff.
How is the timetable built?
The timetable is built based upon how academic staff wish to deliver their modules, students’ module choices, and staff availability. The Timetabling & Room Booking Policy includes an overview of the timetable build process in section 6 and a detailed breakdown of each stage in Appendix 2.
Why do I have to submit my timetabling requirements in March for the following academic year?
Once your data has been submitted, it is input into the timetabling software, where it is used alongside data on other modules, student module choices, and staff availability to schedule the timetable. Following data quality checks, the timetable is then released in draft format. Consultation with academic colleagues showed that staff wished to view their draft timetable no later than June. Working backwards from this, timetabling requirements have to be submitted in early spring to enable the Timetabling Team to meet this deadline.
The 2023/24 timetable is live for staff and fully enrolled students, and can be viewed on CMISGo.