New Course Time Slots

Update--Fall 2009 and Beyond:

The year-long trial of the new times slots (MW, WF, and MF 10:00-11:25) succeeded in moving a few courses out of the most crowded time slots in a way that did not create other scheduling bottlenecks, so they remain in the calendar with restrictions on their use.



The Recording Committee approved adding three course time slots (MW, WF, and MF 10:00-11:25) to the daily calendar with two conditions:

  • that the new time slots be used only for 3000 {300}-level courses that will meet in seminar rooms, and
  • that the College adopt these new time slots on a "pilot" basis beginning with the Fall 2008 semester, and evaluate the impact of the new time slots after one year.

The Need

The Conditions


The Need

Why consider a change to the College's daily calendar at all?

As the number of courses offered each semester continues to grow...

Semester Courses Offered
Fall 2002
261
Fall 2007
343
Spring 2003
320
Spring 2008
350


the pressure on some time slots keeps increasing.

Semester Time Block
Courses Offered
Fall 2002
MW 11:30
28
Fall 2007
MW 11:30
40
Spring 2003
MW 11:30
31
Spring 2008
MW 11:30
39


This pressure affects students trying to fit classes into their schedules, and it affects classroom scheduling, since the number of classrooms has not grown at the rate that courses have. (The Kanbar rooms--two classrooms and a seminar room--were added in 2004.)

The requirement that departments schedule some of their course offerings during "Special" time slots was intended to relieve the pressure on the class times in the middle of the day, but use of some special slots has increased so much, they have become new pressure points in the schedule.

Semester
Special Time Block
Courses Offered
Fall 2002
TR 2:30 13
Fall 2007 TR 2:30 31
Spring 2003 MW 2:30 24
Spring 2008 MW 2:30 33


It is hoped that a slight modification to the daily calendar might help relieve some of these pressure points.

The Conditions

Why are "3000 {300}-level courses that will meet in seminar rooms" the only courses allowed to use these new time slots?

One of the reasons these slots (MW, WF, MF 10:00-11:25) were not included in the daily calendar to begin with was concern that students who need to take introductory language, mathematics, and science courses (which often meet MWF mornings) would have scheduling conflicts with other courses offered during the same times. If only a small number of 3000 {300}-level courses use these new time slots, hopefully this will minimize scheduling conflicts for students who really need the introductory courses.

Since these new proposed time slots will cross two other time slots (MWF 9:30-10:25 and MWF 10:30-11:25) in the daily calendar, and there is already heavy use of classrooms during those times, there are no classrooms that could be used to support these new time slots. There are, however, a number of seminar rooms that are typically available during these times.

Semester  Unscheduled Seminar Rooms
10:00-11:25
Fall 2007
10
Spring 2008
9


Why are these new time slots being tried as a pilot?

Course scheduling and classroom scheduling are both fluid processes affected by many different factors. It is impossible to predict precisely just how these new time slots will affect departments' decisions about course scheduling. Trying these new time slots on a trial basis will allow us to adjust, as needed, as scheduling demands shift.