U3 – Learning Space Scheduling
Originator: Vice President, Academic
Approver: Senior Leadership Team
Effective: March 2021
Replaces: May 30, 2008
The purpose of this policy is to support the academic mission of Red River College, ensure timely student progression through academic programs and pathways, course-based scheduling, and promote good stewardship of all College learning spaces and resources by providing principles and a framework with which to administer all academic activity within the College’s spaces and resources.
It is recognized in this milieu that there is a very tight connection between physical and virtual learning space schedules, their relationship to student and faculty timetables and students’ flexibility to create their own timetables. A high-quality learning space schedule is created by matching the appropriate learning space to functional course outcome requirements, class size and location to optimize resource utilization.
This policy applies to the scheduling of all bookable learning spaces and resultant student and faculty timetables used for academic program delivery and learning activities at all Red River College campuses. Meeting rooms and breakout rooms booked for non-instructional use are excluded from this policy.
Learning space at Red River College is a valuable and shared resource, and it is managed by the institution in its best interest, according to the College’s mission, vision, values and strategy. The learning space scheduling function is designed to support Red River College’s commitment to excellence in academic programming and course delivery through the creation of high-quality learning space schedules and student and faculty timetables. Red River College is committed to supporting the requirements of all academic programming, course delivery and student learning through the efficient and effective scheduling of all bookable learning spaces, while ensuring high utilization and optimization of these spaces.
Academic Activity: Activities related to course and program learning outcomes that students are expected and scheduled to attend. Academic activities comprise activities both inside and outside a classroom setting, related to credentialed programs and courses, non-credentialed courses, pathway education, language training and apprenticeship skills training.
Academic Manager: The person assigned (usually by a Dean) with overseeing the learning space scheduling process from with an academic department or program area; for example, an Academic Chair or Program Manager.
Course-based Registration: Students self-register by course and section. Students are provided a list of courses and sections, and they register themselves into a course section of their choosing. Students are also able to use the system to plan their courses for future academic terms.
Course-based Scheduling: Academic departments determine how sections of each course to offer based on capacity per section, demand for the course and their ability to resource its delivery. Courses may be offered in each term (fall, winter, spring/summer) or only in specific terms based on demand and whether the courses are pre-requisite to subsequent courses. (Larger programs, student-wise, may be able to offer each program course in each academic term; smaller programs may be able to offer each course only once per academic year.)
Learning Space: Spaces where College-approved academic, instructional or research activity may be scheduled, including: classrooms, laptop classrooms, pod laptop classrooms, lecture theatres, labs shops, studios, simulation labs, in some cases gymnasia, and any other space required for learning activities and academic program delivery.
- Enhanced Rooms: Learning spaces that house some specialized equipment and technology but can be used by a broader range of programs/courses.
- General Pool Rooms: Learning spaces which do not contain further specialized equipment and/or technology. These learning spaces generally accommodate the greatest number of courses.
- Highly Specialized Rooms: Learning spaces that house highly specialized equipment and technology used by relatively few programs/courses.
Scheduling Team: Staff who are assigned and responsible for creating the College’s learning space schedules.
Utilization Targets: Post-secondary institutional standards for space utilization of general learning spaces and specialized lab, shop, studio and simulation spaces.
5.0 Guiding Principals
- Decisions regarding the allocation and use of learning spaces will be made in accordance with Red River College’s strategic directions and governing documents, and human rights guidelines.
- All credentialed academic programs, non-credited courses, learning pathways, language training and apprenticeship skills training will be treated equitably and consistently within the learning space scheduling process.
- The effectiveness of the learning space schedule and student progression through academic programs is realized through a balancing of advanced planning and minimal change for pre-planned annual programming with nimbleness and responsiveness to academic programming that arises anytime within an academic year.
- Accountability for the quality of the learning space schedule is a shared responsibility among the Scheduling Team and Academic Schools, Departments and Programs, and Research Partnerships and Innovation (RPI). Where a learning space may also be used or shared by RPI to conduct research projects, a clear understanding between the academic program and RPI of the time(s) required should be agreed upon prior to scheduling this space.
- The optimization and utilization rate for general pool and enhanced classrooms will be higher than the rate for highly specialized learning spaces such as: labs, shops, studios and other rooms that house highly specialized equipment and technology.
- All learning spaces shall be booked through the Scheduling Team, guided by this Policy, its principles and the Procedural Manual: Learning Space Scheduling.
- The health and safety of Red River College students, faculty and staff will guide decision-making with regard to the allocation and scheduling of learning spaces.
- Classrooms and other specialized learning spaces may be allocated by the Space Planning Allocation and Renovation Committee (“SPARC”) to individual departments or programs on a temporary basis. These spaces may be reallocated by SPARC as the requirements, priorities and demands of the College evolve.
- College learning spaces may be scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday – Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, excepting where other requirements, such as those in the Collective Agreement, may take precedence.
- Courses will not be booked into two learning spaces at the same time (e.g., a lab and a classroom) without good reason from the Academic Manager.
- When booked learning space is no longer required, timely notification by the Academic Manager should be given to the Scheduling Team so that it may be re-scheduled.
- Learning spaces will be scheduled on a priority basis as follows:
- The top priority in assigning learning spaces will be in accordance with accommodations required by human rights principles and guidelines.
- Pre-planned annual academic activities such as program and course delivery, exams and other required class events shall have scheduling priority over all other activities that require the use of classrooms;
- Learning spaces will be assigned and scheduled to best align with the functional learning activity, delivery methodology and projected class size (i.e., form of the room follows the function of activity);
- Specific course requirements for special types of classrooms, classroom equipment or other distinctive considerations are appropriate as special facility requests and will be given fourth priority in the learning space scheduling procedures.
The College will regularly review its learning spaces with a view to adapt or reconfigure them over time as program needs and course delivery modalities evolve, and to ensure optimal sizing and functionality.