Academic Scheduling: Policies

Due to an expanding student population and a shrinking classroom inventory, classrooms are a scarce institutional resource that must be budgeted carefully. Academic scheduling policies exist to provide equitable allocation of classrooms across campus departments, maximize classroom utilization, facilitate room changes, and balance the many and varied needs of approximately 40,000 students and instructors. 

The Office of the Registrar’s policies apply only to general assignment classrooms, not to departmentally-controlled rooms. Classroom policy issues are governed by the Campus Committee on Classroom Policy and Management (CCCPM).

Academic Scheduling Policies

Classroom scheduling occurs in two main phases: Priority Phase and Manual Phase.

  1. Priority Phase: During the Priority Phase, department schedulers enter general assignment classroom requests in Campus Solutions. After the request deadline, the Office of the Registrar temporarily shuts off department schedulers’ update access to the relevant term, reviews requests to enforce compliance with scheduling policies, and runs the algorithm that batch assigns rooms to classes.
  2. Manual Phase: Once the algorithm has been run, department schedulers’ update access to Campus Solutions is reinstated. All subsequent room requests must be submitted individually via a Google form and will be processed manually by Classroom Scheduling staff. Unplaced classes should be resolved before the schedule is published, approximately two weeks before the start of enrollment. 

Overview of Scheduling Policies

 

Policy Phase Terms Reason
Standard Time Blocks Both Fall/Spring To reduce unused half-hour blocks and to facilitate room changes
70/30 Prime Time Percentage Priority Phase Fall/Spring To reduce unplaced classes and to promote equitable allocation of rooms and time slots
Allowable Hours Priority Phase Fall/Spring To promote equitable allocation of rooms and time slots, and to prevent circumvention of the 70/30 Prime Time policy
Pre-algorithm 98/198s Priority Phase Fall/Spring To prioritize non-DeCals and to reduce circumvention of the 70/30 Prime Time policy
Non-15-Week Courses Both Phases Fall/Spring To fully utilize classrooms for the entire semester and to facilitate room changes

Contact Hours

Both Phases All

To comply with the Committee on Courses of Instruction, to reduce unused half-hour blocks, and to prevent unnecessary enrollment time conflicts for students

Colloquiums Both Phases All Mandated by the Campus Committee on Classroom Policy & Management
Enrollment Capacities Both Phases All To protect student and instructor safety and to comply with fire code
DeCals in Active-Learning Rooms Both Phases All To prioritize specialized classrooms for faculty use
Room-Switching Manual Phase All To allow and encourage departments to find internal solutions for their scheduling needs
Semester Start-Up Deadlines Manual Phase All

To prioritize academic classes while also allowing classrooms to be reserved for other purposes

Policies that require calculation, such as the “70/30 Prime Time Percentage” and “Allowable Hours,” are calculated by cluster. A cluster is a group of subject areas with the same department scheduler. For example, Anthropology and Folklore belong to the Anthropology cluster. This means that each individual subject area does not need to be in compliance as long as the cluster overall is in compliance when all of its subject areas are calculated together.

Standard Time Blocks

The heavy demand for classroom space requires that classes be scheduled in standard time blocks (see table below). This helps to minimize the number of unused half-hour blocks and accommodate room changes. Classes in non-standard time blocks must be scheduled in a departmentally controlled space. The “Standard Time Blocks” policy applies to all phases of scheduling.

Room assignments officially begin on the hour or half-hour mark. However, by the “Berkeley Time” convention, instruction in class meetings normally begins ten minutes after the official start time. Besides allowing students and instructors to travel from one class to the next, the ten minutes are for the class scheduled in that period to set up, not for the preceding class to finish. Classes are expected to vacate their classrooms promptly at the published time. Nevertheless, instructors and students of the scheduled class should show those of the preceding class the courtesy of allowing brief, final actions to be completed even after the published time, and to refrain from entering a class while such activity is ongoing.

Classes are published with end times of :59 or :29. This is simply a workaround for the constraints of the Student Information System and is not intended to affect actual class meeting times. Instructors are welcome to end class on the hour or half hour rather than a minute earlier.

 

STANDARD TIME BLOCKS

Day(s): Any Day(s) Tu/Th Only Any Day(s) Any Day(s) Tu/Th Only Any Day(s)
Consecutive Hours: 1 hr 1.5 hrs 1.5 hrs 2 hrs 3 hrs 3 hrs
  8–9 a.m. 8–9:30 a.m.   8–10 a.m.    
  9–10 a.m.     9–11 a.m.    
  10–11 a.m. 9:30–11 a.m.   10 a.m.–12 p.m.    
  11 a.m.–12 p.m. 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.   11 a.m.–1 p.m.    
  12 p.m.–1 p.m.     12–2 p.m.    
  1–2 p.m. 12:30-2 p.m.   1–3 p.m.    
  2–3 p.m. 2–3:30 p.m.   2–4 p.m.   2–5 p.m.
  3–4 p.m.     3–5 p.m.   3–6 p.m.
    3:30-5 p.m.     3:30-6:30 p.m.  
  4–5 p.m.     4–6 p.m.   4–7 p.m.
  5–6 p.m.   5–6:30 p.m. 5–7 p.m.   5–8 p.m.
  6–7 p.m.     6–8 p.m.   6–9 p.m.
      6:30-8 p.m. 6:30-8:30 p.m.   6:30-9:30 p.m.
  7–8 p.m.     7–9 p.m.   7–10 p.m.
  8–9 p.m.   8–9:30 p.m. 8–10 p.m.    
  9–10 p.m.          

 

Prime Time Requests

The most impacted class meeting times are collectively called “Prime Time.” Prime Time is defined as follows:

 

PRIME TIME

Day(s): M–F, or Any 4 Weekdays  M, W, F, or Any Combination M, W, F, or Any Combination M, W, F, or Any Combination
Consecutive Hours: 1 hr 1 hr 2 hrs 3 hrs
  9–10 a.m. 9–10 a.m.    
Morning 10–11 a.m. 10–11 a.m. 10 a.m.–12 p.m.  
  11 a.m.–12 p.m. 11 a.m.–12 p.m.    
  12:00-1:00 PM      
Afternoon       2–5 p.m.
Prime Time Description Starts 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Starts at any morning hour later than 8 a.m. Starts at any morning hour later than 8 a.m. Starts at 2 p.m.

 

 

Day(s) Tu and/or Th Tu/Th Only Tu and/or Th Tu and/or Th
Consecutive Hours: 1 hr 1.5 hrs 2 hrs 3 hrs
  9–10 a.m.      
Morning 10–11 a.m. 9:30-11 a.m. 10 a.m.–12 p.m.  
  11 a.m.–12 p.m. 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.    
  12–1 p.m.   12–2 p.m.  
  1–2 p.m. 12:30–2 p.m.    
Afternoon 2–3 p.m. 2–3:30 p.m. 2–4 p.m. 2–5 p.m.
  3–4 p.m.     3–6 p.m.
    3:30–5 p.m.   3:30-6:30 p.m.
  4–5 p.m.   4–6 p.m. 4–7 p.m.

 

Prime Time Description: Starts later than 8 AM and earlier than 5 PM

During the Priority Phase, prime time requests are limited to 70% of each department or cluster’s room requests. 

  • Percentages are based on the number of classes, not on the number of hours.
    • e.g. e.g. M 10–11 a.m. + MTWRF 8–9 a.m. = 50% Prime Time
  • Percentages for primary and secondary sections are calculated separately. That is, the prime time policy cannot be met by scheduling all primary sections in prime time and only secondary in non-prime time.
  • Departments or clusters with five or fewer requests are exempt. 

This policy exists because there are not enough classrooms to accommodate the volume of prime time classes that departments would like. If unlimited prime time requests were permitted, there would be many more unplaced classes that would have to be resolved manually.

Allowable Hours

Every semester, each department or cluster is allotted a maximum number of hours per week that it may request during the Priority Phase. This number is equal to the number of hours per week of classes in general assignment classrooms with at least one student enrolled during the previous corresponding term, plus ten percent. For example, if a department had 100 hours in Fall 2017, the department would be able to request up to 110 hours for Fall 2018. 

There is no limit on the number of classes, only on the number of hours. No distinction is made between primary and secondary sections for the purposes of this policy.
After the algorithm has been run, departments may request an unlimited number of additional hours.

Contact Hours and Instructional Formats

When requesting a general assignment classroom, each class is limited to the maximum number of contact hours per week approved by the Committee on Courses of Instruction for a 15-week offering of the course (for fall and spring courses) or for however many weeks the course is being offered (for summer courses). For example:

  • A course approved for 3 hours of lecture per week for 15 weeks may not request MW 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. for its lecture.
  • A course not approved for discussion sections may not schedule discussion sections in general assignment classrooms.

Contact hours can be viewed in the Course Management System (CMS) at course.berkeley.edu.

Summer classes may choose to round up their contact hours by 30 minutes per week if desired (e.g. from 7.5 hours to 8 hours per week). This is because summer classes’ approved contact hours are often not as easily divisible as those of fall and spring classes.

Pre-algorithm 98 and 198 Courses

Courses with the catalog number 98 or 198 may not submit requests during the Priority Phase. They must wait to request general assignment classrooms until after the algorithm has been run. Catalog numbers with suffixes (such as 98W or 98BC) do not count as 98 or 198 courses and are therefore permitted to go through the algorithm.

Non-15-Week Courses

Classes that do not meet every week for the full 15-week term (14 weeks excluding RRR week) are not eligible to request general assignment classrooms at any point in the scheduling process, as this would be an inefficient use of scarce resources and would obstruct room changes.

Summer classes may meet for any duration and any dates, even if the dates do not match any of the five standard summer sessions, as long as the amount of instructional time matches the contact hours approved by the Committee on Courses of Instruction (see Contact Hours and Instructional Formats below).

Colloquiums

Any change to the day, time, and/or room of a colloquium in a general assignment classroom must be approved by the Campus Committee on Classroom Policy and Management.

Course Enrollment Relative to Classroom Capacity

The enrollment limit of a class may not exceed the capacity of the room assigned to it. Note that the capacity for enrollment purposes is equal to the number of seats in the room and may therefore be less than the maximum occupancy posted in the room. 

In a very few cases, valid reasons exist for allowing registered enrollment in a specific course to exceed classroom capacity. Most such exceptions are for classes that use ETS course capture services so that students in excess of the room capacity can view the lectures online.

In these cases, department chairs may appeal to their deans in writing for special consideration. Special arrangements will be considered only in cases in which: 

1. Demand is high and enrollment in the course in question is vital to students' ability to progress through the curriculum

AND

2. Departments can demonstrate that they have a plan to avoid overcrowding.

Examples of such a plan include:

1. Statistical evidence regarding previous attendance relative to registered enrollments that indicates it is extremely unlikely that more than the allowable number of students will actually attend

OR

2. Reservation of an overflow room and arrangements for instruction of students displaced to that room because the primary classroom is full.

It is the responsibility of the department and the instructor to ensure that actual attendance does not exceed classroom capacity. This responsibility obligates instructors to request that some students leave if there are not enough seats for them. Students should not be permitted to sit on the floor, as this impedes rapid egress in an emergency and is therefore a safety hazard.

It is important for instructors to be aware that there is no guarantee that overflow rooms will be available on days when full attendance is expected, such as during midterm exams. Final exams may need to be held in multiple rooms, possibly in multiple buildings.

Questions about the capacity limits of classrooms may be referred to the Classroom Scheduling Office (510-642-0313 or scheduling@berkeley.edu) or to Space Management and Capital Projects (510-642-1781), which maintains the campus classroom inventory.

Active-Learning Classrooms

The general assignment active-learning classroom inventory currently consists of:

  • 110 Barrows (54 seats)
  • 122 Barrows (36 seats)
  • 118 Barrows (30 seats)
  • 230 Mulford (30 seats)
  • 100 Wheeler (15 seats)
  • 212 Wheeler (122 seats)

DeCals (generally, courses numbered 98 or 198) are not eligible to be scheduled in active-learning rooms at any point in the scheduling process.
More information can be found at Active Learning at Berkeley.

Room Switching

When a given combination of day + time + room has been assigned to a class, the department scheduler may choose to transfer that combination to a different class within the same department or cluster. This is traditionally called room-switching but may also be thought of as class-switching. The room cannot be switched independently of the day and time; rather, the day, time, and room function as one unit. For example:

  • 1-way transfer:
    • Class A has no room. Class B donates its day + time + room to Class A. (This may occur if Class B is being canceled or moved to a departmentally-controlled room.)
  • 2-way mutual swap:
    • Class A and Class B both have day + time + room assignments and trade with each other.
  • Multiple-way transfer:
    • Day + time + room combinations are transferred from Class A→ Class B → Class C → Class D → Class A .

Only the exact combinations already assigned to you are at your disposal. This means that room-switching does not change room availability. If you wish to change any element(s) of a combination (e.g. the same room but a different time), that cannot be done via room-switching. Instead, a regular room request must be submitted.
 
All scheduling policies remain in effect. For example, room-switching cannot be used to transfer an active-learning room from a non-DeCal to a DeCal. Room-switching for summer classes must be approved by the Summer Sessions Office if it would result in a class changing day, time, or session after enrollment has begun.
Room-switching may be submitted through Friday of the third week of instruction (one week later than the deadline for regular room requests). This is to ensure that the class schedule is finalized before the Scheduling Office begins scheduling final exams at the start of the fifth week of instruction.

Semester Start-Up Deadlines

Instructions and student facilitators should be informed of the following deadlines:

General Assignment Classroom Requests for Academic Classes

  • Room requests may be submitted through the Friday of the second week of instruction. The first week of instruction is defined as only the instructional days that occur before the first weekend. For example, if instruction begins on a Wednesday, then the first week consists of Wednesday through Friday, not of the first Wednesday through the second Wednesday.
    • Exception: Room requests for Summer Session E (the 3-week session) may be submitted through the Friday of the first week of instruction.
  • DeCal courses are considered regularly scheduled academic courses and are subject to the deadline above.
  • Room-switching/class-switching requests may be submitted through the Friday of the third week of instruction.
  • Department schedulers will receive an email notification regarding the outcome of their room requests and room-switching requests by Friday of the fourth week of instruction.

Deadlines for classroom reservations (i.e. events other than regular class meetings) can be found on the Classroom Reservations page.

Summer Sessions

Summer Sessions Policies

Summer Sessions classes are subject to a different set of policies, largely determined by the Summer Sessions Office. For summer classes, once enrollment has begun, Summer Sessions must approve any of the following changes:

  • Add a class
  • Cancel a class
  • Change instructional format (e.g. discussion to lab)
  • Change class meeting day, time, or session
  • Change unit value 

For more information on summer scheduling policies, click here.

Summer Standard Time Blocks

Summer classes may be scheduled in any available time block that begins and ends on the hour or half hour. Standard time blocks specific to summer classes are encouraged but not required. 

All standard meeting patterns can be applied to any day(s) of the week and any session.

 

SUMMER STANDARD MEETING PATTERNS
Consecutive Hours: 1 Hour 1.5 Hours 2 Hours 2.5 Hours 3 Plus Hours
  8–9 a.m. 8–9:30 a.m. 8–10 a.m.    
  9–10 a.m.        
  10–11 a.m. 9:30-11 a.m. 10 a.m.–12 p.m.    
    11–12:30 p.m.      
  12–1 p.m. 12:30-2 p.m. 12–2 p.m. 1–3:30 p.m.  
  1–2 p.m.        
  2–3 p.m. 2–3:30 p.m. 2–4 p.m. 2–4:30 p.m. 2–5 p.m.
  3–4 p.m.        
    3:30-5 p.m.   3–5:30 p.m. 3–6 p.m.
Description: Any hour on the hour   On the even hour On the hour after 1 p.m. On the hour after 2 p.m.
Any half hour after 4 p.m.: 4–5 p.m. 4–5:30 p.m. 4–6 p.m. 4–6:30 p.m. 4–7 p.m.
  4:30-5:30 p.m. 4:30–6 p.m. 4:30–6:30 p.m. 4:30–7 p.m. 4:30–7:30 p.m.
  5–6 p.m. 5–6:30 p.m. 5–7 p.m. 5–7:30 p.m. 5–8 p.m.