Scheduling Resources

Course Scheduling Guidelines

Course scheduling is a complex process that requires collaboration from various stakeholders. Successful scheduling supports pedagogical needs while maximizing space and seat utilization and ensuring that students have access to the courses they need for timely graduation. It requires evaluation of enrollment demand, consideration of course offerings, and academic and space planning. Successful scheduling is integral to the mission and values of Cal State LA and the Graduation 2025 initiative.

Cal State LA has some unique challenges when it comes to scheduling our courses. Given our number of students and our commitment to providing them with access to courses they need to make timely progress toward their degrees, we must use our classrooms as efficiently as possible. According to AdAstra, who provides our scheduling software Astra Schedule, we have the highest classroom utilization throughout our “standard week” (Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m., Friday 8:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m.) of any of the almost 300 campuses they work with. This shows that our schedulers have done a laudable job of using the classroom resources we have to create a robust schedule of classes for our students. It also shows that we have be vigilant about opening access to all instructional spaces, minimizing low demand course sections, maintaining on-grid scheduling, matching class enrollment limits to room size, and other ways of squeezing all of the use we can out of our scarce classrooms.

These guidelines ensure that scheduling practices and expectations are equitable and consistent from term to term; match pedagogical need and finite space as optimally as possible; and ensure that courses are scheduled to permit access to the greatest number of students. These guidelines apply to all departments and colleges and to all instructional space.

Scheduling Responsibilities

University Scheduling

University Scheduling manages the production and publication of the Schedule of Classes, coordinates room assignments and scheduling of instructional space, and audits data quality in order to facilitate the academic record.

University Scheduling will publish a timeline prior to schedule production each term. The timeline will be based on the continuing student semester enrollment cycle and will establish the scheduling dates and deadlines for that term.

University Scheduling reports to the University Registrar and the Vice Provost for Enrollment Services.

Academic Departments and Colleges

Academic departments and colleges plan course offerings in preparation for schedule production. They are responsible for completing scheduling activities as established in the schedule production timeline and in compliance with course scheduling guidelines and data requirements.

Each department is responsible for designating a department scheduler to complete scheduling activities and coordinate with the college on behalf of the department. Each college is responsible for designating a college scheduler to coordinate scheduling activities across the departments and to coordinate with University Scheduling on behalf of the college.

Office of the Vice Provost for Planning and Budget

The Office of the Vice Provost for Planning and Budget provides classroom utilization and course enrollment analyses to assist Associate Deans in each College in the development and refinement of the schedule of classes for each academic term.

Scheduling Work Group

This advisory group was formed in 2017 and is chaired by the Vice Provost for Planning and Budget. The group consists of department chairs, associate deans, schedulers, and facilities staff who make recommendations to improve scheduling tools and practices.

Credit Hour

The credit hour is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates no less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks or one regular semester, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time.

One credit hour is assumed a 50-minute period.

Cal State LA complies with standards for awarding credit as defined in Title 34, Code of Federal Regulations, sections 600.2 and 600.4. See Credit Hour policy in the Procedures and Regulations chapter of the University Catalog for details.

Class Meetings

Standard Time Modules

Course sections should be scheduled adhering to the standard time modules (i.e. “on-grid”). Refer to the Enrollment Planning Resources page for more on standard time modules.

Hybrid Courses

Hybrid courses blend face-to-face instruction with more than 25% and less than 100% online instruction and are an increasingly popular format. In order to promote the most efficient use of classrooms, the hybrid format the university endorses involves the scheduling of two hybrid course sections sharing a single meeting pattern, e.g.:

UNIV 1234, Section 01 Tu 8:00-9:15 a.m. (KH 1111) Th (online)
UNIV 1234, Section 02 Tu (online) Th 8:00-9:15 a.m. (KH 1111)

Other formats do not increase room utilization if they do not enable complementary course sections to share a single meeting pattern and same room. To share a room, courses must have similar enrollment limits and equipment requirements.

Combined Sections

Two or more courses that are taught as a single class (i.e. with the same instructor(s) and at the same day, time and location) must be scheduled as combined sections. Courses may be offered within the same subject area, but this is not required.

Combined sections require associate dean approval and must be coordinated with University Scheduling during schedule production prior to optimization.

Shadow Sections

In order to allow all departments to schedule the courses our students need, departments are discouraged from overscheduling sections when demand for them is not clear. Except in a small number of cases with prior permission, departments are not allowed to schedule shadow sections that are assigned to a room but are not open for enrollment.

Off-Grid Sections

Course sections scheduled outside of a standard time module (i.e. “off-grid”) require prior approval to do so. Refer to the Enrollment Planning Resources page for more on off-grid scheduling.

Changing Class Meetings

Class meetings should be finalized during schedule production before the Schedule of Classes is published.

Once the Schedule of Classes is published, a class meeting may only be changed to correct university error. Associate dean approval is required, and the change must be coordinated with University Scheduling and is subject to room availability. If students have enrolled, enrollment will be dropped, the section will be cancelled and a new section will be scheduled with the correct class meeting. The department or college are responsible for communicating changes to the affected students.

Room Assignments

Optimization

University Scheduling coordinates room assignments during schedule production via optimization in Astra Schedule. Optimization is based on scheduling preferences, which are generally based on pedagogical needs; enrollment limit vs. room capacity and a minimum seat fill requirement of 50%. Courses scheduled to standard time modules receive priority, as do courses with instructor assignments scheduled back-to-back in 10-minute intervals.

Pedagogical needs not accommodated by scheduling preferences may warrant entry of a room assignment directly in GET. Such assignments require associate dean approval and may require approval from the Vice Provost for Planning and Budget. Entry of large lecture room assignments (i.e. TEC rooms with capacity of 75+) in GET prior to optimization is not permitted and will be removed.

Assignment of a specific room in one term does not guarantee assignment of that room in a future term, even if the room was utilized efficiently. It should not be expected that courses would be able to use the same room or rooms from term to term on a continual basis.

All room assignments will be provided to colleges for review following optimization. Courses that do not receive a room assignment via optimization may require use of another standard time module and/or an adjustment to the enrollment limit in order to obtain a room that meets its pedagogical needs. Room assignments for these courses may be entered in GET. Courses without a room assignment when the Schedule of Classes is published will be suppressed from the Schedule of Classes and closed for enrollment pending room assignment. Courses added to the Schedule of Classes after publication are subject to room availability.

Enrollment and Room Capacity

Each enrollment limit should reflect the total number of students who will enroll in the section. Setting limits to facilitate preferred room assignments or to control enrollment status of the section (i.e. whether the section is open or closed) is not permitted.

Room capacity may not be exceeded. See Classrooms policy in Chapter V: Instructional Policies of the Faculty Handbook for details. Please note that room capacity is set by state standards based on assignable square footage and under the oversight of the state fire marshal. The standard furniture in the room conforms to that capacity; tables and chairs moved in or out of the classroom by students or employees do not affect the official capacity of the room. Courses with enrollment that exceeds capacity of the assigned room may be suppressed from the Schedule of Classes, closed for enrollment and subject to adjustment based on room availability.

Changing Room Assignments

Room assignments should be finalized during schedule production prior to the Schedule of Classes being published.

Once the Schedule of Classes is published, a room assignment may be changed in order to better accommodate a change in enrollment demand or university space needs. Such changes are subject to room availability, must be coordinated with University Scheduling and may require associate dean approval.

A room assignment may be changed if the room is determined to be inaccessible to the instructor or an enrolled student. Instructors should notify their department scheduler as soon as access to or within the room is determined to be an obstacle as indicated in the Notification of Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Requests for reasonable accommodation should be addressed to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the campus office assigned responsibility for ADA compliance, and the Office for Students with Disabilities if the accommodation concerns an enrolled student.

Cancellations

Departments and colleges are responsible for cancelling courses that will not be offered. Cancellations processed in the 3 weeks before the start of a term have a variety of negative consequences:

  • Faculty members teaching cancelled sections may need to be assigned to different courses, requiring new preparation with little lead time.
  • • Students in these sections may be unable to find open seats in alternate course sections; their study load may fall below what is required for financial aid and other services that require full-time enrollment certification. See the Study Load policy in the Procedures and Regulations of the University Catalog.
  • There is also little chance for the now-available classroom to be utilized at such a late date.

For these reasons, associate deans are asked to lead their colleges in closely reviewing low enrollment courses, cancelling them at least 21 days before the onset of the term. These cancellations should be done in close consultation with department chairs and with full consideration of pending registration dates, historical course demand, and other relevant analyses. Once the Schedule of Classes is published, cancellations require associate dean approval and must be coordinated with University Scheduling. Cancellations received after the start of the term may also require approval from the Vice Provost for Enrollment Services and the Vice Provost for Planning and Budget.

Once the Schedule of Classes is published, cancellations require associate dean approval and must be coordinated with University Scheduling. Cancellations received after the start of instruction may also require approval from the Vice Provost for Enrollment Services and the Vice Provost for Planning and Budget.

Final Exams

Final exams are centrally scheduled through University Scheduling for fall and spring semesters and summer 10-week sessions. University Scheduling will publish a preliminary final exam schedule prior to the start of instruction. The preliminary schedule should be used for planning purposes only. Final exams will officially be scheduled following Census. Instructors and students will receive email confirmation at that time and scheduled final exams will be viewable in GET self-service.

Centralized final exam scheduling is designed to achieve as few student conflicts as possible while reasonably accommodating the wide variety of class meeting patterns used. Final exams will be scheduled following the preliminary schedule. However, in order to alleviate concentrations of student and instructor conflicts, some courses may find the final exam scheduled to a date and time other than that indicated in the preliminary schedule. In such cases, priority will be given to courses scheduled at standard class meeting times whenever possible. Final exams will be scheduled to the regularly used room or similar if the regular room is unavailable.

Standard Final Exam Times

Standard final exam times are:

  • 7:00 to 9:00 a.m.
  • 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.
  • 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Exceptions to a scheduled final exam date, time or room require instructor, department or division chair and associate dean approvals. Exceptions for individual students require instructor and department or division chair approvals. See Final Examinations policy in Chapter V: Instructional Policies of the Faculty Handbook for details.

Instructors who require an exception and who have the necessary approvals should contact their scheduler to coordinate with University Scheduling. Exceptions should utilize standard final exam times to maximize instructional space and minimize student conflicts. All exceptions are subject to room availability and should be requested according to the dates published in the term schedule production timeline.

Final Exams for Hybrid Courses

Final exams for hybrid courses will be scheduled based on the first class meeting pattern. However, instructors of hybrid courses may choose to hold the final exam online. Instructors who choose to do so should contact their scheduler to coordinate with University Scheduling.

Instructional Space

Use and Entry

University space is provided primarily for the use of instructional programs, but may be used for activities of an educational nature and closely related to the mission of the university. Scheduling priority is generally granted to instructional programs followed by intercollegiate and extended education programs, university sponsored activities and activities intended for the campus audience. See Administrative Procedure 505 for details.

All instructional space containing standard equipment will be accessible during instructional hours and need not be locked when vacated. Windows and doors to these rooms should be closed and lights turned off when vacated. Facilities Services may be contacted to coordinate entry if a room is locked during instructional hours.

All instructional space containing special equipment may require key, alarm, Omnilock or One Card entry. Windows and doors to these rooms must be locked when vacated. Contact the Golden Eagle One Card Office or appropriate building administrator to coordinate entry. See Administrative Procedure 503 Appendix 8.2 for list of designated building administrators.

Equipment and Maintenance

Each room has been assigned specific equipment and a maximum seating capacity. Equipment, including furniture, may not be removed. Report missing equipment to Facilities Services.

Building Maintenance is responsible for routine maintenance and repair of all instructional space. Custodial Services is responsible for general cleaning of all instructional space. Requests should be directed to Facilities Work Control Center.

Information Technology Services is responsible for maintenance of technology equipment in TEC rooms and computer labs. Requests should be directed to Information Technology Services.

All maintenance should be scheduled outside of instructional hours to avoid impact on regularly scheduled activities. Class meetings may not be relocated after the start of instruction to accommodate maintenance.

Contact Facilities Services in case of an emergency.

See Classrooms policy in Chapter V: Instructional Policies of the Faculty Handbook and Administrative Procedure 503 for details.

Space Change Requests

Requests to change instructional space must be submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost for Planning and Budget for review by the Academic Affairs Space Advisory Group. Requests should be submitted with consideration of schedule production, enrollment and instruction timelines.

Schedule Production Timelines

Summer 2019 (GET Term Code: 2196)

Date Activity GET Schedule of Classes Edit Access

Dec 17 (M)

University Scheduling releases production timeline; sends production memo to colleges

Closed

Schedule Build: All Sections

GET Edit Access

Jan 2 (W)

Department schedulers begin building all sections

Open

Jan 25 (F)

Department schedulers finish building all sections

Requests for combined sections due from colleges to University Scheduling

Optimization

GET Edit Access

Jan 28 (M)

University Scheduling audits sections and existing room assignments in preparation for room optimization; large lecture room assignments removed if entered directly in GET; corrections solicited from college schedulers as needed

Closed

Jan 29 (Tu)

University Scheduling runs room optimization in Astra Schedule; reviews optimization results

Jan 30 (W)

University Scheduling sends optimization results and room assignments to Office of VP for Planning and Budget for review; process ad hoc adjustments as needed

Feb 8 (F)

University Scheduling exports room assignments from Astra Schedule to GET Schedule of Classes

University Scheduling sends optimization results and room assignment file to colleges

Final Review

GET Edit Access

Feb 11 (M)

College schedulers begin final audit of all sections; solicit corrections from department schedulers as needed

Open

Feb 22 (F)

College schedulers finish final audit of all sections

Feb 25 (M)

University Scheduling begins final audit of all sections; solicits corrections from college schedulers as needed

Closed

Mar 1 (F)

Schedule of Classes finalized

University Scheduling sends list of sections with outstanding data quality issues to colleges; affected sections suppressed from published Schedule of Classes and closed for enrollment

Publication

GET Edit Access

Mar 4 (M)

Schedule of Classes is published

University Scheduling sends published Schedule of Classes file to colleges

Schedule of Classes change require PaGE and associate dean approval and must be submitted by the college to University Scheduling

Closed

Advising, Enrollment Validation and Registration

GET Edit Access

Mar 18 (M)

Advising begins for continuing students

Continuing students begin enrollment validation in Schedule Planner and GET self-service

Closed

Mar 19 (Tu)

Appointment registration begins for continuing students

University Scheduling begins accepting requests to reserve academic space for events and programs

Apr 22 (M)

University Scheduling releases preliminary final exam schedule for Session A

Apr 26 (F)

Remaining section cancellations expected from colleges to University Scheduling

Subsequent cancellations may negatively affect student financial aid disbursement and study load

Apr 28 (M)

Requests for Session A common final exams due from colleges to University Scheduling

May 17 (F)

University Scheduling sends term facility usage file to colleges and Public Safety

Instruction: May Session

GET Edit Access

May 20 (M)

Instruction begins

Closed

May 21 (Tu)

Add/drop deadline

May 22 (W)

University Scheduling sends supervision reconciliation file to colleges

Supervision reconciliations due from colleges to University Scheduling

Open

May 23 (W)

Census

Jun 8 (Sa)

Instruction ends

Closed

Jun 13 (Th)

Final grades due

Instruction and Final Exams: Session A (10W)

GET Edit Access

May 28 (Tu)

Instruction begins

University Scheduling sends final exam Y/N needs file to colleges

Closed

Jun 5 (W)

Add/drop deadline

Jun 6 (Th)

University Scheduling sends supervision reconciliation file to colleges

Open

Jun 11 (Tu)

Supervision reconciliations due from colleges to University Scheduling

Section Y/N final exam needs due from colleges to University Scheduling

Open

Jun 14 (F)

Census

Requests for exception to preliminary final exam date and time due from colleges to University Scheduling

Jun 17 (M)

University Scheduling runs final exam scheduling process; reviews scheduled exams, completes manual room assignments and ad hoc adjustments as needed

Closed

Jun 24 (M)

Scheduled final exams viewable in GET self-service

University Scheduling sends scheduled final exam memo to students and instructors

Aug 3 (Sa)

Instruction ends

Last day to submit scheduled final exam exception requests to University Scheduling

Aug 5 (M)

Final exams begin

Aug 10 (Sa)

Final exams end

Aug 15 (Th)

Final grades due

Instruction: Session B (5W1)

GET Edit Access

May 28 (Tu)

Instruction begins

Closed

May 30 (Th)

Add/drop deadline

May 31 (F)

University Scheduling sends supervision reconciliation file to colleges

Open

Jun 4 (Tu)

Supervision reconciliations due from colleges to University Scheduling

Jun 5 (W)

Census

Jul 1 (M)

Instruction ends

Closed

Jul 8 (M)

Final grades due

Instruction: Session C (5W2)

GET Edit Access

Jul 8 (M)

Instruction begins

Closed

Jul 10 (W)

Add/drop deadline

Jul 11 (Th)

University Scheduling sends supervision reconciliation file to colleges

Open

Jul 15 (M)

Supervision reconciliations due from colleges to University Scheduling

Jul 16 (Tu)

Census

Aug 10 (Sa)

Instruction ends

Closed

Aug 15 (Th)

Final grades due

Dates and edit access to GET Schedule of Classes is planned as published in this timeline, but may be subject to change based on PaGE and/or Academic Affairs need. Please note that this production timeline does not include production for Early Start Program courses.

Session A final exams will be held during Session A final exams week. Final exams for all other sessions may be held on the last regular class meeting day.

Fall 2019 (GET Term Code: 2199)

Date Activity GET Schedule of Classes Edit Access
Nov 19 (M) University Scheduling releases production timeline; sends production memo to colleges Closed
Nov 26 (M) University Scheduling copies fall 2018 section data to fall 2019; sends prior term copy file to colleges
Nov 29 (Th) University Scheduling hosts schedule production meeting
Schedule Build: Large Lecture and Hybrid Sections GET Edit Access
Dec 3 (M) Department schedulers begin building large lecture and hybrid sections Open
Dec 14 (F) Department schedulers finish building large lecture and hybrid sections
Requests for combined large lecture and hybrid sections due from colleges to University Scheduling
Optimization GET Edit Access
Dec 17 (M) University Scheduling audits sections and existing room assignments in preparation for room optimization; large lecture room assignments removed if entered directly in GET; corrections solicited from college schedulers as needed Closed
Dec 18 (Tu) University Scheduling runs room optimization in Astra Schedule; reviews optimization results
Dec 19 (W) University Scheduling sends optimization results and room assignments to Office of VP for Planning and Budget for review; processes ad hoc adjustments as needed
Dec 21 (F) University Scheduling exports room assignments from Astra Schedule to GET Schedule of Classes
University Scheduling sends optimization results and room assignment file to colleges
Schedule Build: All Sections GET Edit Access
Dec 31 (M) Department schedulers begin building all remaining sections Open
Jan 18 (F) Department schedulers finish building all remaining sections
All remaining requests for combined sections due from colleges to University Scheduling
Optimization GET Edit Access
Jan 22 (Tu) University Scheduling audits sections and existing room assignments in preparation for room optimization; large lecture room assignments removed if entered directly in GET; corrections solicited from college schedulers as needed Closed
Jan 23 (W) University Scheduling runs room optimization in Astra Schedule; reviews optimization results
Jan 24 (Th) University Scheduling sends optimization results and room assignments to Office of VP for Planning and Budget for review; processes ad hoc adjustments as needed
Feb 1 (F) University Scheduling exports room assignments from Astra Schedule to GET Schedule of Classes
University Scheduling sends optimization results and room assignment file to colleges
Final Review GET Edit Access
Feb 4 (M) College schedulers begin final audit of all sections; solicit corrections from department schedulers as needed Open
Feb 15 (F) College schedulers finish final audit of all sections
Feb 18 (M) University Scheduling begins final audit of all sections; solicits corrections from college schedulers as needed Closed
Mar 1 (F) Schedule of Classes is finalized
University Scheduling sends list of sections with outstanding data quality issues to colleges; affected sections suppressed from published Schedule of Classes and closed for enrollment
Publication GET Edit Access
Mar 4 (M) Schedule of Classes is published Closed
University Scheduling sends published Schedule of Classes file to colleges
Schedule of Classes changes require associate dean approval and must be submitted by the college to University Scheduling
Advising, Enrollment Validation and Registration GET Edit Access
Mar 18 (M) Advising begins for continuing students Closed
Continuing students begin enrollment validation in Schedule Planner and GET self-service
Apr 8 (M) Appointment registration begins for continuing students
May 20 (M) University Scheduling begins accepting requests to reserve academic space for events and programs
June 3 (M) University Scheduling releases preliminary final exam schedule
July 1 (M) Requests for common final exams due from colleges to University Scheduling
Aug 1 (Th) Remaining section cancellations expected from colleges to University Scheduling Closed
Subsequent cancellations may negatively affect student financial aid disbursement and study load
Aug 15 (Th) Sections to transition from wait list to consent required due from colleges to University Scheduling
Aug 16 (F) University Scheduling transitions requested sections from wait list to consent required; automated wait list stops for sections as they transition to consent required
University Scheduling sends term facility usage file to colleges and Public Safety
Instruction and Final Exams GET Edit Access
Aug 20 (Tu) Instruction begins Closed
University Scheduling sends final exam Y/N needs file to colleges
University Scheduling sends student course evaluation instructions and department course lists to departments
Sep 4 (W) Add/drop deadline
Sep 5 (Th) University Scheduling sends supervision reconciliation file to colleges Open
Departments may enter remaining instructor assignments, workload, and APDB corrections only for Office of Institutional Effectiveness reporting
Sep 12 (Th) Supervision reconciliations due from colleges to University Scheduling
Section Y/N final exam needs due from colleges to University Scheduling
Sep 16 (M) Student course evaluation department course lists due to University Scheduling
Sep 17 (Tu) Census
Sep 20 (F) Requests for exception to preliminary final exam date and time due from colleges to University Scheduling
Sep 23 (M) University Scheduling runs final exam scheduling process; reviews scheduled exams, completes manual room assignments and ad hoc adjustments as needed
Oct 7 (M) Scheduled final exams viewable in GET self-service
Academic Affairs sends scheduled final exam memo to students and instructors
TBD APDB reporting deadline for Office of Institutional Effectiveness
Departments finish entering remaining instructor assignments, workload, and APDB corrections
Nov 25 (M) Student course evaluations open Closed
Dec 9 (M) Instruction ends Closed
Student course evaluations close
Last day to submit scheduled final exam exception requests to University Scheduling
Dec 10 (Tu) Final exams begin
Dec 16 (M) Final exams end
Dec 18 (W) Final grades due
Jan 3 (F) University Scheduling sends student course evaluation summaries to departments

Dates and edit access to GET Schedule of Classes is planned as published in this timeline, but may be subject to change based on Academic Affairs need.

Winter 2020 (GET Term Code: 2201)

TBD

Spring 2020 (GET Term Code: 2203)

TBD