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Scheduling Classes on Grid

Departments must adhere to common start and end times for all UIC classes in all terms including summer. This requirement is referred to here as "staying on-grid." Staying on-grid serves two key purposes: It allows the university to maximize classroom use, and it gives students maximal registration options, making it easier for students to create schedules, get needed classes, and therefore graduate sooner. On-grid scheduling also eliminates final exam time and space conflicts. The Classroom Scheduling Policies are intended for all sections up to and including 400 level courses. 500 level courses are allowed some leniency when necessary.

When courses are scheduled on-grid, each classroom is able to accommodate fifteen classes per week beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending before 5:00 p.m., more when counting evening hours (see below). Scheduling off-grid has a negative impact on both classroom availability and student scheduling options.  For example, a three-credit class scheduled only on Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. eliminates the ability to schedule M-W-F classes in that room at 10:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m., and students in that class cannot take other M-W-F courses at 10:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. Scheduling off-grid also creates final exam conflicts for students and faculty members.

A few colleges or departments offer degree programs with course sequences students must take in lockstep. These programs schedule courses in “blocks” across the week, making on-grid scheduling impracticable. Students in such programs rarely still need to take other courses such as General Education requirements that might conflict with such blocks of courses. Therefore, programs with such course-scheduling requirements—those who offer courses exclusively, or nearly exclusively, to students who have been accepted into that program and who do not need to work general education and other courses into their schedule—are exempt from this on-grid policy.

Otherwise, permission for off-grid requests must be requested by the department to the college dean and forwarded to the Office of Classroom Scheduling (OCS) upon approval. Given the multiple benefits of on-grid scheduling, exceptions should rarely be granted.

OCS will maintain a list of approved exceptions.

Three-credit-hour classes

The on-grid scheduling pattern for three-credit classes, which require 2 hours and 30 minutes of class time per week, must be scheduled as follows:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday sections of 50-minute blocks.  The first class begins at 8 a.m., and subsequent classes begin every hour on the hour thereafter, with a 10-minute interval between classes. Thus, the first class runs from 8:00-8:50 a.m., the second class runs from 9:00-9:50 a.m., and so on throughout the day and evening.
  • Tuesday and Thursday sections of 75-minute blocks. The first class begins at 8:00 a.m. with subsequent classes beginning every 90 minutes thereafter, with a 15-minute interval between classes. Thus, the first class runs from 8:00-9:15 a.m., the second class runs from 9:30-10:45 a.m., with subsequent classes beginning at 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8:00 p.m.

Four-credit-hour classes.

If there is no on-line alternative for some of the necessary class time, four-credit-hour classes that meet in person four days per week must be scheduled Monday through Thursday, 50 minutes per day (see above for 50-minute block policy). This leaves open more Friday times for discussion sections of other courses.

Foreign language classes that meet in person four days per week must be scheduled Monday through Thursday, 50 minutes per day (see above for 50-minute block policy). This leaves open more Friday times for discussion sections of other courses.

Non foreign language courses carrying four credit hours can meet for 50 minutes four days a week or for two days a week for 100 minutes each day. The sections must have beginning times that meet the grid criteria. Monday/Wednesday or variables of Monday/Wednesday and Friday sections must start on the hour. Tuesday/Thursday sections must meet according to the Tuesday/Thursday schedule pattern start times. Tuesday/Thursday sections must begin after 3:30 pm.

Another alternative would be to schedule two 75 minute meeting blocks on Tuesday/Thursday and a third 50 minute meeting block on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday. If you choose to use this pattern it is strongly suggested that multiple sections should spread the third 50 minute sections across Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the same time.

Seminars

Some seminars (usually 400-level-and-above courses) meet once a week for 2 hours and 45 minutes, including a 15-minute break. Seminars are to be scheduled starting at the following times:

  • TR 3:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. or
  • TR 6:30 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.
  • MW 3:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. or
  • MW 6:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
  • Departments scheduling multiple seminars must do so in pairs. For example, if a department is offering two seminars that each meet for one 2 hour and 45 minute block, one seminar should be scheduled for Tuesday at 3:30, and the second seminar must be scheduled for Thursday at 3:30. (Even so, departments are free to offer an odd number of seminars; OCS will coordinate with other departments to maintain an on-grid schedule in that case.)

Spreading Course Schedule Throughout the Day

Departments must schedule undergraduate courses at all available times throughout the day. The earliest class starts at 8:00 a.m., and the last class could start as late as 8:00 p.m. if a college chooses to have night classes, but generally the day ends at 6:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Scheduling classes predominantly between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. strains the classroom inventory, prevents the Office of Classroom Scheduling from scheduling classes efficiently, and limits students’ ability to construct a viable schedule, which threatens timely graduation. Note that the entire inventory of the eastside campus of 181 classrooms is 8,574 seats. Every hour of classes scheduled beyond 5:00 p.m. allows up to 8,574 additional enrollments.

To fairly distribute course offerings across campus and ensure students maximum flexibility of scheduling:

  • Not more than 60% of each department’s sections may be scheduled between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Not more than 60% of each department’s classes may be scheduled using the Tuesday/Thursday pattern, between 9:30 a.m. and 3:15 pm.
  • Classroom scheduling priority will be given to on-grid classes and to those departments that spread their classes over the course of the day.
  • Permission for exceptions must be requested by the department to the college dean and forwarded to Office of Classroom Scheduling, within the Office of the Registrar, upon approval. Given the multiple benefits of spreading courses throughout the day, exceptions should rarely be granted.
  • In fall and spring semesters, departments that do not comply with the 60% rules above during the first round of scheduling (first preproof) will be notified by the Office of Classroom Scheduling. During the second round of scheduling, the Office of Classroom Scheduling will make adjustments to those department schedules so that they are in compliance. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the 60% rule be met by the department, while they have the ability to set their own schedule. Adherence to the 60% rule will allow UIC to more fully utilize existing classroom space.

Lab, Discussion, and Studio sections

  • Lab, discussion, and studio-type sections must be on-grid and spread across days and times. For example, eight discussion sections linked to a lecture need to be distributed according to the grid and spread policies described above. For example, one discussion section could be held on Monday, one on Wednesday, and one on Friday, all beginning at the same time. Two of the discussion sections could also be scheduled on Tuesday/Thursday so long as they begin at 8:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., or 2:00 p.m., and so on.

Final Exams

All course exams (except for final exams) must be given within the scheduled course meeting times. Final exams are given according to the official separate schedule after the end of classes.  The only exception is for officially scheduled combined-section exams.