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Guidelines on Timetable Clashes

Category Academic
Type Guideline
Approved by Senate 26 August 2015
Date Guideline Took Effect 14 September 2015
Last Approved Revision
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible Officer Manager, Policy and Compliance
Review Date 1 June 2019

Purpose

A timetable clash occurs when a student has two teaching events scheduled at the same time. The purpose of these Guidelines is to provide staff and student with information on:
• the University’s position on the acceptability of timetable clashes;
• the conditions under which a course of study which includes a timetable clash or clashes may be approved; and
• the authorities for approving a course of study which includes a timetable clash or clashes.

Organisational Scope

These Guidelines apply to teaching events scheduled within the University’s central electronic timetabling system, as maintained by Timetable Services, Academic Services.

Definitions

Conditional Enrolment Restricted enrolment based on previous poor academic performance. See the Academic Progress Policy.

Course Approver Members of University staff who are deputed to act on behalf of the University in approving students' proposed courses of study. Tier 2 Course Approvers are based in Admissions and Enrolment; Tier 3 Course Approvers are based in Divisions and Departments (Tier 1 course approval is system-based within eVision).

Course of Study The collection of papers which a student is enrolled or is seeking to enrol in, including all associated teaching events.

Department Includes Departments, Schools, Faculties and other units which have responsibility for the teaching of course material prescribed for the University’s various qualifications.

Enrolment Period The period during which students select papers and seek approval for their proposed Course of Study.

Teaching Events Scheduled teaching activities or specified parts of teaching activities, including lectures, tutorials or laboratories.

Teaching Period First semester, second semester or Summer School.

Teaching Stream A set of events for a teaching activity (such as a series of lectures or tutorials) into which a student is assigned. Where a teaching activity has one stream, the student will be assigned to all events. Where a teaching activity is split into multiple streams, the student will be assigned to one stream only, and will attend only the events associated with that stream (in such cases the material delivered in each stream will be the same).

Policy Content

1. General Principles

(a) Barring special approvals as detailed in these Guidelines, students are expected to attend all scheduled teaching events in their course of study.

(b) In the first instance, the University shall seek to resolve any timetable clashes in a student’s proposed course of study by assigning the student into alternative Teaching Streams.

(c) Timetable clashes which cannot be resolved by restreaming shall be assessed under two categories:
i. Allowable Timetable Clashes (see clause 2 below);
ii. Exceptional Timetable Clashes (see clause 3 below).

(d) The University shall provide information for students on timetable clashes on its website and in other publications as appropriate.

(e) Where a timetable clash is permitted within a student’s course of study, the student is expected to follow any directives or guidance provided by the University as to attendance at clashing events and/or the management of the timetable clash.

(f) Where a timetable clash arises from a change in the scheduling of events after a student is course approved, the University will advise the student on recommended courses of actions, which may include changing papers, but any such clash shall be considered approved if the student chooses to continue with their original course of study.

(g) The University reserves the right to decline a requested timetable clash in a student’s proposed course of study.


2. Allowable Timetable Clashes

(a) An ‘Allowable Timetable Clash’ is defined as a timetable clash between teaching events, where at least one of the teaching events has pre-approved arrangements in place which can accommodate the timetable clash.

(b) The University shall maintain, and publish on the University website, a schedule of papers in which it is permissible for students to not attend some of the teaching events, and which may therefore form part of an Allowable Timetable Clash.

(c) Adding papers to the schedule of Allowable Timetable Clashes requires the endorsement of the relevant Head of Department (or their nominee) and the approval of the relevant Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or their nominee). Such adding of papers to the schedule shall not be used as a substitute for the appropriate timetabling of papers.

(d) When requesting that a paper or papers be added to the schedule of Allowable Timetable Clashes a department must provide justification as to why addition of the paper(s) to the Allowable Timetable Clash schedule is required.

(e) The schedule of Allowable Timetable Clashes will be reviewed on an annual basis.

(f) Tier 2 and 3 Course Approvers have the authority to approve or decline Allowable Timetable Clashes in a student’s proposed course of study.
i. An Allowable Timetable Clash should not be approved if it involves more than two teaching events at the same time.
ii. Normally only one Allowable Timetable Clash may be approved per student per week.

(g) In approving Allowable Timetable Clashes, the University may advise or direct students as to expected attendance at clashing events and/or provide advice on how the clash should be managed. This may include providing access to additional materials such as podcasts or other media.


3. Exceptional Timetable Clashes

(a) An ‘Exceptional Timetable Clash’ is any timetable clash between two teaching events which cannot be resolved by restreaming and which is not classified as an Allowable Timetable Clash under clause 2 above.

(b) All timetable clashes occurring in Summer School shall be treated as Exceptional Timetable Clashes.

(c) Students seeking to have an Exceptional Timetable Clash approved within their course of study shall be required to make an application, which shall include:
i. the reasons as to why the clash is required within the student’s proposed course of study;
ii. any actions that the student plans to take to manage the clash within the affected papers.

(d) Decisions as to whether Exceptional Timetable Clashes will be approved or declined shall take into account the student’s academic background, study aspirations and proposed course of study. The following represent normal standards, deviations from which require sound academic reasons that should be recorded against the student’s enrolment record:
i. Exceptional Timetable Clashes should only be approved where both papers are major, minor or core degree requirements, or pre-requisites for major, minor or core requirements, and where non-approval may adversely affect degree progression;
ii. Exceptional Timetable Clashes should only be approved where the clash can be appropriately managed (access to alternative media such as podcasts may be taken into account);
iii. no more than one Exceptional Timetable Clash should be approved per student per week;
iv. the duration of an Exceptional Timetable Clash should be no longer than one hour per week;
v. no Exceptional Timetable Clash should be permitted in a student’s first year of university study;
vi. no Exceptional Timetable Clash should be permitted for any student with a Grade Point Average (GPA) in their previous year’s study of less than 4;
vii. no Exceptional Timetable Clash should be permitted where a student’s proposed course of study in the relevant teaching period exceeds 72 points for a semester.

(e) Exceptional Timetable Clashes are not permitted for students on Conditional Enrolment.

(f) If a student seeking an Exceptional Timetable Clash is a finalist, and the clashing papers are required to complete their degree, this should be given positive weight in assessing the clash but will not necessarily be the sole determining factor.

(g) Where further information is required to make a decision on the acceptability of an Exceptional Timetable Clash, staff involved in assessing the clash may contact the student to arrange to discuss their proposed course of study and academic background (e.g., by telephone or face-to-face).

(h) Authority to approve an Exceptional Timetable Clash request rests with Tier 3 Course Approvers in the relevant Department (or their nominee). Divisional Tier 3 Course Approvers or Tier 2 Course Approvers may be given authority by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) to approve Exceptional Timetable Clashes within specified categories.

(i) It is the responsibility of Heads of Department to ensure that appropriately qualified staff members are available during enrolment periods to make decisions on Exceptional Timetable Clashes within a reasonable timeframe (normally five working days).

(j) In approving Exceptional Timetable Clashes, the University may advise or direct students as to expected attendance at clashing events and/or provide advice on how the clash should be managed. This may include providing access to additional materials such as podcasts or other media.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Admission to University Statute 2011
Academic Progress Policy
Academic Timetabling Policy
Student Advising Policy

Contact for Further Information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the Manager, Policy and Compliance on policycompliance@otago.ac.nz