Timetabling Policy

Policy code: SS2019
Policy owner: Manager, Strategic Scheduling
Approval authority: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Approval date: 29 January 2018
Next review date: 29 January 2023


This policy outlines how the University intends to achieve coordinated and consistent timetabling practices of teaching activities and casual bookings of space across all areas of the University in order to facilitate the timely production of the annual University-wide timetable.

The policy aims to produce a University timetable that is equitable, effective and complete to ensure a high quality student experience whilst responding to the needs of the schools and maximising efficient use of space and resources.

This document should be read in conjunction with the Timetabling Procedure.


This policy applies to the scheduling of all teaching activities (timetabled and non-timetabled) and the casual bookings of teaching and meeting space at all Federation University Australia campuses.

This policy does not cover:

  • Teaching activities and casual bookings at Partner Provider Organisations; and
  • Spaces that are only used for external bookings.

Legislative Context

  • Statute 1.4 The University Year and Timetables
  • Federation University Australia Act 2010
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  • Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) Threshold Standards 2011
  • Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association (TEFMA) Inc – Space Planning Guidelines


Term Definition
Auto enrol Also known as linked classes. Used in my Student Centre to ensure when a student enrols in one component they are automatically enrolled in the linked component. For example students enrolling into Tutorial/01 must also enrol into Practicum/01.
Auto-scheduling Timetabling use the auto-scheduling feature to schedule all classes in bulk. Classes are scheduled at once based on the constraints entered during the data collection phase (e.g. staff unavailability, location preferences etc.). 
Campus Refers to the campuses administered by Federation University Australia at which the teaching of the course is conducted.
Casual room bookings An ad-hoc booking of a University space such as teaching or meeting space that are not reflected on the official University timetable.
Class A timetabled or non-timetabled teaching activity, such as a lecture, tutorial, workshop etc. scheduled for a course in a particular teaching period or semester into which Higher Education students enrol.

An occurrence of two or more teaching activities that share one or more resources (such as locations or staff) that are scheduled at the same time or which overlap.

Student Clash - The occurrence of students enrolling in two classes scheduled at the same time. Class timetables are setup to avoid clashes of core courses and as many elective course combinations as possible.

Coordinator, Programs A professional staff member responsible for supporting Program Coordinator’s with the management of programs.
Core Course A course that is specified in the program structure as mandatory for the award.
Course A subsidiary element of a program; a single subject comprising part of a program.
Course Component The different aspects of a course which shows how a course offering is delivered. E.g. lecture, tutorial, practicum etc.
Course Offering The different campus and semester combinations where the course is offered.
Course Coordinator An academic with overall responsibility for the design, delivery and assessment of a course of study.
Draft Timetable The timetable is a work in progress and all classes are not completely scheduled. Classes are available for viewing by staff on the web timetable system. Staff also have the opportunity to make changes to the draft timetable without Dean and DVC approval.
Education Manager A TAFE staff member responsible for the overall management of a program or range of programs.
Elective Course A non-compulsory course which may be undertaken as part of a student’s program of study.
my Student Centre The Student Management System used by Federation University Australia. Also known as Campus Solutions. This system is where all students’ record information is stored and where students enrol and Higher Education students receive their individual timetable.
Non-Timetabled Class A class into which students are required to enrol in my Student Centre where there is no timetabled component. E.g. course is delivered online.
Program A program of learning based on a curriculum, training package, courses/units of study, or structured workplace learning that leads to an award listed in University Schedule 5.1.
Program Coordinator An academic responsible for the overall management of a program or range of programs.
Program Structure An approved structure which the student is required to study in order to complete their award. The program structure should contain the order and where the student must complete their studies (year, semester and campus). It also must specify which courses are core, elective or form part of a major or minor.
Provisional Timetable The timetable is a work in progress and all classes have now been scheduled.  Classes are available for viewing by staff on the web timetable system. Staff also have the opportunity to make changes to the provisional timetable (if possible) without Dean and DVC approval.
Publication of Timetable The timetable is published on the web timetable system for both students and staff, and populated in my Student Centre ready for the students to enrol when enrolments open.
Rested When a course offering is not required as a timetabled or non-timetabled class for a specific year but may be required in future years.
Scheduling Groups Groups of classes which determine the order that classes are scheduled. Timetabling then use the auto-scheduling feature to schedule all classes in bulk. The classes are then scheduled based on the preferences collected by school staff during the data collection phase (e.g. student structure combinations, staff unavailability, location preferences etc.) 
Scheduling Portal A portal within the Service Now system which allows staff to view Scheduling Services information and submit requests (such as timetable change requests) for the Scheduling Services team to investigate and action.
Scheduling Services A department within Student Support Services responsible for the operations of both timetabling and examinations.
Space Audit A snapshot or capture of the space details in a building or structure to evaluate the accuracy, efficiency, and utility of spaces.
Specialist Teaching Space A space designed for specific teaching and learning purposes (e.g. scientific laboratory, clinical laboratory, dance studio, gym etc.)
Standard University Teaching Hours The standard hours for all teaching activities. For FedUni this is Monday – Friday between 8.30am and 6.30pm. Teaching outside of these hours is required to be requested or approved by the relevant school.
Student set A set of activities within a program structure which must be scheduled to avoid clashes in student’s timetables.
Teaching Space Any room or combination of rooms used to conduct teaching activities.
Teaching Staff Academic or TAFE staff with teaching responsibilities.
Teaching Week Pattern The weeks or period of time where the teaching of the course is being delivered.
Team Leader, Timetabling Responsible for the coordination of all timetabling activities, including the delivery of the University Higher Education and TAFE timetables.
TEFMA Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association. TEFMA represents facilities management in the Australasian tertiary education sector. TEFMA provides benchmarking in performance against other Universities.
Term The period of time for the delivery of a course in which students enrol and are charged fees. Terms include semesters, trimesters and non-standard terms such as Summer, Winter and Spring.
Timetable Schedule of Higher Education and TAFE learning and teaching activities.
Timetable Data Collector A system used to collect staff unavailability and course timetable and non-timetable delivery requirements (including: course component size, teaching week pattern, teaching staff (if known), location preferences) from the school during the data collection phase of the timetable.
Timetabling Officer Responsible for the administration, development and maintenance of the Higher Education and TAFE timetables and casual room bookings using the Universities timetabling systems across all University campuses.
Timetabling System A system called Syllabus Plus used for the scheduling of timetabled and non-timetabled teaching activities and the booking of non-teaching events in teaching and meeting spaces.
Web Room Booking The online casual room booking system used to make an ad-hoc room booking that is not reflected on the official university timetable.
Web Timetables An online system which allows both staff and students to view scheduled timetable information for a specific department, course, location, program of study or staff member.

Policy Statement

1.    Principles

The University’s timetable supports delivery of high-quality teaching, enabling students to learn effectively whilst achieving optimal utilisation of the University’s physical resources.

  1. Teaching activities will be scheduled at times and in spaces that are consistent with:
  2. Best practice in learning and teaching;
  3. Facilitating student attendance and maximising student choice, wherever possible;
  4. The effective and efficient utilisation of teaching space and resources;
  5. The use of specialist spaces for the designated purpose;
  6. Producing equitable timetable allocations for both students and staff;
  7. University policies in relation to work, life and family, equity and diversity; and
  8. Occupational Health and Safety and fire code regulations.


2.    Teaching Times and Dates

All classes must be scheduled within the allocated term dates of which the student is enrolling in. Any courses that have classes scheduled outside of the allocated term dates will require approval from Academic Board as stated in point 2 of Statute 1.4 - The University Year and Timetables (pdf, 9kb).

All classes will be scheduled within the Standard University Teaching Hours which are Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 6.30pm, except where:

  • A specific request is made to hold the class outside of the teaching hours; or
  • Consent is received by the school to schedule the class outside of teaching hours.

All classes will commence on the half hour, and are normally scheduled in multiples of one hour blocks, except where:

  • A class requires travel time or setup and pack up time; or
  • A class ends on the hour and there is another class of similar setup within the same room that can be scheduled back to back. This is in order to ensure better utilisation of teaching space.

All classes must finish at least ten minutes prior to the end of the allocated time for that class. The class to follow should use the ten minutes as set up time.


3.    Construction and Publication of Timetable

To enable students to enrol into timetabled classes, the University’s timetable will be developed in advance for forthcoming academic year as per timelines published in the Scheduling Portal.

To maximise student choice and ensure equitable and fair use of all resources, a new timetable will be constructed each year.

All new Higher Education courses and course offerings must be approved according to the ‘Adding a New or Modifying an Existing Course’ timelines and process in the ‘Approval of New Award Programs (Higher Education) Procedure’ and before the timetable is published. 

To enable students to enrol in my Student Centre, all Higher Education timetabled and non-timetabled teaching activities must be scheduled in the timetabling system regardless of whether the activity is taking place in a general teaching space, specialised space, off-campus or online.

The timetable procedure is a jointly managed process, with school staff providing program specific information, determining appropriate and equitable delivery requirements and resources needed for teaching; and timetabling staff determining how best to meet these needs within the constraints imposed by available resources, ensuring a clash-free student enrolment in core courses, and to maximise the student’s choice in elective courses, wherever possible.

The timetable will be available for teaching and other relevant school staff in ‘draft’ and ‘provisional’ form prior to publication, for feedback and resolution of identified scheduling issues.

Once the Timetable is finalised, the final timetable will be published to both staff and students on the web timetable system available on the Scheduling Portal.

Once enrolments open in my Student Centre, Higher Education students will enrol into timetabled classes.


4.    Timetable Changes After Publication

Changes to the timetable after publication must be kept to a minimum as students use the timetable to make enrolment and class allocation decisions that best fit their academic interests as well as their family and work commitments.

Once the timetable has been published, changes to the timetable will only be made in exceptional circumstances and may require approval by both the school Dean (or delegated officer) and Deputy Vice Chancellors (DVC’s).  

The following timetable changes must be approved after the timetable has been published:

  • Cancelling or closing classes due to lower than planned numbers and where there are students enrolled;
  • Unexpected staff turnover where a suitable substitute cannot be found;
  • Changes to mode of delivery for a course offering;
  • Change to compulsory or elective courses within a program structure;
  • Student timetable clash for compulsory courses; or
  • To make reasonable adjustments to accommodate students and academic staff with special needs.

The following timetable changes do not require approval from the DVC’s after the timetable has been published:

Change of allocated location if suitable alternative location is available;

  • Cancelling or closing classes where no students are enrolled;
  • Increasing or decreasing a class size if less than capacity of the allocated location.
  • Adding additional classes due to higher than expected student numbers; or
  • Change of staff allocation where the identified staff member is available.

All post publication timetabling requests must be submitted to timetabling via the relevant change request within the Scheduling Portal.


5.    Teaching and Meeting Spaces

All teaching and meeting spaces at Federation University Australia are administered by the University and will be centrally booked through the timetabling system, ensuring:

  • Non-specialist teaching and meeting spaces are available equally to all areas in the University.
  • Specialist teaching and meeting spaces can be restricted to specific areas and can only be booked or approved by staff in specific areas where appropriate.

Classes will be scheduled in teaching spaces that are appropriately equipped and suited to the mode of teaching and planned class size where possible.

Teaching spaces will have a maximum capacity that is consistent with the safety and access requirements as specified in the Building Code of Australia. The size of each class cannot exceed the capacity of the allocated room.

Casual room bookings in teaching spaces for the forthcoming academic year will not open until both the Higher Education and TAFE timetables are published.

Facilities Services are responsible for setting the room capacity and layout for all university teaching spaces. If the layout is altered for a session it must be returned to its original layout upon finish.


  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this policy and its accompanying procedure/s.
  • Manager, Strategic Scheduling is responsible for maintaining the content of this policy as delegated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Student Support and Services.
  • Team Leader, Timetabling is responsible for the administrative support for the maintenance of this policy as directed by the Manager, Strategic Scheduling.


The Timetabling Policy will be communicated throughout the University via:

  1. an Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy;
  2. distribution of e-mails to Head of School / Head of Department / University staff; and
  3. notification to Schools


The Timetabling Policy will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. an Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy; and/or
  2. training sessions