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Timetabling- how do we fit everything in?

Timetabling is an issue that has been at the core of student concerns for the past few years. Increasing numbers of students have placed significant pressures on the University’s infrastructure, with teaching space not increasing at an equivalent rate. This has led to timetable clashes, restriction of module options, teaching outside of the regular 9am-6pm day and any number of other issues for many students.

It is clear from SUSU’s consultation on what current students would expect from higher fees that contact hours are a key issue. Students in Humanities, Social Sciences and Geography (amongst others) have been vocal in expressing that the contact hours that they recieve for the degrees do not even offer value for money at a rate of ¬£3000 per year.

This poses more questions than answers in the context of current timetabling problems for students. How do we fit more into an already packed schedule? The easy answer would be to build more teaching space, but indications from Government are that the University’s ability to bid for capital funding to build such spaces will be significantly reduced over the next few years.

It is exceptionally important that the Student voice is at the fore of any discussion on this issue. I want SUSU to hold a strong policy stance on timetabling to ensure that students are properly represented. SUSU will be running  focus groups (with refreshments provided) on Wednesday 23rd at 12.30 and Thursday 24th March at 4pm looking to answer some of the questions that these issues pose with a view to refining them into a considered and representative policy to take to Union Council.

Please sign up for a focus group session here or email me @ vpacademic@soton.ac.uk if you are interested.

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2 Comments on "Timetabling- how do we fit everything in?"

  1. Rob
    Sasha Watson
    08/03/2011 at 6:47 pm Permalink

    My stance is clear, only to be made more fuzzy as negotiations with the University begin and I find out more about the problem – but I’d probably assume that I was mostly elected based on the fact that I would oppose extending the working day.

    The first point I will argue on is that the University SHOULD NOT be exceeding their intake-limit numbers, like it currently is doing so. Normally they should be fined, Im not sure how so this is.

    Second – its about efficiency of space and actual validation of checking that all rooms are being used at the correct time. When sorting out my timetable for lecture shoutouts – I was shocked to see the Physics lecture had empty gaps in it – that shouldn’t be happening when lectures are at 8am/ 6pm currently.

    Also – better practise for master classes/ seminars – Economics should be allowed to have a 200 large class; it doesnt benefit anyone (having done that module myself), and isnt the best use of space.

    Extending the working day isn’t practical – it negatively affects safety, catered meal times, staff costs, mental sanity, ability to partake in societies and R&R. It shouldn’t be the solution to a University trying to stretch beyond their means.

    I’ll leave that there for now.. rant over!

  2. Rob
    Luke O'Brien
    15/03/2011 at 5:24 pm Permalink

    I agree with Sasha, especially on the oversubscription! There isn’t enough room in university or halls as it is and continued unbridled expansion will be to everyone’s detriment

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