Centralized Classroom and Event Scheduling FAQs

Centralized Classroom and Event Scheduling

What is Central Scheduling?

Central Scheduling:  Central Scheduling is comprised of four coordinated units/divisions on campus with general responsibility to the Policy for Centralized Classroom and Event Scheduling as follows: 

  1. Registrar’s Office – is responsible for scheduling classrooms for Priority 1 courses after the exclusivity period and for scheduling Priority 2-3 academic related events.
  2. Campus Reservations, Events, & Technical Services (CRETS) – is responsible for scheduling Priority 3-5 non-academic related events in rooms for users other than those for which those rooms have been pre-designated after the event exclusivity period for Academic units. 
  3. Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) – is responsible for advising and working with Academic units to maintain their pre-designated space.   
  4. Facilities Management Division (FMD) – is responsible for providing access to rooms for use after normal instructional hours (e.g., before 8 am or after 5 pm, or on weekends), and providing other facilities services requested by customary processes. 

Priority contact information for these units/divisions in Central Scheduling are:

UnitWebsiteemail
Registrar’s Officehttp://www.reg.uga.edu/classroom_schedulingclassrooms@uga.edu
Campus Reservations, Events, & Technical Serviceshttp://reservations.uga.edu/reserve@uga.edu
Center for Teaching and Learninghttp://www.ctl.uga.edu/contact/ 
Facilities Management Division

http://apps.fmd.uga.edu/workrequest/
WorkRequestForm.aspx

fmdwork@uga.edu

 

With the use of space, who are the stakeholders and what are their responsibilities?

For the purposes of the use of space that is pre-designated or not pre-designated to an Academic unit, the following stakeholders and responsibilities have been identified: 

  1. Host Academic unit. The Host is the Academic unit with approval from the Provost’s Office to use the space as their pre-designated space.  The Host Academic unit is expected to maintain its pre-designated space in a manner consistent with the Policy for Centralized Classroom and Event Scheduling.  The Host Academic unit should determine the best way to place and store room contents, room-specific artifacts and specimens to minimize the potential for damage when the room is used by a visiting/other academic units or groups. If the Host Academic unit wants to change the seating type, number of seats, or anything that might affect the pedagogy options for courses being taught there, they should speak with Space Management about the proposed changes. Any changes that would repurpose a room from being instructional to non-instructional must be approved by the Centralized Scheduling Appeals committee.
     
  2. Central Scheduling. Central Scheduling will: 
    1. keep room information in Ad Astra current and detailed enough so all Stakeholders are aware of pertinent details about a room, its capabilities, and contents,
    2. act on issues in a timely manner,
    3. advise Host Academic units and visiting/other Academic units or groups on special needs or situations that may arise,
    4. facilitate and coordinate building and room access, as well as secure the room door and building after use by the visiting/other Academic unit or group, and
    5. be responsible for assessing and resolving any conflicts that may arise.
  3. Visiting/Other Academic units or groups. Visiting/Other Academic units or groups may receive authorization to use a room which is not their pre-designated space.  The visiting/other Academic unit or group is expected to: 
    1. review details about the room in Ad Astra and visit the room in advance so that it is knowledgeable about the room and its contents.
    2. care for the room and all items in the room as if it were their pre-designated space. The Academic unit or group cannot bring any food or drink into the room unless there is explicit prior permission from the Host Academic unit or from Central Scheduling. After room use, all furnishings must be returned to their original position and all trash must be picked up and placed in receptacles. Failure to care for the room may result in the future denial for use of the room.
    3. pre-arrange with the Host Academic unit for Priority 1 courses to be held during normal instructional hours (8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday). However, for Priority 1 courses after hours, and for all Priority 2-5 events, Central Scheduling will pre-arrange access to the building and room on behalf of the visiting/other Academic units or groups.

What is the Central Scheduling Period?
The Central Scheduling Period referenced in the Centralized Classroom and Event Scheduling Timeline refers to a 2 week period during which the Office of the Registrar will assign classrooms to any course sections created in Banner for a specific term with a scheduled day and time, but no classroom. During this time, no course section records can be changed in Banner since Banner scheduler access has been temporarily removed.

What is the classroom scheduling optimization process?
The University of Georgia uses the Ad Astra space scheduling software to manage and schedule room assignments for course sections and events. Within Ad Astra is a feature known as the Room Assignment Optimizer which allows for the efficient and bulk assignment of rooms while ensuring the best possible room utilization and offering an impartial method to room assignments. This optimization process is conducted by the Office of the Registrar during the Central Scheduling Period.

What factors are considered in the classroom scheduling optimization process?
The Room Assignment Optimizer in the Ad Astra software is used to schedule course sections in classrooms. The factors used to complete room assignments are:

  • Instructor teaching back-to-back classes (it will schedule them in the same building if possible)
  • Seat fill (best fill for class in classroom) (30% weight)
  • Preferences submitted to the Office of the Registrar regarding specific location or room feature (70% weight)
  • Nearness to the subject’s home building

All subjects and courses are considered equally and have the same opportunity to receive rooms based on the factors above.

How are classroom preferences factored into the classroom scheduling optimization process?
The classroom preference sheet is sent by the Registrar’s Office via email to all course section schedulers approximately 2-3 weeks before the Central Scheduling Period. The schedulers can use the form to list any course sections that have special requests such as location or classroom features (technology, seating, etc.).

Once the preference sheets are returned to the Registrar’s Office via email, the following steps are completed by the Registrar’s Office:

  • Section information provided in the preference sheets is compared to the section information in Banner.
    • If there are any discrepancies, the Registrar’s Office will contact the departments for clarifications or corrections.
    • If a preference request is submitted for a classroom that is the designated space for another department, the Registrar’s Office will check to see if the requested classroom has already been reserved by the host Academic unit. If the classroom is not available, the Registrar’s Office will notify the requester and ask if another space or alternate period can be considered.
    • Note: The classroom preference sheet is sent prior to the Central Scheduling Period to allow for any necessary changes in Banner before course scheduler access is removed as part of the classroom scheduling optimization process.
  • The preferences are added to Ad Astra prior to the classroom scheduling optimization process so the preference can be factored into the room assignments.
  • Once the classroom scheduling optimization process is complete, the classrooms assigned in Ad Astra are then compared to the preference sheet requests and adjustments are made, if possible, to better suit course needs.
    • If the preferred locations are not available, a nearby or similar room will be assigned. If a suitable alternative is not available, the department is contacted to discuss other options.

How can submitting a classroom preference be beneficial?
Submitting a classroom preference can assist departments in scheduling courses in classrooms that they could not schedule in their designated spaces. A classroom preference is also a way for course section schedulers to inform the Registrar’s Office of special requests (location, technology, seating, etc.) that need to be factored into the classroom scheduling optimization process. For example, if a course section can only be taught in a computer lab, then a preference request should be submitted in order for the Registrar’s Office to know only that type of room can be considered in the classroom scheduling optimization process for the specified course section.

If a classroom is not assigned during the classroom scheduling optimization process, how does the Registrar’s Office assist you with finding a classroom?
During the classroom scheduling optimization process, over 2,000 course sections are assigned classrooms. The complex process of assigning classrooms is analogous to putting together a very large jigsaw puzzle and all of the pieces cannot fit in the same space.

If a course does not receive a room during the classroom scheduling optimization process, then it is usually because every room with the appropriate size, in the appropriate area of campus, and at the specified date/time has already been assigned. The Office of the Registrar will contact the departmental schedulers for the course sections that were not assigned a classroom to discuss a possible secondary time period preference or other location preferences. The Office of the Registrar will offer the departments as much information as possible to help the department determine the best alternative in order to accommodate the class.

How are preferences weighted in the classroom scheduling optimization process?
In Ad Astra, a couple of factors can be weighted in order to give more or less importance. The University of Georgia has chosen to weight preferences at 70% and seat fill at 30% in our optimizations. Based upon different optimization scenarios that have been tested, the specified weights give the best optimization results to meet university needs.

  • For example, if a 35 seat course has a preferred location of Park Hall room 144 (a 45 seat room), and the optimizer is considering 5 classes for that time period that would be a good match for room 144, even if some of those classes are 40-45 students, the optimizer may choose to place the 35 seat course into room 144 because it was stated as a preference. However, if there are 20 courses at that time period that would be good match for room 144 and can fill more seats, there is a higher chance that the optimizer will choose to schedule a larger course in room 144.

How do I know a course or event is in a classroom after 5PM?
Once logged into Ad Astra, click the Calendars tab and click Scheduling Grids. Choose the day or week you want to check and then scroll down the list of rooms to find the room you are looking for. The grid layout gives hourly blocks of the schedule, so look at the 5:00pm and after blocks of that room for courses or events after 5pm. If any course or event is scheduled in that room a colored box will display in that section with the title of the activity. The Ad Astra scheduling grid is available to view for anyone with a UGA MyID. Departments should check the scheduling grid weekly to see what courses and events have been scheduled in their designated spaces.

If my department would like to administer mass tests outside the designated course meeting times, how can I reserve instructional space for the event?
Before instructional space can be reserved for the event, a request to schedule tests outside of the courses regularly scheduled period must be submitted to Vice President for Instruction. Once the request is approved, the Vice President for Instruction will provide a copy of the approval memo to the requesting department and the Registrar’s Office. Upon receipt of the approval, the requesting department will submit a room reservation request form to classrooms@uga.edu. Once the events have been scheduled, a room reservation confirmation will be emailed to the requestor.

Is building and room information rolled from term-to-term in Banner and then imported into Astra?
No, building and room information is not rolled from term-to-term in Banner. Only the CRNs and basic course section information rolls from term-to-term.

If a room that is currently coded as instructional space should not be coded as instructional space, what should I do?
If you believe the primary function of the room is not instruction, then an appeal to the Centralized Scheduling Appeals Committee should be submitted for review. For more information about appeals, please review the Policy for Centralized Classroom and Event Scheduling.

What should I do if a room has the incorrect number of seats associated with it in Astra?
A yearly survey is sent by Space Management to all university units with designated instructional space. If seat counts are incorrect on the information provided in the survey, please submit a correction at that time. If seat counts change between survey dates, please contact Ben Liverman (bliver@uga.edu) with Space Management to initiate the process of changing the room capacity. He will then distribute the updated counts to all necessary systems including Ad Astra.

How can I look at room information (features, capacity, etc.) in Ad Astra?
Once logged into Ad Astra, click the Resources tab, click Rooms, select the building, click Search and a list of all of the classrooms in the building can be seen. Hover the mouse pointer over the index card icon (highlighted below) and the room features will be displayed.

 

Are conference rooms that are loaded into Banner as a “classroom” then available for central scheduling in Ad Astra?
No, only space that is coded as instructional space in the facilities database is available for centralized scheduling. Conference rooms are only scheduled by the department and courses will not be scheduled in the room.

When I change the building/room information for a course section in Banner, will Banner notify me that an event is already scheduled in that space in Ad Astra?
No, Banner can only show conflicts with other course sections since all event scheduling information is only in Ad Astra. Therefore, after event scheduling has begun for the term, schedulers must check Ad Astra prior to updating building/room information in Banner to confirm there are no conflicts with scheduled events. If you have any questions about this process, please contact the Registrar’s Office for assistance.

When would a room be released or removed from a course section in Banner by the Registrar’s Office?
In order to help maximize classroom usage, the Office of the Registrar has established a procedure to release rooms that are being held but not actually needed for each term. The Registrar’s Office will only remove building and room information on sections per the guidelines provided on the Release of Rooms page of the Registrar’s website.

What STEM courses can be scheduled in the SLC lecture and SCALE-UP rooms once the Central Scheduling Period begins?
The Office for the Vice President of Instruction has compiled a list of STEM courses that utilize the SLC lecture and SCALE-UP rooms for instruction.