On Behalf of AVC Stopple - Winter Course Scheduling

August 3, 2020

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To:     Department Chairs

From:    Jeffrey Stopple, AVC Undergraduate Education

Re:     Face to face classroom scheduling for Winter 2020

We still are planning for a limited return to in-person instruction in Fall Quarter, assuming that the Governor and public health officials will allow this, and the campus has confidence that testing, tracing, and other safety measures are in place. Because the maximum class size is 50 students, and because we are currently planning for a minimum of 45-minute intervals between classes to provide time for cleaning crews, air transfer, and the orderly entrance and exit of students, we have had to diminish our already diminished classroom capacity. 

Looking ahead to Winter Quarter, and probably Spring Quarter as well, and hoping for a careful ramp-up of some classroom instruction during this transitional period, we are reviewing course schedules to see how we could increase capacity. Departments will be encouraged to make full use of all available course times, including early morning and early evening times, if instructors are willing and available. We are not proposing Saturday classes as a way to maximize classroom utilization. However, in order to increase classroom capacity, we are considering a temporary change in course schedules.

  • Primaries (ie lecture or seminar) with three ‘hours’ of class meeting are typically offered in two 75 minute meetings (MW or TR) or three 50 minute meetings (MWF).  In practice only about 8% of primaries meet three times a week, mostly MLPS. We propose that face to face (or hybrid primaries with a face to face component) which meet in the two 75 minute meeting per week format be given priority for limited classroom space, and faculty be encouraged to select that format.  This applies only to courses which have any face to face component.
  • Fall scheduling has only one such class in a room every three hours, to allow for cleaning.  (The 15 minute gap between classes is not sufficient for cleaning, so the room needs to sit empty for a full class period.)  In consultation with the Registrar, we propose that these 75 minute classes be staggered to start every two hours, to allow 45 minutes for cleaning.  Further, to use custodial services efficiently, half the classrooms would be scheduled to start on even numbered hours (8AM, 10AM, …) the other half would be staggered to start on odd numbered hours (9AM, 11AM, …) 
  • We propose that the days offered for these be MR and TF. Seminars that meet once a week could be offered on Wednesday. If, in the future, before we can return to normal instruction, the campus wanted to consider Saturday classes, this leaves the door open, should some faculty be eager to teach and space is not available, for a WS class.  

The Registrar will be able to implement an appropriate final exam schedule. The 45 minute interval for cleaning, air transfer, and student movement may be more than is required, but we are planning with an abundance of caution. If we wanted to increase classroom utilization and not change course schedules, we might be able to scale back the classroom cleaning regimen.  

The deadline to make a decision is August 15, after which time scheduling for Winter will be under way. Please let me know if you have any comments by August 10, 2020. If there any concerns, please feel free to contact me at jstopple@ltsc.ucsb.edu.

cc:    Deans