Guidelines for planning teaching at the Faculty of Arts

Guidelines for course planning at the Faculty of Arts

1. Background

The framework for course planning on the degree programmes at the Faculty of Arts is described below. The framework is described in a number of fundamental premises which are further explained in a number of supporting guidelines. The guidelines describe the faculty’s framework for drawing up a plan for the organisation of courses, exams and other forms of assessment that form part of exams. The guidelines thus constitute the framework for the planning of courses by the boards of studies and directors of studies. 

The premises and guidelines have been formulated by the steering committee for course planning based on the recommendations from the Implement process and were adopted by the faculty management team on 22 June 2023.

2. Purpose of the guidelines

The goal for everyone involved in the collaboration is to create timetables that support the teaching activities in the best possible way, thus providing the best conditions for high-quality teaching and the students’ learning processes.

In order to create a good framework for teaching activities, several factors and considerations must be taken into account. Especially the pedagogical-didactic organisation, the students’ learning processes and the teaching staff’s working conditions are of central importance. At the same time, it must be ensured that the faculty uses its resources (rooms, academic staff time and technical and administrative staff time) in the most appropriate way and makes a constructive contribution to AU’s overall course planning.

It is also crucial that all parties involved continue to focus on maintaining and further developing a good collaborative culture and communication and on further developing points of connection between department management and administrative support.

3. Premises

Timetabling involves balancing the need for harmonisation in order to solve a large and complex task and the need to retain flexibility in relation to the planning, staffing etc. of the individual department.

As there is much to be taken into consideration, it is vital that there is a common understanding of the framework across the faculty, and that the premises that form the basis for course and exam planning are widely accepted. A common understanding and acceptance of the general premises is also a prerequisite for ensuring that specific local needs can be met. In particular:

3.1. The use of rooms and timetables is planned with a focus on full-time students following the prescribed curriculum. To ensure consistency across the faculty’s units, the guidelines apply to all teaching staff, departments, locations and students.

3.2. For the sake of the study environment, most lessons take place close to where the individual degree programmes are based. 

3.3. In order to make room for all courses at the faculty, lessons take place in the period 8:00-18:00 from Monday to Thursday and 8:00-16:00 on Fridays. In special circumstances, lessons can take place in the period 16:00-18:00 on Fridays by agreement with the relevant head of department. For some teaching staff, lessons may take place within all 50 hours per week.

3.4. Timetables are planned with due consideration for the students’ well-being, the study environment and, not least, didactic organisation as well as the personal circumstances and agreed limitations of the teaching staff. The granting of special consideration will be clarified in a dialogue between the head of department and the studies administration.

3.5. All lessons are equal, in principal, and no distinction is made between lessons scheduled in the middle of the day and lessons scheduled early or late in the day, as they are all necessary in the planning of timetables.

3.6. As overbooking can cause problems for other lessons and result in some rooms not being used, all bookings must reflect the actual need according to the teaching plan. Rooms should be booked only for the number of hours stated in the course description. The head of department is responsible for ensuring that the number of hours is stated in the course description and that this number is registered when rooms are booked.

3.7. All rooms are equal, in principle, and can be used for all teaching activities, although special attention must be paid to ensuring that there is a match between the teaching activity, on the one hand, and the layout and equipment as well as the number of students and the size of the room, on the other hand. Rooms with special equipment must be booked separately.

3.8. Timetabling and the booking of rooms at Arts are linked to AU’s guidelines for the planning of courses. Therefore, as a general rule, timetables which have been subject to quality assurance will not be changed, and planned teaching activities take precedence over meetings, conferences etc. when it comes to the booking of rooms.

The following guidelines apply to the basic planning taking place before the start of the semester. Ad hoc adjustments, for example regarding changes to individual lessons due to planned absence, illness, conference participation approved by the immediate supervisor etc., are carried out in a dialogue between the studies administration and the individual member of the teaching staff.

4. Matters concerning staff and students

4.1 Teaching staff should be able to teach within the specified time frame (8:00-18:00) all teaching days of the week. Students should also be able to attend lessons within the specified time frame. The period 16:00-18:00 on Fridays is used as little as possible.

Teaching staff must be available to teach within this time frame, and exceptions to this due to special circumstances must always be approved by the relevant head of department for the semester in question.

4.2. When teaching at different campuses, no teaching is planned in the period 8:00-10:00 and 16:00-18:00 unless a specific agreement has been made between the head of department and the teaching staff.

Teaching staff with children who need to be picked up from daycare centres have the right to be exempted from all teaching activities after 16:00, by agreement with the head of department. In connection with teaching activities at another campus, it is not possible to be home in time to pick up children. Timetables are planned with due consideration for changes with regard to the location of lessons.

4.3. The head of department can inform the studies administration that in special circumstances, particular consideration should be given to teaching staff with special needs and/or challenges, for example illness or family circumstances that require special attention.

4.4. Every effort will be made to give special consideration to part-time lecturers and teaching assistants whose employment elsewhere may necessitate that certain teaching locations are avoided. Every effort will be made to deal with any obstacles in relation to attendance, as far as possible, provided that the lesson is conducted in accordance with the guidelines and framework for the location of lessons. The head of department is responsible for ensuring coordination with the studies administration and the teaching staff in connection with agreements with external lecturers.

4.5. Every effort will be made to ensure that neither teaching staff nor students have more than 6 hours of teaching activities in one day. However, practice-involved teaching activities may extend beyond 6 hours. Every effort will be made to ensure that neither students nor teaching staff have teaching activities that begin at 8:15 and end at 18:00 on the same day. For the sake of the teaching staff, individual teachers will not have lessons in continuation of each other – unless specifically requested – and, insofar as possible, every effort will be made to avoid individual teachers having lessons from 8:00 to 18:00 several times a week during the semester.

4.6. Every effort will be made to ensure that all tenured teaching staff with research obligations have one day a week with no lessons.

4.7. As a general rule, courses with the same number of hours every week will take place in the same room at the same time every week.

4.8. Every effort will be made to ensure that scheduled lessons at the individual degree programme levels and in the individual classes are spread over several days in order to give students sufficient time for preparation.

4.9. The head of department is responsible for submitting a joint report to the studies administration regarding any changes to the preliminary timetable. When the deadline for changes has expired, the timetable (following adjustments based on the reports) will be considered final. Deadlines for changes must be met due to the overall planning of timetables.

4.10. The individual teacher is responsible for comparing his or her own course overview to the timetable submitted by the studies administration. That is, the individual teacher must check that the timetable is consistent with the limitations agreed with the head of department. The head of department is responsible for ensuring that the timetable is reasonable in relation to balancing didactic considerations and the appropriate allocation of tasks for both students and academic staff.

4.11. For the sake of the study environment, most lessons take place close to where the degree programme is based, that is, close to the department, school, student associations, related academic environments, etc. From a well-being perspective, the above must be taken into account in relation to first-year students.

4.12. Lessons may be scheduled after 18:00 and on weekends in connection with professional Master’s degree programmes and other further and continuing education activities.

5. Special circumstances to be taken into account, as far as pos-sible

5.1. Every effort will be made to ensure that requests for certain conditions between lectures and related classes or classes taught by student teachers and similar structural aspects (for example hours off between classes) are met. Such requests are reported by the head of department during the initial planning. However, it cannot be guaranteed that it will be possible to accommodate requests for specific days of the week or specific time intervals.

5.2. In the week before the courses begin, there is an introduction week for all new Bachelor’s degree students at Arts. As a general rule, rooms are booked for 3-4 days for this purpose. The introduction week for Master’s degree students at DPU also takes place in the week before the courses begin. In this connection, rooms are booked for 2 days of introduction in Aarhus and Emdrup, respectively.

5.3. As a general rule, the introduction week for Master’s degree programmes and supplementary subjects at the School of Communication and Culture and the School of Culture and Society takes place in the first week of the course, as the rooms are reserved for the introduction week for students on the Bachelor’s degree programmes the week before. However, it is possible for Master’s degree programmes to book available rooms the week before the courses begin.

5.4. Regular meetings at which the member of teaching staff in question represents the school on the university’s internal boards and councils (e.g. the academic council or boards of studies) and/or the school/university in external activities (e.g. participation in research councils).

5.5. A need to change the timetables may arise over the course of the semester, either for individual lessons or – only in very special cases – the entire or large parts of a course. Every effort will be made to ensure that requests for adjustments in the organisation of entire courses made by the degree programme board and board of studies will be accommodated, as far as possible. Structural changes to the organisation of individual courses will usually have consequences for the overall timetabling at the faculty. In very special cases when the entire or large parts of a course have to be cancelled or rescheduled, the relevant member of the teaching staff must contact the relevant head of department, who assesses the basis for the request together with the relevant director of studies and, if the request is granted, contacts the studies administration and the process owner and asks them to make the change.

It cannot be guaranteed that requests for major changes can be met within the current semester. Major changes to the timetable can only be made for the next semester.

5.6. In the event of a sudden need to cancel/move a lesson, the relevant member of the teaching staff will inform the studies administration about this, including the grounds for cancelling/moving the lesson. The head of department may be involved in such requests if desired. The relevant member of the teaching staff is responsible for informing the students affected about the change on Brightspace.

6. Periods of teaching and special recurring events

6.1. The period of teaching, i.e. the beginning and end of the semester, is determined by the faculty management team for a period of two years at a time based on a recommendation from the school forum for education. However, the biennial plan for the beginning and end of the semester is discussed annually with a view to making any adjustments that have proven to be necessary in the previous year.

6.2. There is no teaching on public holidays (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whit Monday and Constitution Day) as well as the three days leading up to Easter, the day after Ascension Day and the Regatta, but the Regatta is only at Aarhus Campus. There is also no teaching in week 42.

6.3. U-days and study trials are given a high priority in relation to the booking of rooms.

7. Location of special courses

7.1. IV courses take place on Mondays, except for a few courses reserved for exchange students. The latter take place on the other days of the week.

7.2. Courses related to the Bachelor’s project take place on Fridays. Bachelor’s projects written in the spring semester are exempted from this rule.