Timetabling & venues

Estimating enrolment numbers       Getting the right venue          Precint officers
Booking the venue        

Estimating enrolment numbers

Before arranging your timetable and venue, you need to estimate how many students will enrol.

There are a few tricks for making a reasonably accurate estimation for both established and new units.

  • If you have a local timetabling officer (or equivalent) they can help you estimate anticipated enrolment numbers.
  • If you do not, look at previous enrolments in the same unit or produce an estimate if it’s a unit that hasn’t been run recently (or at all).

Estimating enrolments for established units

Enrolment and pre-enrolment numbers for units that have been run in recent years, dating back to 2002, are available at: Timetable.

  1. Look at enrolment numbers over the last three years to see if there is any trend, or if numbers have been fairly steady.
  2. If numbers are up and down, it's best to estimate on the high side. At the worst, you'll have a slightly larger venue than you need, or you may just need to cancel a tutorial group. Underestimating, on the other hand, can make life very difficult.

Estimating enrolments for new units

  1. Look for any previous units that dealt with similar or related subject-matter (if available) and use those enrolment totals as a guide.
  2. If no similar units have previously been run, look at numbers for units taught at the same level (e.g. 'junior', 'senior', 'postgraduate') in your subject area and use these as a guide.

Checking enrolment numbers

Last minute enrolments can mean fluctuating class numbers. Check enrolment numbers from pre-enrolment onwards to ensure students can be accommodated in your allocated venue. If numbers are substantially greater or fewer than your estimate,

  • contact your timetabling officer (or the Timetabling Unit directly) to arrange a larger venue; or
  • change the day or time to access a more appropriate room; or
  • consider running a repeat class at another time (this may have implications for your workload or budget).

Getting the right venue

Many first year units of study - particularly those with large enrolment numbers or those that involve a variety of different types of teaching - require a number of different venue types. For example, you may need to book both a large lecture theatre and a number of smaller tutorial rooms or laboratories.
Good teaching venues are in high demand, so it's not always possible to book the ideal venue for your classes.

To ensure the best chance of getting venues that are as suitable and convenient:

  1. Submit your timetable and venue booking requests on time. Request venues for classes in both semesters in the preceding year. If you need venues with a capacity of forty or above ('large' rooms), make your request before the end of October. Requests for smaller venues should be made by the end of November.
  2. Schedule your classes at the least busy times. It's generally easier to get the venues you want on a Monday or a Friday; or at the beginning and end of the day. However, most first year students are still quite young, and may have to travel long distances home, so classes that finish after dark could be difficult for them.
  3. Think about both the learning and teaching needs (and learning environment) of your unit of study, and about what will work best for you.

Things to consider when selecting a venue

What will your students be doing in class time?

  • Decide on the best use of their face-to-face contact hours.

Will they need specialist equipment or space?

  • If your students need access to particular equipment, you may need to book specialist learning spaces that are only available through your faculty, such as labs, multi-media rooms or rehearsal spaces.
  • In other cases, centrally booked rooms with more generic equipment may be fine.

What learning activities will they be engaged in?

  • For classes of seventy or more, a tiered lecture theatre is often the only sensible option. Most tiered theatres are designed to allow students to see and hear what you present from the front of the class, as well as to hear questions and discussion initiated by other students. Students can also work in pairs or slightly larger groups, at least for short periods of time.
  • For smaller groups, a room with movable tables and chairs can be re-configured for group work, or teacher-centred learning activities. If you or your students move the furniture, it's good practice to return it to its original configuration before the class ends.

Will you need specific equipment (audio-visual or otherwise) for the class?

  • Extensive A/V equipment is generally available in larger venues, but may be more limited in some smaller venues. For example, if you request a data projector, computer, document camera, DVD player and access to the net for your tutorials/seminars, the range of venues available to you may be somewhat reduced.
  • If you need equipment that is not normally in the room, for just one or two classes during the semester, you may be able to arrange access by contacting the precinct officers for that venue.

Consider your own schedule (and your physical prowess!).

  • Appropriate rooms may be far apart, and it can take up to twenty minutes to walk from one side of campus to the other. You may not be able to run classes ‘back-to-back’ if different venue types are needed and if you, or a colleague in your teaching team, need to take classes in both venues.
  • Scheduling tutorials, seminars or practicals straight after lectures can also be quite fatiguing if you are responsible for both. Think about arranging for a break between teaching commitments if this may be an issue.

Booking the venue

Venue bookings and timetabling for most classes is organised by the University Timetabling Unit. However, many faculties have their own venues, with specialist equipment, that must be booked internally. For more information on these, please contact your local administration team.

Once you have estimated how many students are likely to enrol in your unit and considered what type of venues are most likely to suit the teaching and learning needs, you are ready to book your venue. Bookings for timetabled classes in both Semester 1 and Semester 2 are usually made in October of the preceding year.

Check to see if your local administration team has a timetabling officer or other administrative assistance for timetabling. They may negotiate your timetabling and venue booking with the Timetabling Unit or arrange to book specialist faculty venues for you.

If you don’t have access to administrative assistance you can arrange your timetable and venue bookings directly with the Timetabling Unit. For detailed instructions go to the Bookings FAQ page.