Classroom Assignment Process
With classroom use in excess of 90% during "prime time", there is no time or space for inefficiency in the classroom schedule. It is important for Rice to be vigilant in planning the use of classrooms, so groups which meet frequently and in regular patterns are given priority over those which do not. Accordingly, the emphasis in classroom assignment is placed first on academic classes, then on classes' exams and support meetings, and finally on other departmental meetings and events.
Several months before the start of a semester, each academic department submits the list of courses and sections it will offer. For each section, the department may request specific room attributes, such as a lecture hall with chalkboards, or a conference room with an instructor PC for AV projection, or a room with whiteboards.
Using factors such as historical registration figures and departments' enrollment expectations, the Office of the Registrar determines the projected enrollment for each section.
In an elaborate process, the OTR uses each section's room request and projected enrollment to assign classrooms for as many sections as possible, giving preference to Anchor Courses and to sections which meet in Standard Class Times . The prioritized goals of the assignment process are:
- to provide rooms with a sufficient number of seats for the projected number of students
- to provide rooms with the requested room attributes
- to provide rooms which minimize the expected travel distance for instructors and students
(Note: Departments are allowed to plan their course offerings independently, without regard to the "big picture" of classroom demand for all of the university's departments as a whole. This can lead to classroom demand in excess of supply, especially during "prime time", so there is no guarantee that classrooms will be available for all sections.)
Events are assigned rooms only after a semester's classes have been assigned rooms. In order to accommodate as many events as possible, efforts are made to place each event in a room of appropriate size.