Standard Time Blocks and Prime Time Scheduling

The success of a university of the highest grade is affirmed through the stewardship of classroom and academic spaces and the ability to offer courses at time conducive for student scheduling. In order for Rice University to fulfill its mission, the Office of the Registrar pursues a course schedule that aims to limit the number of courses with an irregular meeting pattern that would overlap many other courses; such overlap reduces the number of options for students and makes it difficult to efficiently assign classrooms.

Standard Time Blocks

Increased demand for classrooms, changes to teaching methods, faculty preferences, and conversations with faculty and department administrators have resulted in changes to Rice's Standard Time Blocks effective beginning for the Spring 2017 schedule. Additional information on this change was provided in a memo to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Academic School Deans, and Department Chairs and Coordinators.

  1. A critical factor affecting classroom use efficiency is the implementation of standard time blocks for classes. Rice University utilizes Standard Time Blocks in the following day/time period combinations. (You can filter by meeting type, day of week pattern, the number of meetings per week and the start time.)

  2. Priority classroom assignment is awarded to classes which meet in Standard Time Blocks.

    Example: A room request is made for a class to convene 11:00 - 11:50 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Since MWF 11:00 - 11:50 is a Standard Time Block option, the room request will receive priority classroom assignment.

  3. A class which does not meet in a Standard Time Block will not be scheduled to occur during Prime Time. (This class will neither start nor end during Prime Time.)

    Example: A room request is made for a class to convene 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. on Monday and Wednesday. This meeting pattern does not correspond to one of the Standard Time Blocks, and the department has planned for the class to meet during Prime Time. The request for the class to convene in a non-standard meeting pattern will be submitted for approval to the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs. If the non-standard meeting pattern is approved, the class will be assigned a classroom if space is available after rooms have been assigned for all Standard Time Block classes.

  4. Each department is expected to distribute its section offerings evenly throughout all hours of the day and all days of the week.

Prime Time Scheduling

Per the Space Task Force (2013), no more than two-thirds of a scheduling unit's offerings may be in Prime Time. This includes all sections scheduled, sections scheduled only on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and sections scheduled on Tuesday/Thursday. This policy is enforced on the initial submission of the schedule and on any individual changes to sections after the initial submission.

The rule is calculated by first finding the course sections that will count toward the calculation:

  1. Considering all of a scheduling units scheduled sections that have meeting times
  2. Removing any Anchor courses
  3. Removing any Online courses
  4. Remove any courses that are solely Laboratory courses. (Courses that are Lecture/Laboratory are kept in the calculation.)
  5. Removing any sections involved in a cross-list for which the scheduling unit does not have scheduling authority (i.e., not the lead department). If it is a UG/GR cross-list, the UG section is included, and the GR section is excluded.

A section is considered being in Prime Time if any part of the section's meeting times touch a Prime Time time slot.

After the section population is created, the following calculations are made to determine compliance. All three of these must be below 67% to be in compliance.

  • All sections scheduled in Prime Time divided by the total number of sections.
  • All sections scheduled in Prime Time on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday divided by the total number of sections on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. (If a section meets only one or two of those days, it is included in the calculation.)
  • All sections scheduled in Prime Time on Tuesday and Thursday divided by the total number of sections on Tuesday and Thursday. (If a section meets only one of those days, it is included in the calculation.)

If you are a scheduler in CLSS, you can view the courses that are being used in the Two-Thirds Prime Time calculation by using the Filter. The directions for this are available here.