Fall Semester 2021 Course Scheduling Information

This Office of the Registrar webpage addresses specific topics and areas of change in preparation for Fall Semester 2021.

If you are looking for a history of Rice's academic changes due to COVID-19, they can be viewed on the History of Academic Changes Due to Rice's COVID-19 Response page.

Table of Contents

Overview of Messaging

Academic Restart Committee (ARC), Provost, and President Messages

The Academic Restart Committee (ARC) and Provost DesRoches have provided guidelines for the academic activities at Rice. The emails that have thus far been sent to the community addressing these guidelines are linked below.

Office of the Registrar Messages to Department Schedulers Regarding Fall 2021

The Office of the Registrar (OTR) has sent the following emails to departmental schedulers about the Fall 2021 schedule:

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar can be accessed on the Fall Semester 2021 academic calendar page.

FAQs about the Academic Calendar

Are there any changes to the Fall 2021 academic calendar?
  • Classes will begin on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, to allow faculty to prepare to move their courses online for the first two weeks of the semester.
  • All registration-related (and Course “Add”) deadlines have been extended by one week, to Friday, September 10, 2021.
  • The Pass/Fail and Late Drop dates have been extended to the last day of classes, which is Friday, December 3, 2021.
Are classes cancelled for Monday, August 23, and Tuesday, August 24, 2021?

Because Rice will be moving to online instruction for the first two weeks of the semester, Monday, August 23, and Tuesday, August 24, 2021, have been designated as Semester Course Preparation Days. On these days, no instruction will occur.

Will the classes Semester Course Preparation Days on Monday, August 23, and Tuesday, August 24, 2021, be made up later in the semester since there won't be any instruction taking place?

As of 8/19/2021, no, these classes will not be made up.

Course Schedule

Many of the scheduling rules and policies that have been suspended over the last several semesters have been put back into place, but some items from the past two semesters will remain in place. The bullet points below highlight some key items.

  • The standard time blocks for Fall 2021 will be the university's normal/original standard time blocks found here.
  • If you plan on reserving seats for incoming matriculants, you will only be able to do that on new course section; if a course section is already created, you will need to cancel the original section and add a new section.
  • Courses will need approval to be offered online through the original process: a course must be approved in CourseLeaf CIM and have been approved for online instruction before it can be placed on the schedule as online. This is different than the way it was in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. (Note: any university approved exceptions announced by the Provost will supersede this workflow requirement.)
  • The 2/3 Prime Time Rule for course scheduling will be enforced.

What Departments and Schools Need to Do

  • Review scheduling emails and deadlines (listed above and in emails to department schedulers) and submit appropriate changes by the deadlines.

Course Syllabi

In January 2012, Rice's Faculty Senate approved a student-initiated motion regarding syllabus standards and the required distributing of course syllabus information. Syllabi are normally required to be uploaded by the first day of classes. Uploading a syllabus will enable students to successfully "shop" for courses during the ADD/DROP period. All students, even those not registered for the course, are able to view a syllabus that has been posted/archived within ESTHER.

Additional information regarding course syllabi can be found on the Course Syllabus page.

Courses With Enrollments 51-and-up (Semester Week 3 Adjustments)

(Updated 09/16/2021) Most classes are reverting to face-to-face instruction, including those with enrollments of 51 or more. Please see Fall 2021 Course Instruction Update (9/16/2021) for additional information. For more information on courses that are taught online this fall semester, please visit the Rice University Course Schedule at courses.rice.edu and query by Method of Instruction.

FAQs about the Course Schedule

What changes have been made to instructional methods for Fall Semester 2021?

As noted in the Fall Course Instruction Update (8/19/2021) the university went to online instruction for the first two weeks of the semester. As announced on 09/02/2021, the university is returning to face-to-face instruction beginning with week 3 of the semester for classes that have an enrollment of 50 or fewer students. Fall 2021 classes with enrollments of over 50 students are expected to be delivered remotely, unless given an exemption by the provost.

I have a course that cannot be moved online. How do I get an exception to the online delivery requirement?

Instructors of courses with enrollments of over 50 who wish to be exempted from the online requirement and teach face-to-face and in-person may request an exemption by contacting the Provost Office at provost@rice.edu by 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3.

I have a course that has a common lecture that is moving online, but we have discussion sections or labs that are 50 students or less. May those still meet in person?

Discussion sections/labs with 50 or fewer students may still meet in person.

Classroom Assignments

The OTR has assigned classrooms for Fall 2021 using enrollment data for Fall 2021. Rooms have been posted to the Course Schedule.

FAQs about Classroom Assignments

When will room assignments be released?

Room assignments have been posted to the Course Schedule, as of the beginning of August.

What if the classroom I am assigned will not work for me or my class?

The supply of classrooms is limited. If your assigned classroom poses a significant problem, please email registrar@rice.edu and explain the issue and what you think can be done to rectify it. We will make every attempt to satisfy your need, but please keep in mind that it is possible that the assigned room may be the only option available.

If a course is being held online only, will an instructor teaching online be assigned a room?

Generally, no, a room will not be assigned. Should a room be needed for the instructor to give the presentation, use classroom technology, utilize a whiteboard, please email registrar@rice.edu, and we will find an appropriate room for what is needed from the available spaces.

I would like to use my assigned classroom to facilitate my online course during the first two weeks of classes due to online instruction. May I do this?

Yes. Your assigned room will stay assigned to that course through those first two weeks. If changes are made, you would be notified.