Increased enrolment, pedagogical changes pushing universities to maximize classroom space

April 3, 2012

Several factors are driving a desire at Canadian universities to revise class scheduling: increasing enrolment; limited budgets; changing pedagogical methods; and new technologies. "The days of large lecture deliveries have changed," says a University of Manitoba official, whose institution now needs a greater number of smaller spaces and classrooms with technological capabilities. With new scheduling software and policy, as well as considerable focus on faculty buy-in, Carleton University boosted its classroom occupancy rate last fall to 91%, up from 46% before the double cohort of secondary school graduates hit Ontario's PSE system in 2003. A one-size-fits-all solution for scheduling does not exist, since an institution's individual situation affects its needs. Because Concordia University is an urban institution with a high proportion of working students who live off-campus, late afternoon and evening courses are in fairly high demand, and demand is low on Mondays and Fridays. "Wednesday early evening is when we find our facilities are really stretched," says Concordia's provost. On the plus side, as a downtown institution, it has the option of renting additional space rather than building it. University Affairs