"Teaching is about creating those moments where the world suddenly makes a little bit more sense."

Dr Ben Hanson, Department of Mechanical Engineering

UCL clock

Timetabling policy

Staff are expected to adhere to the guidelines on the teaching hour and keeping Wednesday afternoons free to allow students to take a full part in UCL's sports and extra-curricular activities.

Teaching hour

The teaching 'hour' at UCL is 50 minutes. That means that classes, lectures, seminars, demonstrations, e.t.c. should begin at 5 minutes past the hour and finish at 5 minutes before the hour. This is (a) because of the intensive use of our teaching rooms, which necessitates large change-overs of students, and (b) because many students have to walk long distances between teaching spaces. Please keep your teaching times within these parameters.

Furthermore, please note that, if you reconfigure the desks or other furniture in a classroom, you should ensure that the room is returned to the standard layout before you hand over to the next class. Any moving of furniture should be completed within the 50 minutes allocated for teaching to ensure that the next class can start promptly.

Wednesday afternoons

All undergraduate teaching should finish at 12.55pm on Wednesday afternoons, and graduate teaching after this time should be avoided if at all possible.

Wednesday afternoons are extremely important for all our students, since this is the time when they can take advantage of UCL's many opportunities for personal development through taking part in extra-curricular activities. The need for teaching to finish at 12.55pm is especially acute for those students taking part in field sports, since the completion of matches and training in daylight hours is essential for the safety of the participants. It is very important that we ensure that our students have the chance to take part in extra-curricular activities on Wednesday afternoons, and we should remember that we regard the UCL student experience as being a holistic one.

Any decision to hold classes on Wednesday afternoons must be discussed and agreed with all students involved, and should not be scheduled if failure to attend is likely to prejudice a student's academic progress. If it proves absolutely impossible for one reason or another to hold the classes at any other time but a Wednesday afternoon, arrangements should be put in place for students who wish to take part in extra-curricular activities on Wednesday afternoons.

Religious observance obligations

UCL has no obligation to avoid specific dates, or to reschedule lectures or classes to accommodate absences due to religious commitments. However, requests by students wishing to be absent to observe religious festivals, holy days, or specific prayer times should be dealt with sympathetically by departments and staff, who should be prepared to make alternative arrangements to teaching and learning arrangements as long as they do not cause undue disruption.

Requests/representation from people with less well known religious beliefs should be treated with the same sensitivity as those with more well known or mainstream religions or beliefs.

Each academic year, a calendar of the main religious holidays, festivals and important days is made available to staff and students at UCL so these can be taken into account in advance by departments with reference to drafting teaching timetables, coursework deadlines and field trips etc.

Students should not be registered as 'absent' without good cause if they are absent due to religious commitments, provided this has been discussed and agreed with their tutor.

Where students will have to miss lectures which cannot be rescheduled, the best course of action is for the department to negotiate with the students concerned about alternative arrangements that could be put in place to ensure that they can make up the class(es) missed. This might include:

  • Arranging for the lecture to be podcast via iTunes U, or for materials to be uploaded onto Moodle, or via Portico or other departmental websites.
  • Providing comprehensive handouts.

UCL has set up an online common timetable which enables staff to schedule their teaching time while catering for students on interdisciplinary courses. It covers all undergraduate timetabled teaching and selected Master's programmes.

This short video guide explains how to get the best out of this facility, which allows teachers to create or view their personal timetable and find out when and where things are being taught either by department, subject area or degree programme.

Page last modified on 18 jul 11 11:23

Tell us about the inspiring teaching and learning taking place in your department: email teaching.learning@ucl.ac.uk