Emory College will be making changes to class timeslots and the final exam schedule effective fall 2013. The changes will coincide with the school’s new credit-hour system.

Rather than offering 50-minute classes only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the College will also hold such classes on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. In addition, the College will offer 75-minute classes on Monday and Wednesday rather than primarily on Tuesday and Thursday.

Regarding the exam schedule, the College will add a fourth timeslot for exams and reduce the period in between exams from 90 to 60 minutes.

The College presently determines final exam times for different classes based on the timeslots these classes occupy during the week. However, multi-section courses in which professors give the same exam to all students – specifically in biology, chemistry, language, math and physics – have “special time slots” but often create scheduling conflicts for students, as they take place at the same time as other exams, according to Joanne Brzinski, the senior associate dean for undergraduate education.

Currently, exams on a given day during the final exam period are held from 8:30-11:30 a.m., 12:30-3 p.m., and 4:30-7 p.m. With the changes, exams will begin a half hour earlier. As a result, final exams will be given 8-10:30 a.m., 11:30-2 p.m., 3-5:30 p.m. and 6:30-9 p.m. Multi-section course exams will take place at 6:30 p.m.

“Given that we were changing [the course-credit system], this seemed like a good time to do this,” Brzinski said

Class Scheduling Changes

The current schedule system “produces a limited number of time slots for 75-minute classes and for 50-minute classes,” said Steve Savage, communications specialist for the Office for Undergraduate Education. He said that the schedule changes will “open up a large number of possibilities for faculty as they schedule their courses and [for] students who wish to enroll.”

Brzinski emphasized that feedback from faculty in departments across the College prompted this change, as the purpose of the new scheduling system is to provide more flexibility for faculty in determining the times of their classes and for students in creating their schedules.

“This is something departments have been asking for, for as long as I can remember,” Brzinski said.

As a result of the changes, the Office of Undergraduate Education hopes courses will be more spread out throughout the week, Brzinski said.

“We have this issue that we have to figure out: how to spread out our classes across the schedule a bit more,” she added.

In an effort to do so, the earliest time slot for 50-minute classes will be 8 a.m. – rather than 8:30 a.m. as it is under the current system. The earliest time for 50-minute classes, therefore, will be 8-8:50 a.m.; the next will be 9-9:50, and so on. The latest time slot will be 5-5:50.

The time slots for 75-minute classes will stay the same – starting at 8:30 a.m. – but the last available time for these classes will be 5:30-6:45 p.m.

Spreading out classes throughout the day and week is also an effort to ensure that there is enough space in classrooms, especially from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., when students and faculty are most commonly in class.

“Space is at a premium, and we are often operating at almost 100 percent capacity during our ‘peak times,’ but it’s more than that,” Savage said. “If all of our classes are taught in ‘peak’ times, then it can cause scheduling difficulties for students. By spreading courses out over the full day, we aim for this to reduce the occurrence of scheduling conflicts for students.”

Savage noted that while adding an 8 a.m. time slot will create “the capacity for courses to start that early,” the Office of Undergraduate Education is currently unsure of what demand for that time slot will look like, though the Office did want to ensure that the option was available.

The same principle applies for the 5:30 p.m. courses, Savage said.

The Office of Undergraduate Education and the Office of the Registrar made the decisions after consulting with departments, faculty, staff and leadership in the College Council.

Final Exam Changes

While the amount of time students have for exams will stay the same, the entire final exam schedule will change. Increasing requests for make-up exams prompted the change, according to Brzinski.

“What we’ve been having so far is students having two exams at the same time,” Brzinski said. “It’s stressful for students because they have to worry about scheduling a make-up exam time. It’s a real hassle for the professors and students involved.”

Under the exam schedule the College currently uses, students are exempt from taking three exams in one day, allowing them to reschedule one of their tests. While the new schedule opens up the possibility of students having four exams in one day – which would cause them to reschedule two exams – this would be unlikely, Brzinski said, adding that she feels “the new system is better than what we have currently,”

The College has been communicating with the Goizueta Business School regarding the changes and “will continue to work with students who have scheduling conflicts,” Brzinski said. She noted that the College is currently on a different exam schedule than the B-School and the change in the final exam schedule does not change this.

“Both the College and the Business School are committed to helping students resolve any conflicts that exist,” Brzinski said.

Additional Reading: Faculty to Vote on Reduced Graduation Requirement 

– Jordan Friedman

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