Ryerson students hoping to plan ahead for the holidays will have to wait a little longer for the fall exam schedule.
While many other universities have already released their schedules, Ryerson will keep its under wraps until around Nov. 1, as in previous years.
Robert Rocca, manager of university scheduling at Ryerson, said part of the problem is a lack of staff in the scheduling department.
Staff members need to work on winter course timetables before moving on to the fall exam schedule.
But they are looking at ways to make the process more efficient through technology.
“The university is implementing the Teaching Assignment Initiative (TAI) in the near future, which should assist in exam scheduling by freeing up university scheduling staff resources,” Rocca wrote in an email to The Ryersonian.
He described this as a central database of information on things such as scheduling, workloads and course offerings. This should eliminate the need for the same information to be entered into the system multiple times by different people and streamline the whole planning process.
They plan to roll out the first version in December.
A student identified as Emaemem Moren originally raised the concern back in August on Soapbox, an online forum for students to bring problems to the attention of Ryerson administration.
“Exam schedules should really come out much more EARLIER in the year, not just one month before. Other universities are able to do this. I do not understand why Ryerson is not incorporating this into their system,” wrote Moren.
The comment was “liked” by 257 users.
Tony Conte, director of the office of vice-provost, students, responded on Soapbox that the issue was “complex” because it involves both the academic departments and the university scheduling office and is dependent on other processes, such as course intentions and enrolment. But he pledged to take the matter into consideration and explore it further.
For students like Alice Smith, a business management student from Lunenburg, N.S., the late exam schedule makes booking flights home for Christmas holidays very difficult.
“My parents have always found it annoying trying to book flights for me … the flights get booked up and it gets expensive,” said the second-year student.
Smith said she’s been hearing the same complaints from many of her friends, even those who are not as far away from home.
“Definitely in residence last year, there were people that complained about it, even people who have to book Megabuses home find it annoying as well because the prices go up around the holidays,” she said.
“Last year I kept checking and checking until they put it out, but it would be nice to be able to book the flights before November.”
Shelby VanSickle, a third-year marketing major, said the late exam schedule makes it difficult for her to arrange her job during the winter break.
The 21-year-old from London, Ont., works at Sport Chek whenever she is at home.
“It’s frustrating to not be able to tell my boss an accurate start date until November,” she said.
McGill, Guelph, and some faculties at U of T have already posted tentative exam schedules.
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on October 9, 2013.