Dynamic Scheduling

When students have flexibility in how they can attend classes, whether in person or from another location, density in classrooms can be reduced to meet public health guidelines and help prevent the spread of coronavirus. A new dynamic scheduling tool powers the logic and flexibility behind the course scheduling central to the Hybrid NUflex model.

What to Expect with Dynamic Scheduling this Fall

The new dynamic scheduling tool in the Student Hub will allow students to indicate their preference to attend class in person or remotely on a week-to-week basis. For each week of class, students will choose their preferences the week prior, no later than Wednesday. An algorithm will run to dynamically and fairly assign students to available seats in classes. After indicating their preferences, students will receive their finalized seat assignments for the following week. Faculty will receive class rosters of who is scheduled to attend in person that week, in Canvas.

Week at a Glance

  • 2020



    September 14, 2020
    Preferences for next week’s classes open
  • 2020



    September 13, 2020
    Preferences continue
  • 2020



    September 12, 2020
    Preferences lock at 9:00 p.m. ET
  • 2020



    September 11, 2020
    Initial seat assignments available for next week’s classes
  • 2020



    September 6, 2020
    Final assignments available (in-person seats switch to remote, if testing requirements not met as of Saturday night)

Commonly Asked Questions about the Dynamic Scheduler

Does selecting a preference guarantee a seat in class?

No, the dynamic scheduling tool uses an algorithm to fairly assign seats to students considering their indicated preferences and classroom seat availability.

Does the dynamic scheduling tool work on a first-come, first-served basis like buying a concert ticket?

That’s not how the dynamic scheduling tool works. It gives all students the same window of time to indicate their preferences, and then runs an algorithm on all of the requests after the window has closed. The algorithm considers students’ preferences and classroom availability, balancing in-person assignments for all students over time, to fairly assign in-person class sessions.

By when do students need to choose their preferences in the tool?

Students will be able to log into the Student Hub to change their preferences for the following week’s classes anytime between Monday at 12:00 a.m. ET and Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. ET. Students will receive weekly email reminders to do so. After Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. ET, the ability to change preferences will lock to allow the algorithm to run.

When will finalized seat assignments for the following week be available?

Students can check their course schedule in the Student Hub every Thursday for their finalized seat assignments.

What if students forget to select their preferences, or miss the Wednesday deadline to select their preferences?

If no preferences are indicated by Wednesday’s deadline, the algorithm will consider the last selected preference. For example, if a student indicates preferences for remote for their first week of classes, and misses the deadline to choose preferences for the second week of classes, the algorithm will use remote as the student’s preference when assigning seats for the second week.

If students are scheduled to attend class one day, but can no longer make it, can they update the tool accordingly?

The tool won’t track actual attendance. It is the instructor’s decision whether to take attendance. Students should follow the guidance of their course instructor if plans change.

If students are having technical difficulties at home and cannot attend the remote class, what should they do?

We Care can help provide students with the appropriate technology to participate in remote classes. For troubleshooting the technology, the IT Service Desk is available 24/7 at 617.373.HELP [4357], help@northeastern.edu, or via live chat on the Tech Service Portal.

Is the dynamic scheduling tool available for all classes?

Not all classes are eligible for dynamic scheduling. Dynamic scheduling only applies to traditional, in-person classes. Some classes, such as certain lab and studio sessions, are handled by the department and instructor. Students should check their course’s dedicated home on Canvas and communicate with their professor about how they will handle in-person class sessions. Classes that are part of a fully online program, including NU Start, are also not included in dynamic scheduling. Students will not need to select preferences for classes in which dynamic scheduling does not apply.

How does the dynamic scheduling tool work with the required testing schedule?

Students on our Boston campus will need to complete tests on days one, three, and five, and are only permitted to join in-person classes after those three completed tests. Students will then need to be tested every three days. If students mark themselves as preferring an in-person class session but haven’t completed their testing requirements by Saturday night, then the dynamic scheduling tool will switch their in-person class assignments to remote classes for the coming week. Please visit our FAQs on the testing schedule if you have questions about the requirements.

Can faculty use the dynamic scheduling tool to select their preferred instructional method?

No, the dynamic scheduling tool on the Student Hub is only available to students.

The Student Hub

The dynamic scheduling tool is available in the new Student Hub, a desktop and mobile-friendly launchpad to help students navigate and keep track of their busy and active daily lives. Visit about.me.northeastern.edu to view a demo and to learn more about the Student Hub, now live for Northeastern students!