Frequently asked questions

Does the UT coordinate its academic calendar with that of other institutions?

In summary

Yes, so as to facilitate certain forms of cooperation, in particular with the other 3TUuniversities and with Saxion Universities of Applied Sciences.

Background

As of the 2009-2010 academic year, the three 3TU Universities of Technology have employed a common academic calendar. The universities started up this form of coordination so as to optimally facilitate both students and teachers following and teaching courses at all three institutions (including by way of distance learning, such as by offering virtual lectures). The experiences obtained in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years resulted in a positive assessment of the 3TU academic calendar principles, which now apply for an indefinite period of time.

In addition, the University of Twente strives to join up with Saxion Universities of Applied Sciences prior to each academic year and arrange part of the introduction activities for first-year students together. This allows for new students of both institutions to truly get to know both of them, easing the barriers of switching from one institution to the other.

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Why is half a semester referred to as a 'quartile'?

In summary

For lack of a better term. Refer to the explanation below.

Background

In the spring of 2003, the Executive Board requested the (then) Academic Timetable Work Group to draft a 'semester timetable' in line with international practice, including the use of the word 'semester'.

We put the word 'semester' between quotation marks, as it literally means 'six months', whereas half an academic year for most institutions actually amounts to some five months. What's more, the academic calendars of the UT and of most other institutions are based on the number of weeks, not months.

The result was a calendar which saw the semesters being divided into two equal parts. Subsequently, we had to find a new, fitting term for these 'half semesters'.

•Using the word 'quarter' for such a period was not a good option. Apart from the formal definition of the term (Van Dale's Groot Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal: "period of three months"), most people predominantly associate the term with a period of exactly three months. In fact, they even associate it with a specific three-month period: 'the first quarter', for example, is the period from 1 January up until 31 March of a given calendar year".

•The word 'trimester' was not an option either, as the calendar we had just replaced was commonly known as the 'trimester timetable'. Moreover, as we explained already, we preferred not to use terms referring to a period counted in months.

•The word 'academic period' was unsuitable for being too vague, as the second period of the fifth lecture of a certain course - to provide an example - may also be referred to as an 'academic period', as can the entire period between one's first day at primary school and being awarded one's final degree after successfully completing a continuous period of schooling and study.

The word 'quartile' was found to be most suitable, given the definition provided by Van Dale's Groot Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal: "... this set being divided into four parts". This is why we have opted to use this word, which has by now become the commonly used term.

The use of the word 'quartile' to mean half a semester is by this time so commonly used within the UT that we do not believe it wise to try and change the term.

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Why does the UT have only one week of holidays apart from the Holiday Season?

In summary

Because the summer holidays would otherwise be too short for teachers who need to mark exams taken in June or are involved in the summer resits or the introduction for new students.

Background

There is no organization with the authority to determine when universities are to have a holiday period. (And such authority only exists to a very limited extent for primary and secondary schools.) The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science determines the staggering of the summer holidays (and, since the start of the 2013-2014 academic year, also the Christmas and May holidays) for primary, secondary and special education and publishes recommended dates for the other holidays. In practice, many schools and institutions keep to the recommended dates. Universities and universities of applied sciences, therefore including the University of Twente, are free to decide on their preferred academic calendar, including holiday periods.

By law, (Section 7.4(6) of the Higher Education and Research Act (WHW)), universities are to have their programmes amount to 1,680 academic hours per year. Assuming a nominal 40-hour work week, this comes to 42 academic weeks per year (42 weeks x 40 hours = 1,680 hours).

In the uniform 3TU academic calendar, these 42 weeks are (ever since the 2009-2010 academic year) spread out over four quarters, in total amounting to (4 x (8 weeks of lectures + 2 weeks of exams)) 40 weeks. The remaining weeks are reserved for scheduling resits and additional summer period exams.

In addition to this total of 40 weeks of lectures and exams, the academic year also comprises two weeks of Christmas holidays, one week of spring holidays in the third quarter and one so-called compensation week for the official public holidays in the fourth quarter. This adds up to 44 weeks. Following this period, teaching staff administering a written exam in the fourth quarter exam period are formally given four weeks (20 work days) to assess and grade these exams. If students are allowed to resit the exam within the same summer period, this process needs to be sped up. The regular assessment and grading term thus lapses 48 weeks after the start of the academic year. Teachers who are also involved in the summer period resits are required to be present in the relevant week, and teachers involved in the introduction activities for new students are required to be present two weeks prior to the start of the new academic year.

This means these teachers see little left of their summer holidays. Should the academic calendar contain holiday periods - excluding the Holiday Season - lasting longer than one week, this would mean that these teachers would have even less of a summer holiday.

This is the main reason for the University of Twente not to have autumn holidays, but to have spring holidays instead (since the 2008-2009 academic year).

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What is the Lecture Room Working Group?

In summary

The Lecture Room Working Group (WOR) is a collaboration between the Facility Department (FB), the Campus Management and the Scheduling Team of the Centre for Educational Support (CES).

The WOR is responsible for, among other things, arranging the availability, design/organization and optimum use of the University of Twente's pool rooms.

Background

The Lecture Room Working Group consists of the following members:

David Korringa (Facility Department, Director, WOR Chair)
Marc Hulshof (Facility Department, Policy Officer, WOR Secretary)
Wim Senger (General Affairs/Campus Unit, Head of Reservations Office)
Roy Juninck (Facility Department, Pool Room Administrator)
Karen Frowijn (Facility Department, Project Team Member)
Laura Holsbeeke (Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, Psychology Education Coordinator)
•Gerrit Zwier (Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, Teacher)
Hans Punt (Centre for Educational Support, Head of Student Affairs)

Informal members:

Jan Evers (Directorate for Strategy and Policy, Head of University Information Management)
•Irene Visscher-Voerman Directorate for Strategy and Policy

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Why do the lecture rooms have so few wall sockets?

In summary

The demand for a large number of wall sockets in University of Twente lecture rooms to plug in laptops and notebooks has risen sharply in a short time frame, but we cannot easily meet this demand. We have opted to install movable pillars containing wall sockets.

Background

Just a few years ago, the audiovisual equipment used by the teacher was the only equipment requiring connection to a power outlet in use during a lecture. Of course, all lecture rooms had multiple wall sockets installed, but not to the amount that every user had their own individual socket available.

Now that almost every student makes use of a laptop, and this use is permitted, recommended or even compulsory during some lectures and exams, almost all lecture rooms are lacking in wall sockets. We acknowledge the existence of this problem, but there is no quick, easy and economic solution.

The easiest solution would be to place power strips and cords in every lecture room, or to encourage users to bring their own. Yet this would result in a tangle of wires and cables, an unacceptably dangerous situation that could lead to severe injuries. This is why the use of unfitted power strips and cords is not permitted. Adding more wall sockets to the lecture rooms' walls and skirting boards is out for the same reason. Apart from the increase in electricity capacity to be supplied to the buildings and the reconstruction work this would require, it would still result in cables hanging loose between the tables and the wall or skirting board.

The problem can be solved in newly to-be-built rooms by placing floor sockets or small socket cabinets on the floor (as were placed next to the teacher's desks in the Carrébuilding, requiring just one cabinet per room). However, these sorts of constructions are difficult to fit into existing rooms, not even taking into account the problems floor sockets would present when wanting to clean the floors with water and, again, the danger of tripping over the cabinets.

In January 2012, we experimented with installing movable power pillars connected to the grid via the ceiling and containing ten wall sockets in the Carré 1C and Carré 2N pool rooms. Teaching staff teaching courses in these rooms were asked for their opinion, which was positive enough that we decided to have many more such power pillars installed.

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What is the Major-Minor Combination Template?

In summary

The Major-Minor Combination Template is an additional precondition applied to the timetables for the first semester of the third year of all UT bachelor's programmes containing an obligation to complete a minor, so as to ensure that all bachelor's students are as free as possible to pick their minor of choice.

Background

Most UT bachelor's students take a minor offered by a programme other than their main in the first semester of their third year. For more details on minors, refer to the Major-Minor website. The study workload of most minors amounts to 20 European Credits(EC). 30 EC are scheduled per semester. Students in the first semester of the third year of their bachelor's programme thus work on both their minor and on their main programme (major). An optimum freedom of choice in minors can therefore only be possible if major and minor courses do not take up the same time spot.

We therefore divide the ten half days of the work week of the first semester in the third year of the bachelor's programme into major, minor and combination 'shifts'.

•A major 'shift' is a half day for which only courses exclusively forming part of one or more major programmes (and therefore not being offered as part of a minor) can be scheduled.
•A minor 'shift' is a half day for which only courses exclusively forming part of one or more minor programmes (and therefore not being offered as part of a major) can be scheduled.
•A combination 'shift' is a half day for which courses being offered as part of one or more major and of one or more minor programmes can be scheduled.

The necessity of employing a Major-Minor Combination Template is proven by this formal proof.

The following division of half days in the first semester of the third year of bachelor's programmes applies to the lecture weeks (not the exam weeks) of the academic calendar:

Monday morning: Minor shift
Monday afternoon: Major shift
Tuesday morning: Major shift
Tuesday afternoon: Minor shift
Wednesday morning: Combination shift
Wednesday afternoon: Major shift
Thursday morning: Combination shift
Thursday afternoon: Minor shift
Friday morning: Combination shift
Friday afternoon: Major shift

A separate arrangement exists for exam weeks, as these weeks involve providing different kinds of service to students. For example: nominal curriculum exams are spread out over the exam weeks as evenly as possible. Another example: exams in odd years of the curriculum are scheduled for different time slots than exams in even years of the curriculum, so as to minimize scheduling conflicts for students following courses of both an odd-year and an even-year programme curriculum.

The separate arrangement for exam weeks is as follows:

•Every quarter is followed by two exam weeks. The first week of each set of two exam weeks is not divided into major, minor and combination 'shifts', for reasons of being able to provide the "different kinds of service" referred to above.
•The division into major, minor and combination 'shifts' does not apply to the two resit weeks during the summer holidays either.
•In all other exam weeks, a slightly different division of the week into major, minor and combination 'shifts' applies. Tuesday afternoons are scheduled as a major shift instead of as a minor shift. All other shifts for those weeks are the same as the ones applying to lecture weeks.

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Why are so many exams held in the Sports Centre?

In summary

Many exams are held in the sports centre, as the regular lecture rooms lack the capacity to host all exams scheduled for the same time.

Background

The number in the 'capacity' column in the list of pool rooms lists the capacity of a given room for education and lecture purposes. However, the capacity in terms of hosting exams is far less. For instance, rooms with fitted furniture require that two seats be kept empty between each student taking the exam, and an empty row between two rows of students. The exam capacity of such a room therefore only amounts to about one sixth of its capacity for education and lecture purposes.

This means that the regular lecture rooms lack the required capacity to have all exams scheduled for the same time be held. The Sport Centre rooms provide extra capacity, also because the available furniture can be rearranged.

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What happens in a leap year again?

In summary

Every year between 1901 and 2099 divisible by four (including the year 2000) is a leap year, its month of February gaining an extra day: 29 February. This means the year 2012 was a leap year, the next one will be 2016, the next after 2020, etc.

Background

We refer to the total time the earth needs to circle around the sun once (and go through all four seasons once) as a 'year'. We refer to the total time the earth needs to spin around its own axis (and go through its day-night cycle once) as a 'day'.

Precise astronomical measurements have confirmed that a year (presently and on average) contains 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45.19... seconds, or 365.24219... days. It is, of course, far from practical to have a year contain a fractional number of days, and that is why the 'leap year', containing one extra day, has long been in use. The name 'leap year' comes from the fact that while a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar normally advances one day of the week from one year to the next, in a leap year the day of the week will advance two days (from March onwards) due to the year's extra day inserted at the end of February (thus 'leaping over' one of the days in the week).

In 46 BC, Julius Caesar introduced the so-called 'Julian' calendar, in which every fourth year was a leap year. On average, this produces a year of 365.25 days. However, this results in years being too long by approximately 365.25 - 365.24219... = 0.00781... days (or about 11 minutes and 15 seconds). By around 730 AD, science had advanced to the point that this error was recognized, but it took centuries before it was acted on.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII, to correct the drift of ten days accumulated over time in one go, ordered that Thursday, 4 October 1582 would be followed directly by Friday, 15 October 1582. He also ordered that from that time on, every period of 400 years would only contain 97 leap years. By this order, a year is approximately 365 + 97/400 = 365.2425 days in length, an approximation of the factual state of affairs which is sufficiently accurate for the time being. Naturally, Pope Gregory chose to introduce the correction at such a time that no Christian holidays would be left unobserved for the year. Yet still his order was widely resisted: many people believed that by leaping directly from 5 to 14 October 1582, they would literally lose ten days of their lifespan.

This 'Gregorian' calendar was immediately accepted in Catholic countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal and Poland. France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the then southern provinces of the Netherlands would follow soon after. The northern Netherlands only abandoned the Julian calendar at around 1700 AD, Great Britain waited until 1752, while the Soviet Union only made the switch in 1918. This has lead to some dating issues. The major British mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, for instance, was born on Christmas Day in 1642 according to the calendar used in England at the time - but for much of the world, it was already 4 January 1643. And the Russian October Revolution (of 25 October 1917) is commemorated on 7 November - the Julian calendar in 1918 being twelve days behind the Gregorian one, as compared to the ten days in 1582. *)

The Gregorian calendar spreads the 97 leap years over each 400-year period as follows:

•the base year has 365 days (resulting in 0 leap years per 400 years);
•exception to this rule: every year divisible by four becomes a leap year (resulting in 100 leap years per 400 years);
•exception to this rule: the last year of a century does not become a leap year (resulting in 96 leap years per 400 years);
•exception to this rule: if the last year of a century is divisible by 400, it becomes a leap year after all (resulting in the desired 97 leap years per 400 years).

The additional leap day was attached to February, as that month was the final month of the year until 456 AD, and therefore had the least amount of days. This latter fact is partially the result of the Roman Emperor Augustus shortening the month of February by a day so he could add this day to the month of August, named after him, and have it be equally long as the preceding month of July, named after Julius Caesar. So up until the year 456, the year started with the month of March (to have the year start in spring), which fact also explains why September, October, November and December literally mean the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth month, respectively.

Conclusion

The years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were no leap years, 2000 was, 2100, 2200 and 2300 will not be, etc. Everyone born after 1900 and deceased prior to 2100 will never witness a situation in which not every fourth year is a leap year.

*) Standardizing local time generally took even longer than standardizing dates. Different localities in the Netherlands kept their own clock right up until 1 May 1909. So the last day which had various towns in the Netherlands keeping different clocks was Friday 30 April 1909, which also just happened to be the day Queen Juliana was born.

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Why do some years have 53 numbered weeks?

In summary

Each year is comprised of 52 'complete' weeks plus one or (in the case of a leap year) two 'extra days'. These extra days add up to an extra numbered week - week 53 - in some years. The 2009 calendar year was one of such years. The next year containing 53 numbered weeks will be 2015.

Background

An 'ordinary' year contains 365 days, which means 52 weeks plus one extra day, while a leap year contains 366 days, which means 52 weeks plus two extra days. If every year were to have just 52 weeks, this would lead to too many of these 'extra' days after some time.

Take any period of 28 consecutive years. This period contains seven leap years and 21 'ordinary' years. This 28-year period thus contains (7 x 2) + (21 x 1) = 35 extra days in addition to the 28 x 52 weeks. As 35 days amount to exactly five weeks, every 28-year period contains five years of 53 numbered weeks.

By agreement, a week is set to begin on Monday and to end on Sunday. A week is numbered in the year containing most of the days of that week. So if, for example, 29 December is a Monday, it would be the first day of week 1 of the new year, as most of the seven days of that week (29, 30 and 31 December, and 1, 2, 3 and 4 January) are in January, and therefore in the new year.

If 1 January of any 'ordinary' year is a Thursday, 31 December of that same year must also be a Thursday, as the year contains 52 weeks and one day. The week containing the date of 1 January of that year must therefore be week 1 of that year (for 1, 2, 3 and 4 January all fall within that week) and the week containing the date of 31 December must be week 53 (for 28, 29, 30 and 31 December all fall within that week).

The same reasoning applies to any leap year in which 1 January is a Thursday, though in that case the date of 31 December must be a Friday instead of a Thursday, because of the added day in February.

If, in a leap year, 1 January is a Wednesday, that year's 31 December must be a Thursday, as this year contains 52 weeks plus two extra days. This year, too, contains 53 numbered weeks (for 28, 29, 30 and 31 December are in week 53).

Conclusion

All years - both 'ordinary' and leap years - in which 1 January is a Thursday, as well as all leap years in which 1 January is a Wednesday, contain 53 numbered weeks.

Note (1)

The principles of the uniform 3TU academic calendar apply independently of the number of weeks in a calendar year. This 'additional' 53rd week always results in the summer holidays being extended by a week, albeit not in the year containing these 53 numbered weeks. For example, the last year containing 53 numbered weeks was 2009 and the next will be 2015, but the summer holidays were extended by one week in the 2011 calendar year and the next year for this to happen will be 2016.

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Where can I find more information on registering, reregistering and deregistering for exams?

More information on the exam registration and deregistration process can be obtained CES Osiris page.

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For teaching staff: When entering my name in MTT, the results do not show all courses I teach; how can this be?

The Scheduling Team is not always aware of which courses are taught by which staff member. If you are unable to find a specific course, try again under Subject or Module/Study Programme. To have your name added to a course you teach, simply send an email to the Scheduling mailbox of the faculty concerned.

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In which cases should I book a room with the Scheduling Team, and in which cases with the Reservations Office?

Please contact the Scheduling Team for all matters requiring scheduling in a timetable which are directly related to education. For all matters not related to education (e.g. colloquia, inaugural lectures and doctoral degree ceremonies), please contact the Reservations Office.

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Why can't I find a specific course?

Courses are scheduled per semester. So it is possible you are looking for a course which has not yet been scheduled. If you are unable to find a course you believe should have been scheduled, please contact the Scheduling Team.

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When will timetables become available?

15 June 2014: Publication of all 2014-2015 1st semester draft timetables on the portal (available only to teaching staff)

15 July 2014: Publication of all 2014-2015 1st semester final timetables on the portal

1 December 2014: Publication of all 2014-2015 3rd quartile draft timetables on the portal (available only to teaching staff)

20 December 2014: Publication of all 2014-2015 3rd quartile final timetables on the portal

9 March 2015: Publication of all 2014-2015 4th quartile draft timetables on the portal (available only to teaching staff)

23 March 2015: Publication of all 2014-2015 4th quartile final timetables on the portal

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How do I book a project room?

Project rooms can be booked using the Web Room Booking application.

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How do I book a lecture room?

For all bookings not related to education, please contact the Reservations Office.

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Where can I submit a complaint related to lecture rooms?

Contact the Service Desk of the building in question.

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Can I request timetables of previous academic years?

Send an email to the scheduler of the faculty in question.

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