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. The dynamic scheduling tool powers the logic and flexibility behind the course scheduling central to the Hybrid NUflex model.

When you have the opportunity to attend class in-person, please come as often as it’s possible to do so—being in the classroom can build a sense of belonging and serve as a reminder that the campus community will emerge from this pandemic in time, together.  

How Dynamic Scheduling Works 

The dynamic scheduling tool in the Student Hub allows students to indicate their preference to attend individual class sessions in-person or remotely on a week-to-week basis. Each week, students choose their preferences for the next week’s classes, no later than Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. An algorithm then runs to dynamically and fairly assign students to available seats by class session. On Thursday mornings, students receive their seat assignments for the following week. The assignments will be updated one more time early Sunday morning, taking COVID-19 testing compliance for Boston-based students into consideration, switching non-compliant students to remote assignments, and filling the empty seats with students who indicated a preference for in-person and didn’t initially get an in-person assignment. 

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 9, 2020
    Testing compliance checked.
  • 2020



    September 6, 2020
    Final assignments available (in-person seats switch to remote, if testing requirements not met, and empty seats are filled)

Faculty and Dynamic Scheduling 

As the anchor in the classroom, faculty play an important role in NUflex dynamic scheduling. On Thursdays, faculty have access to the NUflex class rosters for the next week’s classes in Canvas. These provide details on which students to expect in-person for each class session, and which students will be learning remotely. On Monday morning, after the system changes any non-compliant Boston students to remote classes, faculty will have the finalized and most up-to-date rosters. Faculty are encouraged to review these rosters ahead of class and take note of who attended in person. If possible, follow up with students who committed to attend class in-person and didn’t show up at all, or attended remotely. Encourage these students to attend the next class in person and explain how seeing and interacting with faculty and students can positively impact learning.

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 can log into the Student Hub to change their preferences for the following week’s class sessions 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 seat assignments. Final seat assignments will be available on Sunday, after the system updates to remove any non-compliant students from in-person class 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 a student has never indicated a preference, the dynamic scheduler will default to in-person.

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

We expect that all students will follow through when they commit to attend class in-person. Space in the classroom is limited and other students who wanted to attend in person may not be able to. If students change their mind about in-person class attendance, they will soon be able to switch to remote so someone else who wants it can take their seat. This feature will be available in the dynamic scheduler in late January – early February.

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], [email protected], 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 ourFAQs 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!