Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Less is Sometimes More?
I got a really interesting email yesterday from someone setting up a group study room in their science library. When I worked at Texas A&M (TAMU) we used to reserve rooms for students and it was a living nightmare. Students would want us to settle arguments about who was supposed to have the room reserved when. At one point we limited the number of hours a day students could reserve the room, so then they would make up names. It was horrible. I vowed when I created two group study rooms here in Carlson that I would NOT go down that path again.
We don't make reservations for students. Period. The room is first come, first serve. The room cannot be locked from the inside and they have big windows. There are blinds, but even when they are closed, we can see in the room.
We do reserve the room for faculty who have weekly "workshops" associated with their classes. In fact our rooms are so popular for these classes that they're pretty much booked solid every afternoon and most evenings until 9 p.m.
So why are we having such a good experience and my experience at TAMU was so dreadful?
Fewer rules?
Maybe because we have lots of big tables where students can study and work in groups even if they can't use the rooms?
All I know is that our group study room policies work like a charm.
Knock on wood.

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