April 1, 2019
Writer: Elisa Walker
REXBURG, Idaho—When deep in the study zone, nothing is more disrupting than getting kicked out of your study room. To help simplify the reservation process, eliminate confusion, and better utilize study rooms, the David O. McKay Library has introduced a new scheduling system.
Before, students scheduled study rooms through calling the Scheduling Office or going online to a system called Virtual EMS. Although those options still exist, there is now an additional option available at each study room.
Placed outside each group study room in the library is an electronic scheduling pad. This wall tablet is integrated with Virtual EMS and shows an electronic version of that particular room’s schedule for the day. Not only does it show the reservations that were made online and through the Scheduling Office, but if available, it also allows students to reserve the room when they arrive or for later that day. Students can reserve a study room two days in advance through the Scheduling Office or Virtual EMS.
The pad is equipped with a color-coded backlight to notify an onlooker with the status of the room. If it is green, it means the room is currently available. Conversely, if it is red, it means the room is occupied. However, if the backlight is orange, it means the room is scheduled but the occupant has not arrived yet.
This orange caution color is important to notice. The new scheduling pads require the student to check in to the system as they enter the room. If the student does not check in, the system will turn orange, and the room will be released after 15 minutes of its original scheduled time. Because the pads are integrated with the entire scheduling system, if a student does not check in, the room will be marked as available on every scheduling platform. Checking in is necessary. If this step is neglected, another student may reserve and have rights to the room.
“It’s great that we’ll know if the rooms are reserved or not,” said Askar Kudaibergen, a student who regularly reserves study rooms for his supply chain management team. “Because sometimes, you want to reserve a room, and it’s available, but the person who reserved it never showed up. With this technology, if nobody shows up, it will drop it, and you can reserve it for the time.”
Part of a pilot program, these scheduling pads are only found in the library study rooms. If the system proves to work for students’ needs, the scheduling pads may be installed and used to schedule study rooms across campus. Scheduling Office Manager LaNae Poulter expressed the role students play in collecting study room data: “If students will remember to schedule the space and sign in to the system, it will help us track utilization. We can validate how much the students need study space and how well it’s being used.”