- Hybrid learning technologies enable flexibility for students and faculty–and now, students expect such learning modalities
- With hybrid learning comes the question of how to best manage learning spaces on campus
- See related article: Continued demand for online learning demonstrates a “major shift”
Five years ago, the idea that a hybrid learning model would be the norm in higher ed would have been met with skepticism at best. Now, it is the norm for many colleges and universities. While campuses are open again for students and administrators post-COVID, hybrid learning–and the technologies that were adopted during the pandemic to enable it–isn’t going away.
Recent data shows that education trails only real estate for percentage increase in desk booking from January until now. That indicates people are returning to campus, which is consistent with what’s happening across other industries. What’s surprising is that higher ed–often resistant to change–is embracing hybrid models.
For administrators and professors, this means less time in the office and a greater reliance on technology to ensure office hours are available to students. For students, live meeting technology is almost a prerequisite for every class.
One of the inherent challenges of “going hybrid” is how best to manage the learning spaces on campus. School is back in session, and there is anincrease in people back on campus. With more foot traffic on campus, effective room management is more important than ever–and it’s up to universities to provide the tools and processes that make student and staff collaboration easily accessible and hassle-free
Whether it be employees traveling in from out of town, consultants or others in the company’s ecosystem or office visiting, or simply employees who have flexible schedules, there has long been a need for booking meeting spaces. Since the pandemic, it’s gained popularity in higher ed. Shared spaces are an effective way for universities and colleges to save money while ensuring their administrators, faculty, and students have a physical space to work from.
Higher-ed room booking systems benefit faculty and staff by:
- Increasing flexibility. Universities empower their faculty flexibility to reserve college spaces on different parts of campus, whether they be rooms or offices. Faculty can also tap into the real-time schedule of a building so they know what rooms are in use for class or a meeting and can grab an open room to catch up with a colleague or tutor a student.
- Improving campus resources. With a tool specifically designed to provide a seamless booking experience, the staff at higher-ed institutions don’t have to waste their time maintaining outdated room and resource scheduling systems and can instead focus on how to improve facilities for the students and faculty who use them. When it comes to day-to-day improvements, monitoring peak usage times and periods of typically low utilization of spaces and resources has proven helpful in a university setting too.
Flexible booking solutions have an impact across the campus–including the library, which pays dividends during finals!
How flexible booking solutions work in the campus library
The reservation systems in college libraries are often manual, making them time-consuming and inefficient. However, room scheduling software can streamline the entire process. Here’s how universities and colleges should evaluate solutions and implement a booking strategy for their library.
- Select the right technology. When looking for room scheduling software for your college library, it is important to prioritize features that cater to your specific needs and enhance the efficiency of your room booking process. Those features include a user interface, real-time availability, flexible booking options, and customizable booking policies that allow the administrator flexibility in setting policies.
- Define booking guidelines. Set permissions or policies for rooms as needed. For example, you may want to set a limit on how long a room can be booked for or make certain spaces only available for graduate students.
- Implement room scheduling software and hardware. Consider things like college branding, hardware locations, and room resources. Determine what your booking policy will look like and document it before roll-out. It’s a significant change for faculty and students and giving them time to review helps to secure their buy-in.
- Training and education. Develop comprehensive training materials such as user guides, manuals, or video tutorials that explain the features and functionality of the room booking system. These resources should be easily accessible and provide step-by-step instructions for different user scenarios.
- Refine as needed. Communicate regularly, making sure the booking strategy you developed is working for your faculty and students.
Flexible booking solutions–and the technology to make them succeed in higher ed–were not something universities and colleges cared much about before the pandemic. But now, with more students and faculty in a hybrid learning environment, it’s become essential for campus resourcing and planning and, ultimately, creating a better experience for your campus ecosystem.
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