Posted on Fri 09 Feb 2018 at 14:18 by Christopher Carter
As we reach the midpoint of the current academic year, this is just a quick update to let you all know what’s been happening recently on that perennial Warwick bugbear: study space!
Study space is one of my key priorities as Education Officer. Although the long-overdue opening of a 24-Hour Library has improved round-the-clock availability of certain study areas, obviously this doesn’t solve the crisis during periods of peak demand and there’s still much more to do in terms of improving the number of spaces available to students and the means of accessing these.
At the start of the year, I set up a Working Group with department heads and university management to explore this area in more detail, and am pleased to announce that the University have now hired an analyst to provide an audit of existing spaces and make recommendations for better provision in future. So far, this has involved liaising with academics and departments to compile a comprehensive rundown of the types of spaces needed, their availability, location (both on and off-campus) and the different ways that students can access these. We’ll then begin benchmarking against other universities’ existing provisions and hopefully provide a complete overhaul in the way the University thinks about this issue – watch this space for more information over the coming months!
Of course, a big part of the existing problem is both the lack of bookable spaces and the ability to locate these spaces when they are available. One of my key manifesto pledges was the creation of a ‘Study Space Finder’ app, and there have been several advances on this. I’ve finally got the University to commit to technological enhancement as a high priority in future study space development on campus – one potential model I’ve been working on with students and staff is an app for the Library where you’ll be able to book available spaces via scannable QR codes on desks.
I’ve also been meeting with various academic departments with a view to improving and converting existing spaces – so far this has taken in several walks around campus identify key spaces for redevelopment.
Obviously, a lot of this is work-in-progress, so in the meantime we’ll continue to look at installing “quick fixes” to existing problems - for example, screens in the Oculus will now say “Free for Study Space” in Term 3 whenever spaces are available for general student use. Don’t forget, too, that the SU building also has its own informal study space on Floor 1 in what was previously the Central Meeting Room (just past the vending machine beneath the staircase). It’s available for students to use whenever SUHQ is open, and we’re pleased to see that many have been making use of the room thus far!