New Initiative Seeks to Streamline Classroom Scheduling

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Anyone who has scheduled classroom space at the University of Arkansas knows it can be a challenge. Determining the classroom type, technology needs and location is overwhelming even to the most seasoned veteran. A new initiative by the Teaching and Learning Committee of the Computing Activities Council seeks to eliminate these pain points by simplifying room options in the R25 software.

"A majority of our faculty want a standard classroom large enough to comfortably accommodate their class. However, with all of the options in R25 they invariably select combinations that confuse the system and lead to a report of no rooms available. When that happens, we schedule those by hand, which causes delays and frustrations," Jean Mitchell, room scheduling coordinator, said.

To simplify the search process for classrooms, student employees from IT Services visited more than 430 classrooms over winter break.  The result of their work is an up-to-date database of technology available in each room. As a result, three levels of classrooms were defined including Standard, Standard Lite and Bring Your Own Device. These designations will replace the 42 options presented to users in the past.

"Ninety percent of classrooms meet the Standard definition, and those 10 percent labeled Standard Lite are often missing small items, such as a microphone. IT Services wants to work with the owners of these spaces to bring them all to the standard level. Having consistent technology in our classrooms benefits everyone," said Paige Francis, associate chief information officer.

The student team also discovered a number of spaces including foyers and specialty labs that are not suitable for general classroom use.  These spaces will be removed from classroom searches as the university prepares to update to 25Live in spring 2019. As part of this update, classrooms will be classified by technology categories, making it easier to select a classroom based on your needs.

The Computing Activities Council and its committees represent the IT governance structure for the University of Arkansas and facilitate participation among students, faculty, and staff. To learn more, visit cac.uark.edu.

Contacts

Chris Butler, director of communications
University Information Technology Services
407-575-2901, chrisb@uark.edu

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