by Daniel Molina
Finding the right place to write that final paper or studying for that final exam might be a hard task due to the excessive demand and the low supply of spaces on campus during the last two weeks of the semester.
For the last couple of years, Student Government has made efforts to expand student options to concentrate during the final exam period.
“With the help of administrators, we were able to find some space in both the library and some other places on campus to study, especially for final exams,” said Micaela Bishop, president of Student Government. “It seems like we’ll have a lot more areas on campus students can study this semester for finals.”
As a result, all parts of the library will be open 24/7 until Dec. 16 and other spaces on campus will also be available for students.
Even with these significant changes, this might not have been the largest improvement to facilitate student’s access to on campus resources.
A group of administrators and student developers created LabSeat, a software that allows students to see, in real time, the status of computers across campus to determine which ones are in use, which ones are available and which ones are turned off or out of service.
The idea surged from the concern, especially with finals week around the corner, that students might need to know if there are computers available in a certain room with particular characteristics or a specific number of computers to work with as a group.
The idea of this type of web app was around the minds of IT department for a couple years, but the collaborative work of multiple offices around the college was needed to build and implement this application.
Although it only took a month to create, the constant exchange of information was crucial for the optimal development of the app according to Richard Musal, Director of Client Services and Operations of Information Technology Services (ITS).
His team was focused on setting up the software and hardware on the computers to make sure that the information sent to the app was correct.
Then, Cynthia Duggan, Director of Web Applications for ITS and her team were the ones in charge of developing the app and making sure that the information provided by Musal’s team was easy to access and clear to see.
“We decided to color code it to show the availability; it turns yellow when a room it’s above 65% [of its capacity] and red when it’s full,” said Duggan. “We understand that students will probably look it for a few seconds before they decide where to go.”
But the map of each classroom is a useful tool when deciding where to go as a group.
“If you’re going to do group work, and you want to make sure there are seats next to each other available, that’s when you would probably go to the LabMaps a little bit more,” said Musal.
The data, divided by buildings and then classrooms, also provides real-time information about the hours that a particular space is being used so students know if a class is going on.
Because it is online, the app provides data that is not only useful for ITS but also for the administrators so they can see popular times when the labs are used, or popular days of the week where a specific area is utilized, and help them make more informed decisions about space usage on campus.
“We would definitely love for people to look at the blog [itsblog.manhattan.edu] and give us feedback if there are needs that are not being addressed,” said Musal.
On the other hand, Anita McCarthy, training coordinator for ITS, is in charge of helping the user maximize the potential of these applications and supporting him have a smoother transition into using these new technologies.
“If we find out what students’ needs are we would love to meet them to help them solve their problems,” McCarthy said.
The direct link to this web app is go.manhattan.edu/labseat and it can also be found as a link in the MC Glance app for Android and iOS.
EXTRA STUDY SPACES
–Thomas Atrium: Nov. 27±Dec. 3 (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
–Smith Auditorium: Dec. 4-8 (9 a.m. to midnight)
–Kelly Commons Room 3A: Nov. 30±Dec. 5 and Dec. 7±16
–Kelly Commons Room 3B: Dec. 7±13 and Dec. 15±16
–Kelly Commons Room 3C: Now through Dec. 13 and Dec. 15±16
–Kelly Commons Room 4A: Dec. 1±4, 6±12, and 15±16
–Kelly Commons Room 4B: Dec. 6-12, 15-16.