Tuesday, August 20, 2013

If It's Tuesday, Hiram Must Be Baffled About Lab Scheduling.

Oh, geez, another Tuesday, another bafflement. And I'm sorry, but this one is not very general, not very CM, not very universal.

I take my writing classes to a computer lab 4-5 times a semester. On these days we're researching, doing annotated bibliographies, composing some early paragraphs, and sharing them on a big screen in front of the lab.

It works great and it's become an absolutely integral part of my schedule.

I have 2 of these intro classes and they meet back to back on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9-10:30 am and 10:45-12:15 pm. We have a ton of labs, and I've never had a problem finding time.

Our lab scheduling is done electronically and for Fall semester the online notice that we could begin entering our requests came to me on July 12th at 2 pm. By 2:30 that day I had all of my requested dates in. Here they are:

Sept 17: 9 am - 12:15 pm
Sept 24: 9 am - 12:15 pm
Oct 29: 9 am - 12:15 pm
Nov 12: 9 am - 12:15 pm
Nov 19: 9 am - 12:15 pm

Yesterday, more than a month after I submitted my request, here's the schedule I got - some of the days, you might note, if you're anal like me, are not Tuesdays or Thursdays...

Sept 17: 8:30 am - 11 am
Sept 25: 9:30 am - 1 pm
Oct 29: 9:30 am - 10 am & 12 pm - 1 pm
Nov 13: 11 am - 12 pm
Nov 19: 9 am - 11 am

I feel as if I'm being punk'd or something.

5 comments:

  1. This is completely a problem I face every term, Hiram, so it's universal if the universe is just you and me.

    I'm sure scheduling is hard, especially at a campus of size, but seriously, when they change so many things, there's nobody who could pick up a fucking phone and ask for options or give a head's up?

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  2. Looks to me like you and the kids get to leave class early several days! You tried, Hiram!

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  3. I'm facing a somewhat similar situation (class I usually teach in a full-fledged computer lab is scheduled in an instructor-computer-only room; one major difference is that the class is scheduled at a time when demand for the our labs, which are in short supply, are likely to be full. The other fun wrinkle: the registrar isn't accepting ad-hoc scheduling requests until the day after add/drop, which is the day before I'd like to use a lab). While I plan to request labs for some days, my backup plan is to have students work on their own laptops (this, of course, assumes that a reasonable number of them will have laptops, and that the wifi in the room will work -- both better-than-even-odds gambles, but still gambles, at my institution). It definitely helps that much of the lab work in my class is also group work, so we don't really need one computer per student. Don't know whether any of that will work at your place but it might be worth consideration (I do at least have an instructor's computer and projector in the regular room; if I didn't, I'd be much less calm about this).

    So far, scheduling has been good about simply telling us there is no room when no room is available (or sometimes when a room is available), rather than trying to shift times. But we have a new scheduling system this year, so who knows what will result.

    My guess is that the results of your request stem in part from somebody using scheduling software that was created primarily for a business environment for an academic one. Of course, as that pesky business involving students meeting with professors at regularly-scheduled times becomes a less and less central part of the university's mission (or at least an activity engaged in by fewer and fewer of its full-time employees), such things are bound to happen.

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  4. Not that it helps you, but we have a first-come-first-served schedule online that we use ourselves for all of the computer labs on campus (set up by the library). Special labs, such as those belonging to the Computer Science people, have class times blocked out, but otherwise, any proffie or Admin can schedule time (in 15-minute increments) in the labs. I wonder if that's something you can suggest...

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