University students are given a time table, these timetables are very carefully organised at the start of the year, making sure classes don’t clash and meeting spaces are booked and assigned to the correct people. But these time tables affect more than just room bookings, a clash can cause more than just the irritation of a few people trying to use the same room at the same time, ignorance of time tabled classes can cause anti-social behavior and even university IT system outage as we have seen today at the School of Computing, Dundee University.
Today is Thursday and as with every Thursday, the entire second year student body of the School’s flagship degree subject, Applied Computing, arrived in the ground floor labs of the Queen Mother Building ready to work on group projects for a client who has employed the help of the university for a new IT system for his business. However today, they arrived to find Labs 1 & 2 both full, an unscheduled class had taken the use of the labs and all the computers contained in them, this left every member of the second year group crammed into Lab 0, the laptop lab. Usually our labs have people working in their own time, these people were also find themselves with no where to sit and so they also were having to use Lab 0, so first, second and third years students were all crammed into one small room.
Now the work issued required everybody to work with code that could only be tested once uploaded to the Schools computers, being forced to use their own laptop computers, students were needing to huddle round tables, with not enough power points for everybody’s chargers, they then had to connect to the VPN, a system that hooks an their ordinary laptop computer into the School’s local network, however, this is not meant for primary use and can only take 24 connections at a time.
With the VPN rendered useless by the large amount of people requiring its usage, the work set out for today’s lab could not take place, frustrations running high, the noise levels of this cramped lab climbed, soon people neglected basic manners and started playing music and videos loudly and thus the people who were trying their best to hold group meetings couldn’t hear themselves think.
We book rooms for a reason, so that when someone else needs a meeting space, they can check and realise which places are available and which places are not. It’s not just a nuisance when people are made to find other places to work, it can effect the infrastructure of the school, today it broke down the schools system so much that the primary goal of education was made impossible. Students couldn’t even work from home because the VPN was brought down.
So please, check the availability of a space before deciding to host your events there. Failure to do so is not just rude but can actually destroy the work of several other people.