A sign with a QR code invites students to book their meeting rooms. Photo credit: Brahim Ait Ouzineb

Students’ hunt for study rooms adds to their stress as the pace of assignments takes off.

The college offers 16 rooms in C-building and ACCE, six rooms in A and E-buildings, and classrooms. These study rooms can be booked online. The data for the last four months of 2022 show an average occupancy rate of 30.21 per cent. However, students either do not know they can book rooms online, use any empty study room, or can’t find any available ones.

“This is the first time I am seeing this [online booking]. I will use it more often since it is free. We do our meetings mostly in the open area,” said Snehajan Jayaram, a computer programming undergraduate.

“I did not know about the existence of online booking until my friends told me,” said Ayman Bulto, a nursing program student.

For Bulto, online booking allows equal time for everyone and is not biased against anybody.

Others prefer to ignore the existing system and jump into any available room.

“We just hop in any empty room and if someone comes, we go out,” said Haya Kayali, a dental hygiene student.

“Bookings are released 24 hours in advance. The rooms book up quickly so make sure you book early in the morning to secure a room,” said Evgeniya Minakova, a student learning centre coordinator.

Minakova reminds students to validate the confirmation email or lose the room booking. If not confirmed, the slot is freed for others.

There is a rule allowing a maximum of two-hour booking slots, but students stay longer.

Dimple Saini, Vidhi Ahir and Dwija Pandya, in the dental hygiene program, book a room for a three-hour slot. If they are not done, they book another one. They advise other students to avoid midday, which is the busiest.

“We need a room three times a month for our projects and we always go for the max slot,” says Saini.

Students still find it discouraging to go through the booking system.

“I believe they should assign some rooms without booking because the rooms are mostly empty,” said Kayali.

The booking system is user-friendly for Kayali and her friend, but they question the use of sharing their full names and emails, when only a student number would do.

Students who spoke with the Times about improvements said the library should advertise more for online booking to better manage the flow in the rooms, especially during exams.

While Pandya believes that students would benefit from extra study spaces, the student learning center staff find some stolen or broken items in the existing meeting rooms.

“We can’t really determine who did it since most of the rooms allow 24/7 access. We do not monitor the rooms. We have seen that the rooms are not always used for study purposes,” said Minakova.

Despite such incidents, Minakova confirms that no change is coming in the study room policies.