Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Student Input on Library Workspaces

The current issue of EDUCAUSE Quarterly includes an article about student input in developing learning commons spaces, Learning Curve: Adapting Library Workspaces, by James C. Haug. I think student input is essential--after all, why else are we here? Haug writes about Longwood University which sought input from students regarding their new information commons space, focusing on two themes:
Do students like the new learning spaces? Do students view the changes as positive or negative, as evidenced by survey results and increased usage?

What other changes would maximize learning in the new library spaces? Would additional strategies, logistical arrangements, or other amenities improve learning in the new information commons/collaborative workstation areas?
He implemented a five-phase research process consisting of a focus group and a survey. Their students must be pretty happy, as over 75% of those surveyed were satisfited with privacy/noise, lighting levels, screen size, table work space, and chair comfort. Interestingly, they were most dissatisfied (63%) with the color of the fabric coverings on partitions. Perhaps this is a lesson to include students in future interior design discussions!

In analyzing the survey data, the library developed some recommendations based on the student input, including acquiring additional whiteboards, monitors, and chairs as budget permits. Other recommendations involved addressing noise issues, food policy, and signage.

Read the entire article from EDUCAUSE Quarterly.

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