Robin @ school: How top schools use Robin as a university room booking system
The need for space and desk management systems isn’t unique to offices. Many assume this type of technology is reserved for the most cutting edge workplace when in reality it can be used to optimize how people interact with the space and resources provided for them in any facility -- including higher-education spaces.
Thinking about a day in the life of a typical college or university student, no two students have the same exact schedule. One thing they do share though: the need to find a place to study during finals week in a super crowded library 🙄😱
… or an editing suite to finish their final design project or a meeting room for their club to convene or a desk to sit at for a bit after trekking across campus.
While most colleges and universities have existing campus-wide systems to book spaces and resources, dozens of universities including Columbia, the University of Chicago, and the University of Arizona use Robin to make the experience even simpler for their students and staff.
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“Robin puts the students in control and gives university leadership important insights.” - David Wolf, University of Chicago
Speaking to a few higher-ed customers and prospects, it’s clear that Robin is used differently to fill the needs of each specific school. Whether it’s to power seamless scheduling in a media center, facilitate flexible seating in libraries, or improve visibility into resources campus-wide, we outlined the ways faculty and staff alike benefit from using Robin.
How higher-ed room scheduling software benefits students
Supporting flexible schedules
As mentioned, no two students have the same exact routine in higher-education. That being said, a student’s schedule is often more fluid and less predictable than someone in a typical 9-5 job. Robin is used in a university setting to support the flexibility of a student’s chaotic schedule and decrease the headaches caused by manual or legacy scheduling systems.
We’ve heard from universities that moving from an existing scheduling tool to a more sophisticated scheduler like Robin would better support a student’s need for flexibility. Instead of having to poke around in an outdated scheduling tool, students can pull up the app on their phone to reserve a flexible desk in a library for just 15 minutes to quickly submit a final paper or find the right collaborative meeting space with their group to get a project done on a last-minute basis.
Maximizing use of campus resources
David Wolf -- Senior Director Arts Technology at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago -- says the editing suites he manages are booked around the clock by students and staff. Before using Robin, they relied on manual processes to book those spaces, taking up a lot of staff time and resulting in suites being double-booked or left abandoned when someone didn’t show up to their reservation.
With Robin, double booking is a thing of the past and with abandoned meeting protection, if someone doesn’t check into their reservation within 15 minutes, it’s released to be used by someone else on an ad-hoc basis. David now has an organized way to automate the booking process so students and staff alike get the best possible usage out of the editing suites.
“Robin has basically solved all those problems for us. People love the app.” - David Wolf, University of Chicago
How higher-ed room booking systems benefit faculty and staff
Increasing flexibility and maximizing campus resources
Similar to students, faculty and staff benefit from the flexibility and visibility into campus resources. We’ve talked to universities who empower their faculty to hot desk on different parts of campus. In other words, people can book a desk in a facility outside of their department for part of the day instead of having to go back to their office whenever they need to get work done.
Faculty can also tap into the real-time schedule of a building so they know what rooms are in use for class or a meeting and can grab an open room to catch up with a colleague or tutor a student. Using a resource and space scheduling tool empowers faculty to get the most out of their campus on a flexible basis just as it does with students.
Improving campus resources
With a tool specifically designed to provide a seamless booking experience, the staff at higher-ed institutions don’t have to waste their time maintaining outdated room and resource scheduling systems and can instead focus on how to improve facilities for the students and faculty who use them.
“Having the ability to integrate space usage and equipment usage with other data I have available is so important,” says David Wolf of the University of Chicago. Based on data he gathers from Robin, he can prove how the media center editing suites are being used, and from that and other SSO data he collects, can determine his budget for the year.
Similarly, other universities use Robin to future plan for upcoming facilities. Based on data showing how spaces are used and who from campus is using them, they can determine what type of resources would be the best investment for the university.
When it comes to day to day improvements, monitoring peak usage times and periods of typically low utilization of spaces and resources has proven helpful in a university setting too. Knowing when the busy times in a library or media center are helps faculty make sure there’s enough staff on schedule to help students if necessary or if utilization is low, faculty can plan how to better market university resources so students know what’s available to them.
Space and desk management systems aren’t unique to offices. In chatting with customers and prospects, we’ve found that using a tool like Robin, brings the agility of the modern office to a university or college campus. Effective scheduling and desk booking apps support the flexible lifestyles of students and faculty while giving administrators the insights they need to continue offering the best resources and facilities possible.