Wageningen University does not have a spatial problem, but rather a scheduling problem, says blogger Jan-Willem. Introducing evening classes would be premature before having had a good look at this.
In the current and next term, the university is trying out evening classes. It is as good as set that these will be implemented after an evaluation. Enough has been said on the subject previously, but I can’t help putting in a word myself. Something bizarre is going on and it seems people are ignoring it. And that is that the alleged lack of space in the education buildings is a farce; half of the rooms are vacant. If you walk around Forum and Orion, you will see that a large portion of the rooms remains unused. They do not have a spatial problem, but rather a scheduling problem.
The occupancy of all types of rooms is far below the norm. Whether we speak of computer rooms, practical rooms or large lecture halls, all of them remain unused way too often. Everyone can see it. Take a walk and check all the rooms. I have done this several times recently – and throughout the past years – and I saw the same every time. You can even use the mobile application Available PC from the comfort of your own chair to see that there are computer rooms, even large ones, empty during every single period.
One of the problems lies with departments that rent too many education rooms and subsequently leave them unused. As the scheduling does not check whether the reserved rooms are actually used, they do not have an idea of the true occupancy. Everyone has been there: your schedule on MyPortal (i.e. the official room reservation) tells you there is a lecture, while that course might have a free afternoon for self-study planned on the actual schedule that you received at the start of the course.
The university should first make sure it gets the scheduling back on track. Until that time, introducing evening classes is very premature. The analysis of the try-out will surely take into account which factors make taking such a step necessary in the current situation. I really hope the scheduling problem will come up and that the university will have the guts to first tackle that. Before radical decisions are made about evening classes.
Jan-Willem follows the Biosystems Engineering master. Follow him on Twitter: @JanWillemK