There are 46 delegates registered to attend next Wednesdays Utilisation of Space Across Campus through the Use of ICT workshop. This is the largest number of delegates that have registered to attend any of the SUSTE-TECH workshops. Numbers are especially high considering the event is being held during the last week of August when typically ICT and Estate managers are on annual leave. Without a doubt this is because of the topic being covered.
Space planning has in recent years become an increasingly important aspect of FHE estate management. This is mainly due to increases in real estate prices as well as the on-going cost of running large estates. University and colleges have been burdened with the task of having to source supplementary funding themselves since the 2010 cuts to the sector. In fact since the cuts, estates managers have been attempting to make maximum use of their assets by renting out classrooms to businesses for events such as conferences, workshops, tradeshows, parties and weddings etc. In order to do this however, campuses must not only be fit for purpose but also “look the part”. Since the recent hike in tuition fees, students are also expecting an improved overall pedagogic experience with emphasis on their learning environment.
In more modern or newly refurbished institutions, old fashioned cork notice boards and brightly coloured walls have been phased out. Instead classrooms and lecture theatres have become digitised and streamlined. PC’s are reduced to simply a keyboard and monitor, both smaller and lighter than before, and wires, cables and leads have almost vanished thanks to wireless connections. Space planning is no longer simply about the allocation of seats per classroom and adequate light and heat. There are legal requirements also to consider along with the cognitive, psychological, administrative and ICT requirements as well as staff and student welfare.
It is hoped that delegates will leave Wednesday’s workshops with a greater understanding of how to make the most of their institutions available space and how to incorporate the latest in ICT to help improve student’s learning experience and of course how to do it all as sustainably as possible.