Sage Hall study room kiosks: Out of order

Bethanie Gengler, News Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






When Sage Hall first opened eight years ago, it came with many amenities including a number of study rooms, conference rooms and breakout/group rooms available for students to reserve for free using the Google Calendar app.

With the recent campus merger of UW Oshkosh, UW-Fox Valley and UW-Fond du Lac, the campus IT systems and conference room reservations have switched from Google to Microsoft Outlook and the kiosks outside the Sage study rooms have remained off.

Now, many students are using the rooms without a reservation instead of reserving the room via Outlook, often for eating lunch or socializing with friends. For those who need these rooms, they may not be available despite being reserved.

Senior Brinley Fischer said she hasn’t used the new Outlook system to reserve a study room.

“I usually just look to see if they’re empty or if the screens are working; I check that,” she said.

Senior Tia Slusar said she tried using Outlook to reserve a room, but it was not as easy as reserving a room using Google.

“I tried to reserve them once, but I couldn’t figure it out,” she said.

In the past, reservations were displayed on a kiosk outside the desired room alerting students to the room’s use. This semester, the study room kiosks remain dark.

With every study room on the third floor occupied last Thursday but only one room actually reserved, Slusar and senior Paige Schultz said they were waiting for a room to open up. Once a student left a nearby room, Slusar quickly rushed in to claim it.

Senior Sunny Wang was the student formerly occupying the study room that Slusar and Schultz claimed. Wang said she had actually reserved a different room.

“I normally book a room, but when I got there it was taken, so I just went in another one,” she said.

To book a room, students must use their Outlook Calendar and schedule an event. For the location of the hall, type in “Sage Hall.”

“With Google, you could just type in Sage and an entire list of rooms would come up,” Wang said. “Microsoft is not that advanced.”

Wang said with the Outlook system, students need to either know the room number they wish to reserve or type the floor number followed by the number “2” to get a list of rooms. A list of available study rooms can be found at uwosh.edu/it/sage-hall.

“Some students don’t understand what location means, so they don’t even try it,” Wang said.

But with the kiosks outside the rooms turned off, students occupy any open room regardless of whether the room is reserved. Wang said the room she reserved using Outlook Calendar was occupied.

“You can kick people out,” she said. “Show them on your phone. Say, ‘Hey, this is my room.’”

According to an email from a UWO information technology employee, using Outlook Calendar to reserve a room works better on a computer than the mobile app. IT confirmed that none of the kiosks in Sage Hall are currently working.

“With the switch outside to Outlook, it was determined that we were going to have to update the kiosks outside of each [breakout/study] room in order for them to display Outlook,” the email said. “As we have not secured funding for that upgrade, all of them were switched off until they could report accurate data.”

Having 29 classrooms at Sage Hall brings a large population of students to the building, many of whom need to use study rooms for reasons other than socialization.

Fischer said when all of the study rooms are full, it is an inconvenience to students who have to “try to find somewhere else to study.”

Schultz said not having the kiosks turned on is causing confusion among students.

“Last semester the screens were turned on and you could see what time the rooms were reserved for,” she said. “Now it’s like they’re not even working like that anymore.”

Update: To learn how to reserve a room using Outlook Calendar, see the IT Knowledgebase article Outlook – Reserving a Room (uwosh.edu) for detailed instructions.