Tufts improves room reservation system
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 02:10
This summer Tufts launched a new room reservation system, called Tufts Space and Resource Reservation System, on the Medford/Somerville campus as part of a university-wide update in conjunction with the implementation of Integrated Student Information System (iSIS).
According to a June 12 post on the Tufts Technology Services website by Dawn Irish, the new system will at first be used to reserve classrooms, meeting spaces and labs for academic and student use, with the possibility of scheduling technical resources for classroom instruction and events in the future.
Assistant Registrar for Arts, Sciences and Engineering Sarah Harvey explained that the updated system, which went into effect on June 24 and replaced the R25 room reservation system, was chosen in part to synchronize the systems utilized by the various Tufts campuses.
“The Medford campus was using R25 and the Boston campus was using scheduling software powered by EMS [Event Management System],” she said. “They reviewed both systems, and to streamline the university system, we chose EMS as the better software to have one integration.”
Harvey explained that the university chose to switch systems after determining that the Tufts Space and Resource Reservation System, which is a part of EMS, was easier to use.
“It’s a lot more user-friendly, overall,” Harvey said. “With R25, there were a lot of tables, so if you wanted to access information, it wasn’t readily accessible. Reports weren’t easily customizable. The EMS platform ... behaves more like a website in 2013, whereas R25 was more like a website from the 90s.”
Academic and Event Scheduling Coordinator Nicole Reppucci expressed satisfaction with the new program. According to Reppucci, who was involved with the steering committee that implemented the yearlong initiative to establish EMS at the Medford/Somerville campus, the new system allows users to change or cancel their requests without technical assistance.
“The online system gives the users a lot more features to do themselves,” Reppucci said. “Before, they couldn’t cancel requests or edit them. Now, they can, which allows me to get a lot more done.”
Reppucci said the new system also has an “optimization” tool that shows users which room would give them best usage of space as far as the room capacity.
Harvey explained that the overhaul involved coordination with all of the different schedulers around the university.
“We have a bit of a decentralized campus,” Harvey said. “[Reppucci] and I both schedule a lot of the classroom spaces, but then The Fletcher School [of Law and Diplomacy] has schedulers who do their buildings. There are schedulers for everything, representing all of their business processes into the system.”
In order to integrate the system for usage on the Hill, Harvey said she and others spoke with administrators at the Boston campus.
“We worked with the users in Boston who had been using the software for several years and worked with them to implement the databases,” she said. “I was the functional lead for the Medford project to build the database. There was a campus committee as well as representatives from campus administrators.”
Andrew Peng, co-president of the Advisory Committee for Endowment Responsibility, said that the new system is far easier to use.
“The new system is a major improvement on the last,” Peng, a senior, said. “I definitely appreciate being able to edit or cancel events myself.”
Harvey agreed that the new system was superior to the last in terms of efficiency.
“For the users, it’s changing these things — flipping the switch or adding an additional setting that makes their life easier,” Harvey said. “It’s finding the way that we can streamline the functions within the system a little bit better.”