Angela is a Level 4 student who lives in halls. Her coursework includes individual essays as well as group presentations, and the areas she chooses to work in reflect the different activities she is involved with.
For her group’s presentations, she prefers to work on her individual contributions in her own room. She has a PC and printer, allowing her to work in a comfortable, quiet space with quick access to printing. Comfort is important to her with comfortable seats being essential, and music helping her to concentrate when she’s ‘not working seriously’. On Fridays, she likes to work in the more communal areas of halls as she doesn’t want to be ‘locked away’ in her room. Also, ‘little things’ like access to drinks really help.
Lack of access to food and drinks in Adsetts is one of the reasons why she finds this a difficult space to work for long periods of time.
Angela does access the internet (eg, Blackboard) from her PC, but prefers to do this only for quick activities where it is more convenient to do work from halls than to make the trip to Adsetts. Convenience appears to depend on the time of day/night – while her halls are only a short walk from Adsetts, she doesn’t like going when it involves walking alone in the dark. The Adsetts presents other difficulties for her too: while she doesn’t like working in places that are too quiet, and often the LC can provide a break from the distractions in halls, she finds large groups congregating make it difficult to complete individual and group tasks in there. This is particularly an issue on the lower levels, suggesting that it is the very open areas that encourage potentially disruptive behaviour. The LC does provide plenty of resources for her though, which she generally takes away with her (either downloading work, looking through books to take quotes to back up her essays, or taking books back to her room when writing essays).
She and her group find that in-between spaces (such as the Owen meeting circles, or the sofas in the Atrium) provide great spaces for ad-hoc meetings before seminars or at revision time, and Angela wishes that other buildings could provide such spaces for quick, convenient meetings. A lot of her taught sessions take place in Eric Mensforth, and apart from the catering area this building doesn’t provide many spaces for quick meetings. Practice presentation rooms that students could use would also be helpful, as currently groups will use unsuitable, noisy areas such as corridors due to lack of proper facilities.
Every 3-4 weeks, Angela returns home by train, a journey that takes around 80 minutes. This gives her the chance to concentrate on reading text books without the distraction of msn, etc, so she takes work that she knows she can do easily (reading, revision, etc).