Collaboration leads to new online student seating chart system

tagsAuditorium Chair Desk

Sunday, January 31



Thanks to the joint efforts of multiple departments on campus, Colorado State University has launched a new online system for teachers to submit their spring class seating plans, thus simplifying and speeding up the contact used when people test positive for COVID-19 The tracking process.

Last fall, teachers began to create assigned seating plans for students in their classes so that contact trackers could identify who was sitting near people who tested positive or were exposed to the virus, and then reminded these students of possible exposure and the need for isolation.

However, the format of these seating tables varies from department to department, is not always clear and easy to understand, and is not stored uniformly. They usually only contain the student’s name, which means that the contact tracker must find the CSUID number and contact information, which causes delays in paperwork. Ideally, the process should be completed within 48 hours after a positive test for the virus.

"So, they spend a lot of time looking up data, rather than hiring what they do and what they do well. This is contact tracking during the pandemic," said D. Tobiassen Baitinger, the university registry. "We think we can make the process easier and more efficient."

Now, thanks to the joint efforts of facility management, IT professionals and registrar offices, there is a "seat map" link next to each course section of ARIESweb. When teachers view their class list, they use the link to display a chart of seating arrangements in the classroom, with numbered seats. For each numbered seat, faculty and staff can click the drop-down menu of registered students in the class, and then select the person assigned to each seat this semester.

Teachers are expected to create these digital seating plans before the face-to-face lectures that begin the week of January 25, or on the first day of face-to-face meetings with students. The deadline for doing so is February 1. If any students give up or add courses, teachers should also update their charts.

With this new system, when a contact tracker needs to identify a person sitting near a student exposed to a student or a student who has tested positive for the coronavirus, they only need to enter the student’s CSUID number to display all the courses that the student has attended in person Seat table element. The system can identify the desk of that student in each class, so that trackers can see which students are sitting nearby.

CSU Public Health Administrator Jeannine Riess explained: “Effective contact tracing depends on the timely identification of individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19.” “Due to the difficulty of obtaining a seating chart in time, the team’s challenge last semester was how to respond quickly Potential classroom exposure. The new system will provide immediate access, thereby avoiding the delay of several days to obtain the information needed to evaluate classroom exposure, thereby greatly enhancing contact tracking capabilities."

Brandon Bernier, Vice President of Information Technology, added: “The seating chart tool is the best example of cooperation and partnership between our IT professionals, and aims to create a great thing for the campus.” The IT professionals involved have done a great job in understanding the needs and needs of various campus stakeholders in order to design very useful things. Tae Yamaki and other members of the IT team in the Registrar’s Office have created something that will be an extraordinary experience for our CSU community, and I think it is a role model for other institutions across the country.

For Kristi Buffington, Spatial Information and Data Manager for Facilities Management, this is an update that started at least seven months ago and aims to ensure approximately two-thirds of the fall courses


Starting from last summer, the facility staff first searched the architectural archives for the furniture placed in each general work classroom, and then measured the furniture in the rooms not included in the archives. Then, the staff draws the configuration in a CAD (computer-aided design) program, with a distance of six feet between each seat, to maximize capacity.

They repeated the process of the departmental classrooms, removed the extra furniture, placed slogans and tape on the chairs that could not be removed in the auditorium, and took an X on the position where the movable desk/seat should be placed. Remind all faculty, staff and students not to change the seating configuration or move furniture in any classroom.

Buffington said that after the classroom became remote after the fall break, facility staff returned to each classroom and laboratory, measured all the tables, benches, and desks, and then drew them into CAD again. Then, they numbered each seat/site on the chart, created pdf files for the 540 classroom layouts, and provided these files to the provost’s office for use in the new seating plan application.

"They did a lot of work," Tobiassen Baitinger said of the units involved. "This is a huge improvement."

Tobiassen Baitinger added that in December, 17 faculty members tested the new system and provided valuable comments. The result is the addition of a feature that allows the seat of the teaching assistant to be added to the chart.

Tobiassen Baitinger said: "We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback." He added that the new system is another example of the CSU community working together to overcome challenges during the pandemic.

She said: "In the past 10 months, everyone has been speeding, just trying to create a solution." "We have been saying that we are together, everyone is involved, this is to support CSU learning The contribution of the overall effort. This is a good partnership between the Registry, Information Technology and Facilities Management Departments. As long as we can establish a cross-departmental partnership, it will be an absolute victory for the university."

This article is part of the "Forever Steadfast: Beyond the Epidemic" series. It tells the inside story of how Colorado State University families brainstormed, caring, creative and collaborative to continue their mission to grant land and overcome challenges. Resilience of COVID-19.

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