One of the problems with creating something innovative and popular is that it can easily become a victim of its own success. That's something we have to face with the Information Commons. I've blogged before about students not wanting to work in other locations so that there is extreme pressure on the PCs in the building, even when there are many PCs not being used just minutes walk away. The same is happening at the moment. It's one of our busiest times, and the screen showing PC availability across campus is almost completely red for the IC, and green everywhere else. (You just need to know that red is low availibilty, green the opposite).
To make things worse, after blogging not long ago that students didn't seem to be making a huge use of the wireless network, that has now changed completely. In the last few weeks they've turned up in droves with their laptops to the extent that the wireless network we put in the IC has been overloaded! A number of new access points have been added quickly, but a serious review will need to take place over the summer as we see growing evidence of changing student behaviour. It doesn't help the load problmes on the network that every device with wireless capability (eg the iPhone) connects as soon as you walk into the building whether you want to use it or not.
Formally announced the Google mail for students option last night by sending an email to all staff and students. Replies are split almost 50/50. From students saying this is great news, and from staff saying why can't we have it!