All IE students, starting from their first year, have heard about an extracurricular opportunity called IE Labs. This program provides students with hands-on, internship-like experience. The labs are offered to first and second-year students who wish to start gaining professional practice. However, the beginning of this experience for those seeking to join a lab this year was marked with failure.
Labs enrollment took place on Monday, Nov. 6. Students were told that they could enroll in their preferred labs and seminars via a link. This was to begin at 10 am punctually and the process was intended to be first-come, first-served. Enrollment was conducted across Queue-Fair, which grants busy websites “waiting rooms.”
Many students did join promptly at 10, if not before. Still, they found themselves behind hundreds or thousands of students in the queue. The queue would continually kick users out in the middle of their wait, refreshing on its own. Some reached the lobby and were then kicked out as well.
Evidently, this all compromises the idea that labs enrollment was a fair first-come, first-served system. The dysfunctional queue website led to a wave of frustration among students seeking to sign up for their desired labs and seminars.
The poor accessibility posed an issue particularly for BBA students. They are an ample amount of the student population. With limited labs that align with their career interests and ever-so-many students, a lot of them were left out of their top choices.
Beyond this more moment-specific annoyance with the labs and seminars enrollment, there are other things to be addressed. During this dilemma, students went to IT to see if anything could be done. The department said they could not offer a solution. Each complaint was lodged and students were given tickets. The overarching issue here lies in the fact that IE markets technology as a large part of their innovative mindset. A school that is so tech-based, should not have such counterproductive technology.
Students from upper years had mentioned to first-years that the platform for enrollment had crashed for them years prior. With this in mind, it makes no sense that the process has not become more efficient.
With so much talk around the Labs, many students remained uninformed about seminars and what they supplement to the IE academic experience. So, students came to make decisions on their seminar choices without much forethought.
Another primary issue has to do with the lack of meritocracy. The first-come, first-served system crashed on students. But, the fact that the application to the labs is first-come, first-served is also a concern. Students should be selected for the labs based on their merit rather than on who could make it past the queue first.
The optimal solution to the labs issue is an application-based labs enrollment. Here, students would have a few weeks to send in their applications to their preferred labs. Followed by a review period where the applications would be considered. And then a decision date, where students are notified of whether or not they got into their lab. Students should also be able to apply to various labs. They should select a preferred few, and then get access to one or more. This would solve both the lack of meritocracy in the labs process, as well as the issues of an overwhelmed website; thousands of users would not be trying to access the platform at the same time. This way, the academic experience of IE students would not be jeopardized.
Featured image by author.