Classroom seating habits

Posted to Visualization  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

In college, I was one of those guys who sat in the back and doodled in my notebook. Sometimes I fell asleep. One time I fell asleep and woke up in the middle of a different class. I blame the professor. Why would you turn off the lights for a two-hour session in a big lecture hall, while reading verbatim from world's most boring powerpoint presentation?

Anyways, we all have our seating pockets that we like to settle in. Skyrill, a two-brother design team, took it upon themselves to visualize the seating habits of their graduate student classmates in class 15.514 at MIT.

While you don't know the class or the students, it's easy to pretend that you do. Select students, find who likes to sit in the front all the time (Dario), who likes to sit in the back (Arthur), and who jumps around a lot (Takumi). It looks like the room entrance is on the left since people sit there more often. You can also play it out and watch each student move around the class.

Next step: provide more context. Why is the seat in the front, third from the right always empty?

[Classroom seating habits | Thanks, Ali]

7 Comments

  • For context, I would love to see this overlaid on a photograph of the classroom!

    • Yes, it may make a difference, for example, if the room has movable desks and chairs, vs. fixed auditorium-style seating. Taller people (an issue with me) may gravitate to the front row or side seats for more comfortable legroom space (similar to choosing airline seats).

  • Once I picked a seat in class I never moved from that one. I almost always arrived on time so it wasn’t hard to keep it from the seat jumpers who tend to arrive late. My seat was almost always in the middle (front to back) but never in the middle (left to right). Why? I wanted neither the stereotype of slacker (back row) or eager/nerd (front row), but also didn’t want the teachers attention by sitting right down the middle in his line of site. A bit calculated sure, but that is how I am.

  • I am going to take a guess and say 3rd seat from the right is the slot emptied out for wheelchair

  • I sit off to the left. Especially if there is a door I can use to make a swift exit when class is over.

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