If you want to know how popular open office spaces are, check out the threads at Askamanager.org. Hint: they are exactly as popular as decreasing the sizes of airplane seats--in other words, beloved by the executives being paid $$$$, who all have private offices, and not so much by the people who actually have to work in them.
Herewith, from 2010, since I don't want you to have to click the link, a vision of how this would actually work:
Professor X: "I'm glad you came to see me, Stu Dent. I've noticed that you haven't been coming to class much lately."
Stu Dent: "mumble"
Professor Y to student at the next table: "I can lend you a copy of that--oh, wait, I don't have any books on campus any more."
Professor X: "I'm sorry, but I couldn't hear you. Can you tell me again?"
Stu Dent: (very quiet voice) "It's been rough at home, because my mother has ca--"
Barista: "MOCHACHINO UP!"
Stu Dent looks nervous, but continues: "cancer, and she hasn't been doing well lately--"
At the next table, a cell phone rings, and Professor M answers it: "HELLO? REALLY? SHE THREW UP AGAIN? I THOUGHT WHEN I DROPPED HER OFF THIS MORNING THAT SHE'D BE ALL RIGHT."
Professor X, trying to be encouraging: "That must be really hard. Well, on the assignment you missed the other day--"
Professor M: "DOES SHE HAVE A TEMPERATURE? ARE YOU SURE? OKAY, I'LL BE THERE IN HALF AN HOUR TO PICK HER UP."
Stu Dent: "I wanted to talk to you about that one, because [words drowned out in the noise from the steaming machine]"
Professor X: "I'm sorry, what?"
Professor N, who's been watching The Daily Show on his laptop with the volume low, now erupts in laughter.
Barista: "LATTE UP!"
At this point, Professor Y and the student are trying, but failing, not to look at/listen to the conversation of Professor X and Stu Dent.
Stu Dent: "Never mind. See you in class."
Disclaimer: This post in no way is meant to insult mothers, coffee drinkers, students, Daily Show watchers, professors, or baristas, but you get the picture.