Southport College is a successful further education college located in Southport, Merseyside, offering hundreds of both part-time and full-time courses to its 3,500 students up to university level. The college uses ICT in every classroom, from data projectors and interactive whiteboards to desktop computer suites and instant classrooms with laptops and laptop trolleys.
The college understands that students are typically well-versed in the use of ICT before beginning further education, but that their learning experience is revolutionised when they start to distinguish between fact and fiction when researching on the internet. Students at Southport College learn how important it is to be able to evaluate the information they have gathered irrespective of their subject area; in addition, the college understands it’s responsibility to guide students to be safe online, and celebrates World Wide Safer Internet Day every year.
Diane Finnie, Head of ICT at Southport College explained: “At the college we don’t just use ICT equipment for ICT lessons, but in all aspects of our curriculum. Students undertake individual and group research using a combination of sources including the internet, accessing library resources and ebooks and other electronic databases relevant to their subject area.”
Southport College has been a LapSafe® customer for over seven years, and own eight different Mentor™ SmartLine™ products to store and charge their laptops across the college. Southport decided they would like to offer students the ability to self-serve laptops in one of the three Library Learning Centres, and approached LapSafe® for the ideal solution.
Diane said: “The college wanted a product that would provide security for our laptops whilst charging, and LapSafe’s SmartLine™ charging option with built-in power cables was a key feature in attracting us to LapSafe® Products. Our Mentor™ trolleys are robust and well designed. We decided that the LapSafe® Diplomat™ LMS was the only option for providing our students with the self service option.”
In summer 2012, Southport College made the decision to invest in a 48 bay LapSafe® Diplomat™ LMS self-service laptop locker to integrate with their Heritage library management system, allowing the students to loan laptops themselves using their existing magnetic stripe cards.
Diane said: “We would recommend LapSafe® Products as we have had no issues with delivery and have continued to experience a very high level of customer service over the last seven years, and the support offered to us even for systems that are no longer in warranty enables us to continue using the equipment. Even after researching other products we didn’t find anything that was such a hard-wearing trolley and offered the same level of security as our LapSafe® units. Typically, all of our LapSafe® units are fully booked throughout the day, either in drop in access or during classroom sessions.”
Diane concluded: “Self-service laptop loans have completely changed the way our LLC works, enabling students to be empowered to loan and return laptops without the assistance of library staff. The students feel able to work in small groups or individually. At the college we are reviewing other areas of our curriculum with a view to remove desktop based computer suites altogether and move to a completely self-service laptop solution.”