20th November 2017
Diplomat™ Self Service

TAFE SA is South Australia’s largest vocational education and training (VET) provider and one of the largest in Australia. It is also a registered higher education provider.

More than one million students have studied with TAFE SA since it was established in 1971. Each year, TAFE SA delivers more than 1,000 courses to over 70,000 students. Courses cover more than 80 areas of industry and activity, with flexible delivery options that suit the needs of students.

Nick Stott’s role as Manager of Technology Services at TAFE SA includes the provision of technology solutions and services to facilitate the delivery of training to students. Nick talks to LapSafe® about the decision to implement a solution at the Tonsley Campus, in lieu of a staffed library that could facilitate the loaning of equipment.

TAFE SA - Photograph by David Sievers
TAFE SA - Photograph by David Sievers

Why did TAFE SA choose to implement automated self-service device loans?

“We wanted to empower our lecturers and students with autonomy. This meant real-time and flexible access to equipment they needed, when they needed it. Thus, a progressive solution that could achieve this, whilst also aligning with the decision not to have a traditional library on campus, was investigated.

“Several solutions were evaluated by a panel consisting of ICT, Facilities, and business stakeholders with the LapSafe® Diplomat™LMS solution ultimately being selected. The majority of TAFE SA sites still provide a manual laptop loan service. Our Tonsley campus is the exception as it now utilises the automated capabilities of the LapSafe® Diplomat™LMS. One of the key objectives for this new modern campus was to provide a flexible learning environment with accessible technology.”

Did you require your unit to work alongside your Library Management System?

“We required the ability to track the borrowing of the laptops. Our existing Library Management System (LMS), Civica Spydus, was already being used to track borrowing for all our students with their student ID cards. LapSafe® Diplomat™LMS had the ability to work alongside our system.”

How many devices did you need to cater for?

“We have 96 Windows laptops that we wanted to be able to loan out to students at the Tonsley campus on a short-term basis. This meant they could borrow one for up to four hours at a time.”

Matthew Stephens - Technology Analyst / Nick Stott - Manager of Technology Services
Matthew Stephens - Technology Analyst / Nick Stott - Manager of Technology Services

Who or what influenced your decision to choose the LapSafe® Diplomat™LMS?

“We did lots of online research, and had direct discussion with product vendors, and product specification analysis. Functionality was the primary reason for choosing the LapSafe® Diplomat™LMS. We needed an automated system that would interface with our LMS.”

How was the sales and delivery process?

“Our immediate contact at LapSafe® was with Mark Exley and he was very helpful right from the beginning. The sales process from order to delivery was very good and responsive given the geographical challenge. The installation ran smoothly and was handled locally by a LapSafe® partner from Brisbane. We now have eight towers of lockers installed at our flagship TAFE SA Sustainable Industries Education Centre located at Tonsley in Adelaide, South Australia. We have two installations, a large installation (72 device) on our ground floor and central to our classrooms. The second (24 device) installation is on our second level and contains devices with a different software offering specifically for our design and engineering students.”

Have you had any issues with the units since having them installed?

“We have had minimal issues with the hardware, and we had some issues with an earlier revision of the server software which at times caused devices to not be released. The update installed four months ago has resolved this and we have had little to no incidents regarding access issues with the units since then.

“We had an issue with not being able to borrow laptops for a period, however, the issue ended up being a parameter in our Library Management System. I did get exceptional support from Trevor Emerson and John Hutton in assisting with troubleshooting the issue i.e. rule out an issue with the Diplomat™LMS.

“Trevor Emerson (LapSafe® Partner in Brisbane) deserves a special mention. While I value his exceptional knowledge of the Diplomat™LMS product, it is his customer service that is outstanding. This is mainly due to his willingness to make himself available to discuss any concerns, at any time. This is particularly appreciated due to our location making it difficult to reach UK support during business hours.”

What feedback have you had from the students and staff?

“Staff were appreciative of how accessible laptops had become for the students. This appreciation has grown over time as their reliance on the technology has increased due to increased focus on digital delivery.

“The students like the accessibility, flexibility and the self-service aspect of the unit.”

TAFE SA - Photograph by David Sievers
TAFE SA - Photograph by David Sievers

Would you consider the TAFE SA automated device loan service a success and did you achieve your initial objective?

“The automated service has been very successful and we have around 72 devices loaned out daily.”

What advice would you give to other colleges and universities considering changing to self-service device loans?

“Do your research and visit case study sites if you can. Integration with the existing student database is essential, preferably a Library Management System database with borrowing functionality. I would highly recommend the LapSafe® Diplomat LMS to other colleges and universities looking for this type of solution.”

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