How they chose to centralise their device management
Weston College ordered their first Diplomat Pro™ Self-Service Lockers in 2016, since then they have grown to over five hundred loaning bays across sixteen installations. With LapSafe®’s Diplomat™ Pro in mind for future expansions it is no wonder the college is one of LapSafe®’s largest self-service sites.
The Team spoke to Andrew Johnstone, IT Customer Services Manager, about the challenges of maintaining a streamlined service across multiple sites. We discussed self-service laptop loaning and the impact it has had on costs, sustainability, and admin tasks, and how it has been welcomed throughout the college.
With no centralised system for device management the team faced difficulties. Each department were left to look after the loaning, charging and storage of their own laptops, but they found devices would often go missing, get damaged or be left unused.
"We would probably find that five laptops would go missing and we wouldn’t even know where they were, so that’s £3-£5K worth of kit gone straight away"
There was no accountability with no way to monitor which students had which devices. Staff had to manage loaning and returns manually, costing the college time and money employing two people on the Tech Desk full time.
Management of laptop trolleys was inconsistent, as a result we weren’t achieving the level of utilisation we wanted. In addition, desktop PCs were often left on which was inefficient and costly in terms of energy usage
The Turning Point
"We decided about fifteen years ago, that students could borrow all sorts of equipment/books etc from the library, and that this was the go-to place for all equipment loaning. The library became the centre for every campus"
Weston College created a learning and working hub for each campus, known as LibraryPlus. This allowed the college to have a more integrated approach to IT management, and greater control over the entire system. This allowed IT admins to remotely manage and monitor device loaning, providing a more hands on approach, which would take the pressure away from the individual departments.
Weston College has a long-standing relationship with LapSafe® and the two have been able to grow alongside one another for many years. This longevity has led to a strong partnership, with a proven history, backed up with trusted support by LapSafe®. The college wanted to continue this relationship as it looked for new ways of providing advanced styles of learning.
To provide the extra level of functionality required to manage their various sites, the college opted to use LapSafe®’s Diploma™ Pro Self-Service Lockers.
Allowing students to loan devices from automated lockers reduced the impact on staff time and admin tasks. The Diploma™ Pro easily integrated with the colleges Library Management System (LMS), allowing a streamlined service with minimal staff interaction.
"Introducing self-service was a massive benefit to us. There is less staff involvement in terms of admin, they are self-sufficient, once students are familiar with how it works, they don’t need to find staff for assistance"
The accountability offered by the loaning software has provided an extra level of security and decreased the amount spent on lost or damaged devices.
That’s the biggest one for us, the accountability factor
In 2016 the college ordered their first Diploma™ Pro, since then the college has grown to sixteen installations, with a grand total of 504 bays.
The next step for Weston College and LapSafe® is increasing the level of data control by updating to LapSafe®’s newly released ONARKEN® locker management software which allows staff even more control and loaning options.
"With more granular control we can move away from our LMS towards our active directory. We will be able to create groups, whether this be student or staff, and it will give us much better control"
The functions of the new software will extend service desk availability, providing learners with access to technology when they need it, even when staff are not available.
The drop off and collect functions will really help. The LibraryPlus and Learning Technologists are not always available, laptops can be pre booked made available outside of the staffed help desk hours”
We are really going down the mobile route, we are removing desktops in so many places and both students and staff are increasingly hot desking
The decrease in desktop PCs has led to a more “mobile workspace” giving students more freedom to work in a way which suits them best. The added benefit of this new flexible work style is being able to make better use of the space available, and a reduction in energy and running costs.
The kit will be managed better in terms of charging, being able to manage a device so you only have it powered on when you need it on
Quotes have been provided by Andrew Johnstone, Weston College – October 2022