From education to employment

Automating Manual Laptop Loaning in Colleges

‘LapSafe® (@LapSafe) self-service lockers stand out from the crowd’

Technology within sixth forms and colleges has evolved over the last few years, changing the way students learn and access course content. I don’t need to tell you that the Covid pandemic has increased the need for online content and remote learning.

Adapting IT to quickly cope with this new way of working has given IT departments many sleepless nights. Students need to be able to access a device such as a laptop, Chromebook or tablet at any time of day, often for short periods of time.

Offering students, the ability to borrow a device from a bank of intelligent self-service lockers enables them to access a fully charged device when they need it and allows the devices to be shared.

If students bring their own devices onto campus these smart lockers can also self-issue personal locker space with charging. The lockers can be configured to offer a ‘mix and match’ of a variety of loan devices as well as the personal charging lockers to cater for all students.

A recent survey conducted by LapSafe® has shown that approximately 25% of colleges now offer their students the ability to borrow a device from self-service device loan lockers.

The self-service lockers offer huge time saving for staff as they no longer have to manually ‘check-out’ and ‘check-in’ the devices. This manual way of loaning a device to students often meant that students waste time queuing to borrow or return a device.

Almost half of the colleges surveyed said that their main reason for adopting self-service was to free up staff time.

What is the most popular device loaned to students?

The most popular device loaned is still laptops with only 12% of colleges choosing to loan Chromebooks or tablets.

What is the most popular loan period?

Most colleges chose to loan out a device for periods of 4-6 hours, with short-term loans between 1-3 hours coming a close second. Around 13% of colleges surveyed loan devices for longer periods of 7+ hours.

How do colleges advertise the service to their students?

The most popular way to let students know that they can borrow a laptop from the self-service lockers is via internal signage, closely followed by word of mouth.

However, the LapSafe®’s self-service locker dashboard remotely monitors and reports device availability and status of the lockers. This information can be shared to students via the colleges’ website or displayed on screens around the campus. 

What’s make LapSafe®’s self-service lockers so special?

LapSafe®’s self-service lockers are the most sophisticated and intelligent self-service lockers available in the market and are the most popular lockers within education. The lockers can loan a device or multiple items at any time of day.

Devices such as laptops, Chromebooks and tablets can be fully charged and then automatically loaned to borrowers without staff interaction.

LapSafe® lockers always loan the best charged device and charges all devices simultaneously in the fastest possible time.   Each locker bay can be networked to allow IT technicians to automatically update devices from remote locations.

The lockers can be integrated with the universities library management system or work stand-alone loaning devices similar to that of a library book. The lockers are intuitive so little or no training is required to use them.

The lockers make asset tracking easy to manage and provide security for the devices.

So, what do colleges say about self-service lockers?

Feedback via the LapSafe survey has revealed that by introducing self-service laptop loans into their colleges fewer devices go missing and they make light work of managing assets.

Freeing up staff time was high on their list of reasons to automate their device loan service together with saving student time queuing for devices.

Space saving was another reason by removing traditional PCs has allowed colleges to repurpose computer rooms into flexible learning spaces.

We asked customers if they would recommend Self-Service loans to other colleges?

100% of customers said that they would recommend the service to other colleges.

Customer quotes

Whilst the initial investment is high the ROI is clear when it comes to flexibility, timesaving and operations’

‘Equipment is much less likely to be damaged, lost or stolen’

‘System manages itself’

‘Whilst the initial investment is high the ROI is clear when it comes to flexibility, timesaving and operations’

‘the feedback from staff and students has been very positive – with one even stating this was the best investment that the college had made”

‘The proof is mainly in their usage; we have received favourable comments from students’

‘I love the freedom it gives for students to choose where and how they work- that’s priceless!’

‘Students love the service, just want more devices’

‘Nice features, user friendly’

‘Students find it very useful’

Quotes courtesy of Hugh Baird College, Derby College, Farnborough College of Technology, Pembrokeshire College & Fife College

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