When they’re queuing in the library and the laptops are on hold…

A self-service laptop loan system which allows students to book laptops in and out as needed is undoubtedly a good idea.

Middlesex University wanted to implement such a scheme in order to enhance student IT provision and to provide a flexible option for students who preferred to work outside the library. They also wanted to address issues around access to desktop PC/Macs for students at peak times.

The library had previously operated a laptop loan scheme which had proved popular. However, the service itself was limited as laptops needed to be manually issued/returned during set times during the day, and this resulted in a relatively small number of laptops being issued.

In addition, the University had moved to a centralised helpdesk for all student enquiries which was also located in the library. In order to improve this and other services, it was important that students were not left queuing to get a laptop.

So a 24/7 self-service option was identified as a clear requirement.

The University at this point turned to Bretford, and we offered a solution that is already being used successfully in a number of Universities – the Bretford Myritrac.

Following the installation of a 30 bay control and recharge cabinet and the subsequent overwhelming positive feedback from students, a further three bay cabinets have since been installed.

As a result all the laptops have the same software installed on them as a desktop machine has, including the ability to print wirelessly, giving students a choice of devices to use.

As the laptops could be used on or off site students could work in other parts of the campus or take them home. In essence, laptops have become just another ‘loanable’ item students can take away with them.

For further information on Bretford Myritrac please click here.

Alternatively you can call us on 01753 53 99 55.

You can also see us at the Higher Education Expo on 17th October at Olympia.

What is the simplest way of doubling the effectiveness of every lesson your colleagues teach?

It is a simple fact of life that virtually anything we do could be done better. 

If one had had a little more time to prepare or a little more understanding of the pitfalls into which we might fall… then it could all have gone a little more effectively. 

And indeed, it (whatever it was) might not have been just a little bit more effective, but quite possibly far more than that. 

When seen in this regard lessons are no different from anything else. 

This is because the enhanced effectiveness of each lesson comes in two ways. First, the lesson itself becomes more effective as a teaching tool. And second, well, there is a second, but I’ll leave that for a moment. 

What we are talking about here is the Lesson Recorder – a system that not only records the teacher teaching the lesson, but also shows the PowerPoint display, the interactive whiteboard, and any other such devices that are utilised during the class. 

As such the full lesson is recorded – and of course, because the teacher knows in advance that this will happen, your colleague will inevitably make this lesson one that is that extra bit special. 

But it is once the recording is made that the Lesson Recorder really delivers school improvement. 

Firstly, students can access the recording from the school’s VLE through their normal log-in and thus use the lesson itself as part of their revision. Anything that was in the lesson which they missed first time round will be available for them. And should they have been away from school through illness, this provides them with a simple way to catch up. 

Secondly, you, the head of CPD, or any other suitably qualified colleague can review the lesson with the teacher as part of the professional training programme within the school. What’s more, because the recording is complete in terms of all the aspects of the lesson, it will be a perfect piece of evidence to offer to the inspectorate, should they wish to see it. 

The outcome of all this activity is, of course, better teaching and learning. Your colleagues improve their practice, while your students are delivered ever improving lessons to which they have access at any time once the lesson has been taught. 

There is more information on the Lesson Recorder on our website. 

You can also find out more by calling Lesson Recorder on 01793 978 785 or by emailing dstewart@lessonrecorder.co.uk I look forward to hearing from you.