There's a big organisation burden for staff at the start of each academic year as they begin a multitude of student inductions. These training sessions are crucial for ensuring students get the most out of the resources available to them, while ensuring they handle equipment correctly and minimise breakages. We look at what's involved and explore how technology can help keep both staff and students organised and upbeat.
This year inductions are set to involve an unprecedented level of organisation, with student intake increasing from previous years now the intake cap has finally been lifted. University course acceptances have been reported as rising by 3% overall, although many of our customers have reported much steeper increases in their art, design and photography courses – see the last blog post for more details.
Organising inductions can involve coordinating literally thousands of pieces of equipment, not to mention countless rooms. We’ve worked with customers to refine the connect2 system and continue to do so, simplifying the booking process to make it as painless as possible to organise these events.
How to make efficiency gains
When it comes to managing attendance at the inductions, our connect2 events module has it all covered. Students can self-register on training workshops, with attendance easily monitored and recorded in the system. Connect2 provides a register and enduring record of who attended what, both in terms of overall volumes and each individual’s training history. Where training is a prerequisite to borrowing equipment – as it so often is – attendance data can be processed in the system to inform borrowing permissions. So each new cohort of students can easily progress to accessing the equipment they need once the necessary training or induction is completed.
What you see is what you get?
Training attendance data can also inform what equipment is actually visible to students in the system, and not just what’s bookable - depending on the approach taken by the institution. Some may err on the side of caution, opting for students to see only what they are allowed to book to avoid disappointing those that are keen to try out as much new kit as quickly as possible.
Other institutions prefer to showcase all resources, so encouraging students to get the training they need and progress to the next course module with the attraction of working with more sophisticated equipment. Talking to our customers, we know that this approach can be very motivational, prompting students to start asking themselves:
“What kind of equipment do I want to work with?”
“What areas of expertise do I want to develop for my future career?”
And so they begin to develop and nurture their ambitions. Not least, this approach also evidences the university’s investment in specialist, and often very expensive, ranges of equipment – investments that they will want to promote at every opportunity to both existing and prospective students.
Technicians and store managers are tasked with communicating huge amounts of information at the beginning of each academic year. Inductions are one way to impart key information to students but it certainly doesn’t end there. New undergraduates can find the transition to university life daunting and staff may find it necessary to constantly remind students of processes, rules and expectations around using equipment. Some rules may bear further repeating though, and technology can play an important role in getting the key facts across to new students.
As a portal to accessing equipment and other resources, connect2 supports cooperation around borrowing items in two key ways. Firstly, it ensures students remain aware of the rules – each time they book or borrow a piece of equipment. And secondly, it helps them to borrow and use resources while reducing the chances of breaking the rules. Connect2 offers embedded communication schedules, booking permissions, and timeslots that coordinate with check in/out desk opening times – all helping to keep students informed and on track.
Furthermore, while there’s no comparative substitute for hands on training, the availability of training manuals and video links in the system help support students once items are on loan and any inductions or formal training have long since been completed.
It all goes to provide a better student experience while relieving the communication burden from staff at the beginning and throughout the academic year.