Media and equipment stores summer review - Part One
lorensbergs 10 Top Tips
Now that the summer has arrived, it’s a great time to reflect on what could make your life easier and the student experience better for the next academic year. Equipment and media stores often need to operate with stretched staff and short opening hours, but there are lots of ways to alleviate the stress and make operations run more smoothly. Here are our top tips for achieving best practice in your store or media centre:
Encourage students to make advance bookings
This means fewer queues at the desk (or possibly none at all!) as students will already have decided what they need to borrow. It gives staff more time to advise students on how to use the equipment when they come to pick it up. There’s also less disappointment and inconvenience around availability as students can make sure they secure the equipment needed in advance to meet course deadlines.
Show them what you’ve got!
Offering equipment information online will help to ensure students know what equipment you’re able to offer them and use the best equipment for their needs. You can include images, specifications, advice on use, manuals and video tutorials to help students to identify what they need. This is particularly valuable when combined with an online booking system – students develop their professionalism as they learn to organise their own schedule and increase their equipment knowledge. If you need assurances on this point our customers can confirm it works!!
Barcode, barcode, barcode!
Use of barcodes on each piece of equipment ensures you keep an efficient record for tracking each item. It also helps achieve a quicker and simpler checkin/out process without needing to manually note what’s going in and out.
Connectivity is key
A connector to your Active Directory or student record system is a timesaver that allows you to look up and record the details of each student when borrowing equipment. There is no need for a regular data dump, manual import or getting students to complete a registration process. Using a barcode scanner or NFC pad on their student ID badges makes this process foolproof and even faster. Use the information from a centrally held student record to apply permissions and authorisations automatically that are based on students’ current data. This supports fair access to equipment and manages the demands on resources of different courses and years of study.
Consider using student volunteers on the desk
The automatic permissions achievable from an Active Directory connector means that students can assist more skilled and experienced technicians without making errors over who can borrow what. They may also really benefit from the work experience (not to mention any pay going!), and allow the desk to open for longer hours.
Get yourself a daily overview
Another reason for using advanced bookings: as well as saving time on the desk, they allow you to review bookings for each day so you can prepare kit in advance for checkout. This can really take the heat out of peak times! It also gives you more opportunity to double check that kit is in good order, and allow time to swap or suggest other items if appropriate.
One system for all resources
Include rooms, studios, labs and rehearsal rooms in the same booking system as equipment, so that students can coordinate and book everything in one go to meet their needs around assignments. Consider adding the opportunity to book time with technicians too.
Coordinate equipment training and inductions
Include training session availability in the same booking system as equipment. If students needs to complete training before borrowing more specialised pieces of equipment, this can be made clear before booking is allowed, with training easily signed up for in the same place.
Know your vital statistics
Use booking statistics and data to support your requests to purchase additional equipment. Such data will make clear which items you need more of, assist with decision-making, and provide evidence of need for funding applications.
No excuses for breaking the rules
Make sure the rules around borrowing equipment are clearly displayed (for example maximum number of items; maximum timeslot length etc). Add terms and conditions as part of the booking process and require confirmation from the student that they are read and understood. This way students know what’s expected of them and borrow items responsibly. More 'Top Tips' will be available mid July - make sure you return for the next installment!
lorensbergs' range of intelligent and customisable online booking solutions have been designed to streamline booking processes and improve efficiencies in universities and colleges, libraries and public authorities.
Drawing on 10 years' expertise of working with academic institutions, the connect2 booking system makes life easier for staff, and dramatically improves the student experience during the booking, collecting and return of equipment.