Conquering the challenge of laptop loans at American University of Rome
James Breakell, UK MD of D-Tech International, looks at the company’s involvement in the computer lab refurbishment at the prestigious European university.
When we were asked to provide a space-saving IT solution that would enable the American University of Rome (AUR) to loan laptops to its students from a secure unit that would facilitate loans using AUR ID cards we knew that our ComputeIT cabinet would be perfect.
Founded in 1969, the American University of Rome (AUR) is situated within walking distance of Rome’s historic centre. Focusing on blending the liberal arts with career preparation and elements of the Italian/European classical tradition of the humanities, AUR is home to students from over forty countries. We were delighted to be part of the refurbishment project and to receive such positive feedback from the students and staff at the university.
During the summer of 2017, AUR refurbished its main computer lab removing over 55 workstations to provide a multi-functional study/social space for students. By changing the nature and use of this space, the number of student computers on campus was reduced significantly. AUR needed to find a solution to provide students with alternative computer access without disrupting the new space design. A space-saving alternative was needed. AUR wanted a solution that would allow students to check out laptops using their AUR ID card.
D-Tech offered a compact laptop check out unit with card reader and advanced system integration functionality. D-Tech supplied and installed a 12 locker ComputeIT cabinet in steel grey which is housed in a purpose-built recess inside the lounge. Fully integrated with the university’s network user account system, the students can check out laptops using their AUR ID card. A web-based portal allows the Office of Computer Service to monitor laptops and loans.
- EXPANDED SERVICES Faster access to laptops which can be used anywhere within the building
- IMPROVED SERVICES Improved use of staff resources
- IMPROVED STUDENT EXPERIENCE Easy to use, rapid laptop deployment
Rosa Fusco, Director of Computer Services, AUR, said: “With the refurbishment of the old computer lab, we converted the area into a modern, versatile lounge for informal student gatherings, social events and study groups. We were worried that by removing the desktop computers, this would impact computer access for students on campus. The self-service laptop unit was the ideal solution.
“We chose D-Tech because they offered a solution that would allow us to use our ID cards and integrate with our network user account system. Another challenge was finding a unit that could be easily shipped. Many self-service laptop units are designed and shipped from the US so finding D-Tech in the UK was certainly a bonus.
“Students are very happy with the unit; it allows them to check out university laptops autonomously without having to come to the IT office and to return them after office hours. Our reports show that 80% of the laptops are checked out daily.”