The first winner of an RSC Learning Technology Award winner in 2011-12 goes to David Fletcher at Loughborough College. We caught up with Ann Bullock, Staff Development Manager, to find out why David had won and why the College had taken part in the Award Scheme.
“This is the third year that the RSC has sponsored this prize and this year our winner was David Fletcher.
“David is an exemplar of dedication to the job and has a thirst for knowledge. He understands the complexities of systems that we use and how these could be integrated and used for the benefit of colleagues. He is usually ahead of most of us thinking of ways to plug gaps.
“The impact of David’s has been immense. In one sense we could not operate the systems that we do without his innovations.
“The end product of his work is experienced by users day to day. The secondary impact is seen within the team where David’s resourcefulness, technical ability and willingness to help others is seen and experienced daily by his colleagues.
He has reduced the need for students to queue to get passwords and access the IT infrastructure. This in turn has freed up support staff that would normally be required to carry out this work.
As a technical person, he tends not to shout about his work, however the person’s knowledge and dedication are recognised with the team and provide inspiration and encouragement to all.”
The adoption of “smart cards” for staff and students necessitated creating a utility for associating ProSolution records with the new “chip id”, which is needed for both follow-me printing and the forthcoming “gate access” to certain buildings.
Due to no one else working on these aspects and the inherent nature of emerging technology there were substantial technical difficulties to overcome and David’s initiative and work ethic proved equal to the task.
Another utility was created so that during enrolment for full-time learners, a check is made to see if the student currently has a network account; if the account exists it does nothing further, but in an account is not found, the software automatically creates a new network account.
A three-staged unauthorised absence report has also been created which sends a text to individual students at 4.15pm each day, a daily e-mail to Progress Tutors alerting them to the students who have been texted and a weekly summary e-mail, which is sent to Team Leaders and Managers each Friday, alerting them to students who have been unauthorised absent over the previous week.
The benefit of this is to assist with retention by quickly identifying vulnerable learners and with timely intervention improving subsequent success. The trial with Public Services and Leisure Tourism and Catering Team in 2010/2011 showed student attendance rose from 84% to 91%.
David has created several key functions that benefit both learner and college staff, he has removed the need for learners to have to queue in the LRC to register for a new network account as once their network account has been created, a SMS text message is automatically sent to the student’s mobile number with a welcome message including log-in details (username and password).
He has also found ways to extract data from the UCAS website and import this in to Prosolution, the College’s management information system (MIS), so the College has more learner data available at application stage than ever before and this reduces the admin burden in Student Access as they used to manually enter this data from UCAS.
Taking part in the Award Scheme
Entries are open until the 31st May for the 2011/12 scheme.