Loughborough University boasts an unrivalled sporting achievement and was ranked an impressive 14th out of 119 institutions by the Guardian University Guide 2014. The university is renowned for its excellent community atmosphere; for offering a host of extra-curricular activities and societies; and for its first-rate sports facilities.
Computer-aided design (CAD) applications are commonplace in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Loughborough University. Previously, the department had LanSchool in place but discovered that this solution failed to work with CAD applications; when tutors attempted to broadcast a demonstration to student screens, LanSchool proved technically incapable, only able to display a black screen.
Eager to find a solution that fulfilled the department’s broadcasting requirements, a google search was executed and several solutions, including Impero and NetSupport, were found. Although a demo copy of each potential software solution was acquired, it was Impero’s ability to deliver a webinar demonstration, along with a helpful sales consultant to explain the wide functionality (plus a 30 day free trial), which saw Impero’s solution viewed as the favourable option. Education Pro also proved far more responsive and performed faster than the previous product in place, allowing broadcasting to dual monitors.
Impero Education Pro was installed with ease, initially just across the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering but later in IT suites across the campus. Some effort was required to understand how the server worked and, with several classrooms spread over one area, the university experienced occasional issues with the wrong group of machines being selected by teaching staff. This has now been configured so staff can only see machines in the room where they are logged in. The university’s IT team now provide a technical sheet to describe the software’s functionality to staff and also hold local training courses. All issues were resolved quickly by Impero’s technical support team and the university describes Impero’s service and response as “great” and “much better than some of the other companies”.
Loughborough University’s School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering has realised several benefits since implementing Education Pro.
improves communication – with fast screen broadcasting enabling clear demonstrations, teachers can effectively explain concepts and tasks.
improves productivity – live thumbnail view of student screens and the ability to lock screens helps keep students focused and on task.
saves time – better control over the digital classroom helps teachers to make the most of their teaching time and draw the best work from their students.
Q&A with Robb Doyle, University Teacher & Technical Manager
how has Impero helped to improve communication?
Improving communication helps to improve the education we provide our students. Prior to Education Pro, I used a data projector for CAD application demonstrations, but this was unclear and students at the back of the room struggled to see. Demonstrations of CAD applications are vital to show fine detail. With Education Pro, students have a better understanding of the broader concept and a vivid view. This means the less obvious questions are already answered, so work is produced more quickly.
which features have you found particularly beneficial?
We expect our students to behave in a mature and professional manner, so we tend to use the software at a very low level. I find the block screen functionality really useful to focus students’ attention back to me, eradicating online distractions. The live thumbnail view helps me to spot an area where students are making a common mistake; I can then clarify the right way. It’s also really useful for me to monitor the most used software, so I can ensure we have the correct supplies.
what are the next steps?
We are looking to implement Education Pro on an even larger scale, university-wide. Teaching staff have seen the benefits of the software and are eager to adopt this in their own schools. We expect to roll this out in the summer!
how would you sum up Impero?