The Manchester College, one of the largest further education colleges in the UK and a leading provider of 16-19 and adult education in Greater Manchester, offers an unrivalled choice of academic courses and vocational programmes. The Manchester College prides itself on providing a high quality, safe and healthy environment, including its online environment.
Prior to Impero Education Pro, The Manchester College previously utilised some classroom management software. However, due to incompatibilities and difficulties with the virtual desktop infrastructure at The Manchester College, and the need for a proactive monitoring solution to support vulnerable students, the search for an alternative solution began.
Since the IT Operations Manager had previous experience with Impero Education Pro, it was put forward as part of the research. After an initial review of the options, The Manchester College decided to trial Impero Education Pro and soon after purchased the solution.
Due to the nature of The Manchester College environment, resolving the virtual desktop infrastructure and reducing the amount of central processing unit it was using required the help of the Impero support team. Since resolving these issues, The Manchester College has built a true partnership with Impero, working closely during new releases and helping to inform product development.
Since installing Impero Education Pro, The Manchester College has realised a variety of benefits:
Support Prevent Duty and online safety: Using the live thumbnail monitoring and keyword detection features, The Manchester College can detect online dangers including those relating to counter-radicalisation, grooming and other online risks.
Easily monitor computers: Impero Education Pro provides reports on utilisation, identifies usage hotspots and monitors desktop utilisation throughout the day to maximise the use of desktops across 10 sites of The Manchester College.
Saves time: Library staff and teachers are given greater control in the classroom, including resetting passwords. This has helped to reduce inbound requests into the IT service desk, allowing more time to be spent resolving complex and tasking IT issues.
Q&A with Jeremy Harrison, IT Operations Manager
How does Impero Education Pro help keep your students safe online?
Before Impero Education Pro we had no active monitoring in place, but rather, we had to use the normal firewall set up which meant looking at reporting for post-events. We’re really using the online safety functionality; our safeguarding colleagues get an alert when a keyword is triggered and they follow through with that from a safeguarding point of view. It’s definitely made their jobs easier. It’s information rich and gives them the ability to investigate captures without having to be in contact with us (the IT team). Highlighting these issues straight away is such a benefit and allows them to follow their safeguarding policy in line with the captures instantly. Thanks to Impero we’ve been able to identify things of concern and get involved with the situation earlier that usually wouldn’t have been identified until a bit further on – it’s helped us be a lot more proactive in our safeguarding approach.
How does Impero Education Pro help focus learning?
It really helps to focus learning, especially in our learning resource centres, where staff use the live thumbnail views to see the whole room of PCs at a glance. They’ll monitor what the students are accessing, lock their screen and say “you shouldn’t be doing that, you should be doing your work”, and quickly get the student back on track. Our number one disruption is students listening to music so being able to restrict access and block these sites helps keep them focused on the task at hand.
What are your next steps?
The next stage of our rollout is to get more tutors utilising the classroom management features to focus and manage their devices in the classroom. We’re putting some training in place in preparation for September.
How would you describe our support team?
Excellent. It’s a refreshing change to find a supplier that wants to work with us and use our expertise to ensure the features are compatible for a large college like ourselves. It wasn’t just a “there you go, here’s the product” approach like other suppliers, Impero have really created a true partnership with us.
How would you summarise Impero Education Pro?
It’s straightforward and user-friendly, it just works for what we want to do!