The purpose of Aspire Tech is simple; to ensure that students based off campus can have full access to University services, learning and teaching and to the University community.
Covid-19 and the challenge of transition to remote learning
Universities across the UK are adapting swiftly in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak with campus closures forcing a sudden shift to online learning and teaching.
The role played by learner platforms, VLE’s, software providers and communications tools has taken on increased significance as Universities transition from face-to-face to remote engagement with current and incoming students.
One barrier to making a successful transition for students is access to an appropriate connected device to enable positive engagement with learning and teaching, accessing University services and messaging and interacting with classmates and the University community.
One recent study* found that roughly 20% of students have trouble with basic technology needs. They have capped data plans, they do not own a viable device or their device breaks, some are not suitable or their connections fail. These issues disproportionately affect students coming from low income households, and this can be a contributing factor to higher drop-out rates.
*Technology Problems and Student Achievement Gaps : click here
Aspire Tech: Response
Responding to this, JS Group has introduced Aspire Tech to provide:
- Access to a wide range of mobile devices and operating systems.
Working with manufacturers and UK distributors, we can offer a range of laptops, Chromebooks and tablets that are particularly suited to student requirements at a number of price points.
- Pre-configured device distribution and management.
For Universities looking to deliver specific models or operating systems of devices JS Group provide an end-to-end solution involving:
- End to end project management of device rollout
- Future proofed device options
- Efficient deployment and secure asset management
- Cost savings
- Device delivery and scheme marketing
JS Group has been delivering large scale pre-configured tablet devices to students, alongside partners including Samsung and Getech UK since 2014. Tablets have been designed, built and delivered at Universities including UEL, Worcester, Brunel and University College Birmingham.
- Equipment loan.
Purchasing devices is not always the optimal solution and it is good to have the flexibility of a loan service at hand when needed. JS Group can manage a loan service from delivery to devices to their return and can ensure that data is securely removed.
- Mobile data top-up service.
Whilst many students do not have access to suitably connected devices, a wider problem can be lack of online access and a reliance on pay as you go services. Aspire Tech offers universities a quick and simple way to top up data for students when necessary.
- Tailored warranty and insurance cover that is designed for the student life-cycle.
Aspire Tech – providing specified equipment and services or supporting student choice?
We recognise that for many universities providing specific and specified equipment and services will be the preferred way to support their students and Aspire Tech is designed to deliver this service.
Some universities, however, will want to enable student choice of device and services and we can manage this approach as well with the Aspire Engage bursary solution.
By adopting the Aspire platform Universities are able to re-route existing bursary funds towards the provisioning of devices to students whom require them, delivered direct to students and managed end-to-end by JS Group. Aspire Engage funds can be ring-fenced for spend on devices, be that on specific devices or format, or left open-ended to include access to a wide range of equipment and other learning resources.
Aspire Tech – providing the best project management and after sale support
Each of our Aspire Tech projects will have an assigned project manager, and typically we will install one of our Engagement Partners at partner Universities to ensure we are providing “on the ground” support and guidance, and to ensure we are clearly hearing the student voice.
Aspire Tech is fully scalable and we have delivered configured and managed devices to small intersectional groups (e.g. Care Leavers at Brunel) all the way up to full University provisions (e.g. University of East London).
To find out more about Aspire Connect(Ed)
Please contact David Marshall