Digital Technology Services (DTS) are pleased to announce the introduction of a laptop loan service for students, known as LapSafe.
Addressing the issue: Digital Poverty
A student survey from Reading’s Student Union in 2021 highlighted that 70% of students thought that their laptop/computer had negatively impacted on their learning with 13% of those students stating they had no regular access to computers at all.
A suitable computer is necessary to access learning material in Blackboard, to access core teaching software, to participate in blended learning, and to enable students to study flexibly on campus, in halls of residence, in the library, study spaces, lecture theatres, seminar rooms and even from home.
“Digital poverty has created inequalities in the learning experience and ultimately the learning outcomes of some of our students which must be addressed to ensure they have equal opportunities to succeed.”
Our aim is to provide an easy to access, centrally located laptop loan service to give all students access to a consistent and reliable device to positively contribute to their learning.
What is LapSafe?
Using a grant from the Office for Students, we have purchased 100 laptops for short term loans to students. We have also purchased 96 lockers, which are specifically designed for this type of laptop loan service. Laptops can be loaned and returned 24×7 (or at least while the Library is open) using these lockers.
We are calling this loan service “Lapsafe”, after the lockers.
Click to enlarge photo
The LapSafe lockers are self service lockers (similar to Amazon or Evri lockers). Each locker contains a laptop which is fully charged and ready to be used.
Students use their student Campus Card to log in to the console screen and then follow instructions to request or return a loan.
How to borrow a laptop from the LapSafe lockers
There is a bank of “hot desks” set up in the Library that the loan laptops can be plugged into. There is no restriction where you can use it. The LapSafe laptop can be taken out of the Library to a lecture or Halls, or off campus if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can use them?
Any student with a valid UoR Campus Card. You will need a student Campus Card to be able to take out a loan laptop. This is in addition to the hardship or disability laptop loans.
Staff who need to borrow a laptop should contact DTS.
How long are they loaned for?
Laptops are loaned on a first come, first served basis, and can be loaned for up to 8 hours at a time (or until the battery runs out). If you need it for longer, return and borrow a new one.
One laptop is allowed per student card.
What is the spec of the devices?
We’ve chosen a higher spec Windows 10 device which all current curriculum software will run on. All devices are Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (i7/16GB/256GB) laptop, with a Type Cover keyboard.
Where are they?
Lockers can be found in Whiteknights Library – on the first, second and third floors. By having them in the Library, students can take advantage of the IT Service Desk counter located on the first floor if they have any issues.
When are they available?
The lockers are available now!
There will be a marketing campaign aimed at students and full launch in October. In the meantime, we hope that students will make use of the laptop loan service during the summer so we can iron out any issues before the beginning of the new academic year.
What is in the future?
We’ll monitor how the lockers in the Library are used, which will give us an indication of how we can best utilise them. We are considering:
- A longer loan period (which will need us to supply chargers)
- Incorporating the laptop loan app into the student app, so you can reserve a laptop for collection without having to go to the Library
- Situating lockers in other parts of the University (e.g. London Road, Earley Gate)
Plus anything else that comes up once the lockers are in use.
You can find full instructions (as well as the terms and conditions) on our dedicated webpage.
Information specifically aimed at students is on this Essentials webpage.
If you have any questions or need any further information, please contact DTS.