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Meet Anna and other tech upgrades across campus

Technical upgrades, new computers and improved software, have been installed across campus following feedback from students in surveys such as the National Student Survey (NSS). These upgrades will support students with their studies and help staff support students.

PC upgrades

All 4000 student facing PCs, 1000 laptops and 3000 desktops have been upgraded to provide the latest version of Windows 10. 800 new Chromebooks, which is the largest the University has deployed, have been purchased for Institute of Criminal Justice Studies (ICJS) students for their course.

There are 10 laptop lockers around campus for students to borrow laptops for studying and these will also eventually be available in the University Learning Centre (ULC) on Winston Churchill Avenue and other new sites as they open up.

PCs will significantly improve in performance and log in times will be reduced due to the roll out of Solid State Drives (SSDs) over the next three years across the University.

Free software

Students can get Office 365 for free by completing an online form and downloading the desktop version on up to five PCs or Macs, or use the web-based version for mobile or tablet. This can be renewed for free on a four yearly basis as long as you are a current University student. Students studying a Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM) course will also have access to VMware and IBM products.

Chatbot to help you with your queries

You may have noticed Anna, our new Chatbot, on the Information Services website or on IT related articles on MyPort. Anna is available 24/7 and is here to help you with your queries and learn from your interactions so that she can provide better support.

Virtual Assistants like Anna are designed to help reduce the level of enquiries while improving the service and flow of information for staff and students. It can respond automatically to popular requests and issues such as how to connect to the wireless network, where to find timetables and how to download software. Since implementing this new feature live chat enquiries have reduced by 50% and there has been a significant positive impact on the tech assistance available. Service Status functionality has also been integrated to provide messages on upcoming maintenance.

You can find Anna on any IT related MyPort article on the bottom right corner of the web page.

Teaching room upgrades

Over the summer £500,000 was spent upgrading audio visual systems in around 35 classrooms, equipping them with a PC, projector, large display panel, visualiser, hearing induction loop, speakers and DVD player, along with an upgraded laser projector which is now standard across the University. These projectors are an improvement over the lamp based ones as they feature quick start up, use lower energy consumption, can change image brightness and require little or no maintenance.

The ULC on Winston Churchill Avenue has also installed new audio visual equipment as well as a new 80 seater PC lab to provide a large IT teaching facility. The Future Technology Centre (FTC) next to Portland Building also has a new 50 seat PC suite for students to use.

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