Student Blog Feed

Equipment Suppliers

Equipment Suppliers

What can a student expect from best practice?

  • To be treated in a professional and respectful manner;
  • Equipment is in good working order and is fit for purpose;
  • Warranties and insurance policy are clearly explained;
  • Items are delivered in reasonable time, with clear advice about delays or issues; 
  • Sound advice regarding the impact of any changes of specification on the functionality;
  • timed and dated appointment where the following can take place at the same time: 
    • Equipment delivery: with an inventory before student signs to confirm that items have been delivered; 
    • Set up:- ensure that all equipment is fully operational and ready for use, without delays for the student or prospective training provision; 
    • Familiarisation session: a brief overview of each piece of assistive equipment and software, as well as explanation of warranties and insurance policy. 

After Sales Support

Prompt and relevant advice regarding after-sales queries;

Helpful, infomative and prompt response to calls for technical support.

Equipment supplier to maintain direct responsiblity for after sales support, including to employ directly ie not out-source service) technicians who perform: 

  • on site repairs; 
  • on site software support; 
  • remote support both for hardware and software;

Visual Impairment

When working with Blind/VI best practice is imperative, and average, mediocre or OK delivery can ultimately mean failure for the user of any solution. A failure for a blind or VI user WILL have a material impact on their day to day life.

Best Practice is driven from the very start of the process -  understanding the need.  Too often the solution is driven from a template or from the experience / expertise of the assessor. This can be a starting point but solutions must be tailored to meet the specific profile and needs of the student concerned.

So, Best practice has to begin with a sound understanding of the disability and how it manifests itself in the life of the person:

  • What the limitations are;
  • Whether there is a knock on effect on stamina, concentration, motivation.

With regard to the design and delivery of technology solutions in DSA, the raises the question of whether the student be overwhelmed with too much technology, frustrated by a solution that requires a change to the learning process or is just too cumbersome to be carried around.

Best Practice in the solution design process also includes trying solutions to determine the right components and also gaining some experience of how the Student will benefit from each. It is important to have a good understanding of the actual data and  applications that the student will work with. 

A commonly missed part of the design process is the gaining of an understanding of the context in which the solution will operate. Too often there is too much equipment for the space available or wired components selected that cannot be placed close enough together in the student accommodation – wireless equipment means equipment can be located in a different place, even room and still be operational.

Best Practice design is about having an integrated solution – minimal overlap in functionality,  fewest new things to learn, and a building block approach.

Best Practice in the build process is all about making sure that the solution will work out of the box. It means testing the solution in the workshop and configuring each component to meet the need.

Best Practice means asking the question if there are crucial variables that should be determined before the solution leaves the workshop -  for example, voice files in assistive software programmes often clash  - certain voices and profiles must be removed or customised to ensure that programmes will work together. For Blind / VI, software and even hardware should be labelled or even Brailled and instructions or start up files placed so that this is the first thing out of the box. Imagine a Blind person sitting in the middle of the floor with the average 19 components that makes up a DSA solution, with no knowledge of what is in the box, how to get it started or who to call for help.

However well the first part of the process is carried out, Best Practice is mostly about the way in which the solution is trained and supported once in the hands of the Student. A solution that is properly designed to meet the need, well built and configured, working straight out of the box means that the engagement during set up, familiarisation and training is straightforward and focussed to meet a defined academic need. It means that the Student can immediately begin the process of focussing on the course instead of worrying about how different parts work or where their files are located. The quicker that value is derived, the quicker the Student makes progress. The opposite is also true. A poorly designed solution, badly built and configured introduces stress and worry and then a lack of confidence in the team providing the assessment or support process. It diverts the attention form the learning process into a quest to make sure that everything is going to be ok. Here, Best Practice requires patience and listening. A student must have confidence in the support process, that it is capable, experienced and above all CARES about  meeting their needs. It means going the extra mile, often making an investment of time and sometimes money in ensuring that the solution is fit for purpose. It might mean that the solution must be changed to meet a need that was not articulated or understood. Best Practice means feeding that learning back from the Support team, through to the solution design team ( assessor) in order to build the knowledge at the crucial start phase of the process.

Best Practice requires each person in the process to think about what they are doing and why and how that action will meet the defined need. Today, more than ever, with the focus on reduced time and reduced cost delivering Best Practice requires commitment and belief that it is more important to achieve the right end result than to simply comply with targets or be content with ticking boxes. In the end Best Practice shines through; however many times it is done, it is always original, never an immitation.