Image of St Charles Magellan portal on screen
St Charles is a Catholic Sixth Form College in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, with 1,200 students and 100 staff. It offers A Levels, GCSE’s and also a wide range of vocational courses spanning Art, Business Studies, Childcare, Health & Social Care, ICT, Sport and Travel & Tourism.

This blog post from MIS / IT Manager, Robin Dearing, is the first in a series describing the introduction of Magellan across the college.

“ICT is important across the entire college to both staff and students; from research and presentation of work to teaching & management information systems.  Over the last 5 years St Charles has invested significantly in ICT, and in developing a culture where it is integrated into teaching and learning throughout.

“I have worked with CSE for over 15 years, and they’re always a pleasure to do business with.  They are not your typical “box shifting” company, but one I turn too where I need greater expertise, service and support.  Our account manager, Brian, is good to work with.  Whilst he never claims to be a technical expert, his technical knowledge is pretty good, and where he doesn’t know, he quickly finds out!

“Three years ago we selected CSE as our partner to implement a wireless and BYOD project.  They delivered good value for money, the project was completed to a good standard and on time, and the solution is still working well today.

Need for remote file access

“We undertook a massive project during summer 2014, where we migrated our servers to Windows Server 2012, our Email system from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2013, and re-imaged all our desktop PCs.

“In moving to Exchange 2013, we lost an important feature which Microsoft had removed.  In earlier versions of Exchange, Outlook Web Access allowed users to navigate to their home folders and shared directories via a web browser using the OWA Direct File Access feature.  Staff, particularly, found this feature essential in their lesson planning and preparation, so we had to find an alternative.

“As part of our project planning, I visited the BETT show last year looking for a system that would replace that functionality, and Magellan looked perfect.  I know it does more than that, but the remote file access was the bit I was most interested in.

Bring Your Own Device

“Looking to the future, I am also interested in the BYOD functionality that Magellan offers.  We’ve had a BYOD policy for several years now but the number and range of devices has recently increased significantly.   iPads and Android devices not having the software which is on a PC is a particular issue, and Magellan offers us a solution to this too.

“This need is less urgent though, so I will look to investigate this functionality at some point in the future.

Single Sign On

“The single sign on side of Magellan is especially useful and well designed.  It offers the ability for users to log on once and then access multiple systems without the need to keep entering their username and password again.  From a user point of view it is seamless, and from a technical point of view it is logical and effective.

Easy to use

“My plan is to have a few staff ‘guinea pigs’ who try out the system before the end of this half term, and then by the end of term to roll it out to all the staff. If all goes to plan we can share it with students early in 2015.

“The beauty of Magellan is that it’s very straight forward to use.  I shouldn’t have to create a large user manual or give lots of user training.  I will just give the staff the web address and see how they go.

“I’m hoping to find around fifteen members of staff for the trial, spread across different curriculum areas and hopefully support staff too.

“Watch this post to see what they come back to me and say!”