Ameren Corporation is among the nation’s largest investor-owned utility companies and is the parent holding company of Ameren Illinois and Ameren Missouri. Currently Ameren employs approximately 8,500 individuals and provides energy services to approximately 2.4 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers. Their service area covers nearly 64,000 square miles in Illinois and Missouri. Ameren generates its electricity using a variety of sources including coal, gas, solar, and nuclear power.
Michele Waller is the Senior Training Supervisor for the Instructional Systems Development at Ameren’s Callaway Energy Center. Among her many tasks, she is responsible for all aspects of accreditation, administration, and initial and continuing training for her site’s location. Ms. Waller coordinates the instructor curriculum and the oversight training committee at the Callaway site as well.
“For instructional purposes, the training department at the nuclear facility wanted an alternative method of utilizing media and PowerPoint in the classroom,” says Ms. Waller. Ameren found that SoftLINK classroom management software met these goals and provided much more. It makes sense that they came to Applied Computer Systems, Inc. (ACS) to help them solve their problem. ACS had already been working with the Callaway site for more than a decade. ACS originally installed a hardware LINK System at the site in 1996 which was fully functional up to the uninstall date of 2006, the year Callaway decided to migrate over to SoftLINK. ACS has specialized in classroom management solutions since the early 1980’s and has become a preferred source for hardware and software computer class management products.
Another obstacle faced was the scope of the site’s training staff. “Callaway has approximately 35 instructors who are constantly faced with providing new and creative methods of presentation.” The solution that Ameren chose needed to be intuitive and easy to learn, two of SoftLINK’s key selling points.
SOFTLINK CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT SOLUTION
SoftLINK fits right in to Ameren’s media rich training environment. During the daily training sessions, instructors typically broadcast their presentation directly to the student screens. Not only does this provide the optimum viewing experience for the students but it also prevents anyone from straying from the subject matter. “Keeping students involved in the presentation and making sure they are at the same point as the instructor” is key states Ms. Waller.
Often enough, instructors get frustrated knowing that the students are checking their email, looking at social media sites, or playing games while they are in class. Ms. Waller tells us that SoftLINK has eliminated those worries. “Instructors can maintain control of student computers during presentations and ensure that students are on track.”
SoftLINK also provides instructors with the ability to block any application that exists on a workstation and the ability to block any number of websites or the web entirely. “The added benefit of controlling the access to other software or websites while in class” is invaluable. The first and foremost goal is to keep the students on task and on the topic at hand.
In addition to the exceptional features that are found in SoftLINK, ACS also provides toll-free support for all of their products. Whenever an instructor has a question, they can simply call or email the customer support agents at ACS and they receive precise and prompt answers. Ms. Waller says that “ACS is very helpful when dealing with questions and issues” that may arise.
Applied Computer Systems, Inc. offers free, live, online demonstrations of SoftLINK. A full featured 30-day trial is also available for download. SoftLINK is used in computer classrooms to effectively enhance the teaching and learning process. It improves retention rates and keeps students on task.