Upgrade Enhances Software Access

Jan 14, 2021

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure will allow students to access certain programs from any device and location.

Working on laptop

When spring semester classes begin Jan. 25, Cal U students will have easier access to the software they need for selected courses thanks to a solution provided by University Technology Services. 

Using technology called Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), the software will be housed on a remote server rather than on individual computers, meaning it can be accessed from any personal device from anywhere. 

It is a timely upgrade as the University returns to some in-person classes while continuing to offer remote learning and online instruction for spring. 

“Once a faculty member requests access to the software for their course, we add it to the VDI,” said Dennis Carson, director of Technology Infrastructure and Information Security. “There is no need to visit an on-campus computer lab for that particular software.

“Because the processing is done on the server, users won’t face any issues with system requirements that prevent them from installing or running the software.” 

Dr. Pratibha Menon, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, Information Systems and Engineering Technology, has requested VDI access for her Application Programming II course. 

“There were challenges in the fall in the Programming I class as students tried to run the software at home,” she said. “By letting students access the required software through a VDI, we can focus on instruction and learning.” 

Dr. David Argent, a professor in the Department of Biology, Geology and Environmental Sciences, said the “anywhere access” helps as the University plans spring operations with social distancing measures in place on campus and many classes being taught virtually. 

“I’m going to use RAMAS EcoLab in my Animal Population Dynamics class,” he said. “My students will have direct access to software used to complete each lab, and I will be able to socially distance from home. Cal U has a site license for the program, so students won’t have to purchase the software. It’s a win-win.” 

“We’ve been working to improve the online experience, even before the pandemic,” Carson said. “This will be a huge benefit to the campus community.”