Remote access to powerful workstation computing is the new campus model for reducing cost and improving capital utilization. Some call it “Private Cloud Computing”. I call it a great way to make students happy and help them learn more…
Emil Henry, manager of information systems, College of Engineering and Computer Science, California State University, Northridge, California, knows this first hand. He is behind the CSUN deployment of workstations with “Remote Graphics Software” (RGS). This includes a free “viewer” that allows students from across a campus network access workstation sessions without having to walk down to “the computer lab” at inopportune hours. RGS gives them that high-performance remote-desktop access “just like local” feel.
Better yet, students can do workstation-powered tasks from a lowly, low-powered laptop.
This seems to me to be the best of many worlds:
- Students can use the computers they came to school with; they don’t have to buy a workstation
- Students can have the convenience of 24x7 access to workstations without being limited to “lab hours”
- Extend the availability to online students, and now there’s no excuse whatsoever – all students can do CAD or modeling when they need to! Talk about leveling the playing field for lower income students.
- Colleges and universities no longer have to dedicate lab space (workstations can be located in an IT facility, not a precious and classroom
- Workstations are more highly utilized, reducing the number you may need to purchase
My HP workstation colleagues captured this in a terrific case study about CSUN. You can download the case study PDF – but let me point out some of my favorite quotes from Emil:
“Students love it. They can run a high-end CAD application from home and do everything the HP workstation is capable of—even if they’re working from a slow, outdated PC.”
“… It’s helping students who wouldn’t be able to complete their projects otherwise, and it’s helping us stretch our budget.”
Congratulations to Emil and the CSUN team!
Jim Vanides, B.S.M.E, M.Ed.
Education Program Manager
HP Office of Global Social Innovation