Teaching, Learning & Technology
Sharing best practices from faculty around the world who are using technology to transform teaching and learning.

Workstation Power from Anywhere on Campus – CSUN Case Study

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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CAD application from home and do everything the HP workstation is capable of—even if they’re working from a slow, outdated PC.”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

Follow me on Twitter @jgvanides


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About the Author
Jim Vanides is responsible for the vision, strategy, design, and implementation of education technology innovation initiatives. His focus is...
About the Author(s)
  • A former K-12 district administrator and adjunct professor of communication, Elliott has won over 60 state and national awards in school public relations, is a past columnist for Electronic School, School Administrator and American School Boards Journal, and has been interviewed for many leading educational publications. Recently, Elliott helped developed models for personal learning, which in testing increased successful completion of algebra from 33% to 71% versus traditional classroom instruction. His work is featured by HP at www.hp.com/makeitmatter
  • I am part of the HP Calculator team, working on the HP Prime graphing calculator. I taught mathematics for 20 years and have extensive experience in the professional development of teachers of mathematics. My area of interest is mathematics education; specifically, how technology affects the teaching and learning of mathematics.
  • Jim Vanides is responsible for the vision, strategy, design, and implementation of education technology innovation initiatives. His focus is the effective use of technology to create powerful learning experiences that help students around the world succeed. He has been instrumental in launching over 1200 primary, secondary, and higher education projects in 41 countries, including the HP Catalyst Initiative - a 15-country network of 60+ education organizations exploring innovations in STEM(+) learning and teaching. In addition to his work at HP, Jim teaches an online course for Montana State University on the Science of Sound, a masters-level, conceptual physics course for teachers in grades 5 through 8. Jim’s past work at HP has included engineering design, engineering management, and program management in R&D, Manufacturing, and Business Development. He holds a BS in Engineering and a MA in Education, both from Stanford University.
  • Mike is a passionate education advocate dedicated to helping schools design, build and deliver solutions that solve the complex instructional challenges that face K12 leaders every day. Mike is interested in working with individuals and organizations that share the same level of commitment to improving Instructional outcomes with and through the use of technology

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