How 2 campuses share advanced software with students

Remote platform allows arts and engineering students to do hands-on projects from home

College and university tech leaders are providing new ways for remote students to do hands-on work as online learning remains the predominant platform for instruction on most campuses.

When Wayne State University went online this spring, students went home to a wide range of devices—from powerful Macs to Chromebooks.

Not all of those computers could handle the advanced software that fine arts, drama, communications and music students need to work on hands-on projects, says Chris Gilbert, an applications technical analyst at the Detroit institution.

The university expanded its use of the Splashtop platform to allow students to access advanced design applications by logging into campus computers remotely, Gilbert says.

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Students can access the software during scheduled class time. And, the university created a remote computer lab that students can log into any time of day. Students can create designs for instructors to begin fabricating during class, Gilbert adds.

“The students who really want to learn a program can use it as much as they want,” he says.

Remote exams

Portland Community College used Splashtop to solve the problem of having to license or distribute advanced design software to remote students, CIO Michael Northover says.

Northover team has worked with the Oregon college’s academic deans to set up access for students.

The Splashtop platform also lets students collaborate in ways similar to how they work together on campus, says Terry Jolley, the director of client services in information technology.

The college is also using the platform to let students take some certification and placement exams remotely.

“It’s a mechanism for emulating the classroom environment,” Northover says.

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Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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