Office of Information Technology Newsletter

Virtual Computing Labs Increase in Popularity

A student working on laptop while projecting

In partnership with the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning (CTRL) and the University Library, a successful pilot of AU's first Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) was implemented last summer. The goal of the pilot was to demonstrate the ability to extend the desktop virtualization implementation, to build and support virtual labs, and to make the lab available to the AU academic community over the campus network and the Internet.

This pilot phase demonstrated the ability to virtualize a lab in support of two graduate SIS classes, allowing face-to-face instruction of the specialized applications used in these classes, as well as an extension of students' use of these applications outside the classroom from any Internet connected device at any time, day or night.

Building upon the success of the initial VCL pilot, OIT, CTRL, and the library have worked to extend the reach of the VCL program. This expansion will support the growing needs of various models of education, including face-to-face, hybrid, and distance learning.

In January, an upgrade was completed for the VCL system, which has resulted in significantly improved performance. The SPSS and STATA statistical software and Microsoft Office productivity suite are available in the VCL environment. The CTRL has tested Microsoft Project and Visio, and plans are underway to make them available through the VCL environment.

If you are a faculty member interested in taking advantage of the VCL environment, please complete the online Faculty Support Request Form.

For more information on the Virtual Computing Labs environment, please contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, e-mail helpdesk@american.edu, or instant messenger at AskAmericanUHelp.


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