WWU Improves Computer Technology

William Woods University has improved computer access for students
by installing virtual computers in labs across campus.

Jim Long, director of University Information Technologies,
said, “Virtual computers in labs allow us to deliver a better product to
students and really make computing on campus a lot easier.”
 
In addition to making computer access more convenient, the
new setup saves the university thousands of dollars in update and operating
costs.
 
In May the UIT department installed 68 thin client devices on
campus. A thin client is a computer that depends on its server to fulfill its
traditional computational roles. Using thin clients eliminates the bulk of
memory, CPU and a hard drive on individual lab devices. The thin clients allow
users to virtually access any lab software and its programs from another lab on
campus.
 
The new system will save the university about $4,000 annually
in power and electricity. Using thin clients cuts repair and operating costs to
approximately one-tenth of the old system.
 
UIT also upgraded the Internet from a 20 MB connection to a
100 MB connection, significantly improving the speed of downloading, web
browsing, gaming and watching videos online. A portion of the Internet capability
is reserved for faculty members, which is useful in the classroom for showing
videos and uploading presentations.
 
The technology William Woods has installed is competitive
with larger universities across the country and will serve as a base for future
extensions and improvements.
 
“The updates we did in this regard were primarily for the lab
infrastructure,” Long said. “The goal was to provide a better lab experience to
the students and make it more convenient. Now that we have finished this part
of the upgrade, we have the infrastructure to do more in coming semesters.”


He added, “We are one of three universities in the state
deploying virtual labs at this level, so it puts us on the forefront of
technology developments.”
 
In other technology news, the Help Desk has expanded its
hours and will now be open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. The Help Desk also has opened a
free repair service for personal computers of on-campus WWU faculty and staff. Long
said this was done for several reasons:

  •   To
    provide a service to the faculty and staff. If this goes well, we would like to
    extend this service to students,
  •   To
    take advantage of the “down time” for work-study students and give them more
    constructive things to do. This makes them more valuable to the university and
  •       
    To
    provide more training for the students and give them additional working
    knowledge within IT.

 
“We believe this will help them with skills beyond the
university (like critical thinking and problem solving) and improve their
resume,” Long said.



CUTLINE:
Steven Goodson, network & telecommunications administrator