Virtual desktops give students access to courses anytime, anywhere
Schoolcraft College

Virtual desktops give students remote access to courses

Challenge

Integrate ERP database with virtual desktops

Results
  • Gave students remote access to specialized software
  • Freed professors to focus on instruction rather than troubleshooting technology
  • Increased efficiencies and cost savings for IT staff

Schoolcraft College supports distance learning with Ellucian Ethos

Schoolcraft College virtualized 70 computer labs on campus to evolve their institution from traditional face-to-face classrooms to distance-learning environments.

To provide access off campus, the computers needed to be able to identify specific students and the virtual desktops to which they were entitled. This required accessing data from the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system about which classes students were enrolled in and entitling them to a virtual desktop based on that data.

Schoolcraft College used Ellucian Ethos to pull that information from the ERP into the Ethos data model where VMware, the digital workspace, could sort through the data and provide the correct virtual desktops for each student. This integration provides students with virtual capabilities across different platforms and different environments.

With this modernization, access to all class offerings for every student, no matter their socio-economic level, has been equalized. Students no longer have to purchase expensive laptops and tablets. They can log-in from any location—whether that be from home or their favorite coffee shop—from any device and be granted access to the same desktop that the computers on campus provide.

All the computing and graphical processing happens in the data center and is made available through any device. By doing so, Schoolcraft College has eliminated a barrier to education, implementing virtual desktop systems with special computing software and hardware that are accessible from remote locations anytime.

Professors no longer spend time helping students troubleshoot software installations or problems on their personal devices because they’re using the virtual desktops. And the IT team is able to move computer labs across campus within an hour to accommodate the needs of professors, increasing efficiencies.

The ability for any student, no matter what device they might happen to have, or what their home life or situation might be, in terms of getting to campus—it has really changed the game.

Patrick Turner, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Schoolcraft College