We’re Piloting a Virtual Computer Lab!

Posted March 20, 2019 by Academic and Institutional Technology
Tags: Department News

We’re Piloting a Virtual Computer Lab!

Effective Date: March 20, 2019

In the Fall Semester of 2018, the Physics and Engineering Department piloted our Virtual Computer Lab and it has been an overall success. 

Using this new technology, students in certain classes now are able to access fully functional PC-based programs through a browser on their devices. The actual Windows program is running remotely on a Windows server and the interface is streamed to the user's device so students can use it without purchasing or downloading software.  “This has been a good solution for us,” says Dr. David Hsu, Assistant Professor of Engineering and Physics.  “We couldn’t have done it without the work and support of Jaime Mejia (IT Support Specialist for the Science Division.)  He’s been updating the apps and interfaces and has been really receptive to our feedback.  His work and partnership have been critical to this pilot’s success.”

Some of the key benefits of the Virtual Computer Lab are these:

  • If we can establish a reliable virtual lab service, the College can reduce the number of lab computers on campus and provide students with convenient access to the software they need.
  • The power and graphics capabilities of the end user's device is not a limitation and has little impact on the overall experience.
  • We can provide students with access to expensive software for coursework.
  • Students can access this software even from off-campus, such as when they are home for Spring Break.

Our next steps are to continue evaluating two different options—the AWS AppStream 2 platform and AppsAnyWhere—to see which is the best option for Wheaton College. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Academic and Institutional Technology at 630.752.4357 (HELP) or by email at ait.service.desk@wheaton.edu