Virtual Desktops for Education

Noticia, Portada UMH

1 March 2021

The Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH) has launched its new Virtual Desktops for Education platform, where university students and faculty can access a virtual cloud computer via their Authenticated Access. This project began with the purchase of virtualization computer infrastructure (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI) and UDS Enterprise software to display the desktops. When users connect, they gain access to different types of desktops, which vary depending upon the UMH faculty or school responsible for each degree program.

All students and professors will be able to access the teaching software needed for completing the practical portions of classes they are enrolled in and those that they teach. This new VDI infrastructure will enable the UMH to turn off the computers in the computer laboratories that have had to be up and running to provide the remote access; from now on, users will access a virtual teaching desktop directly.

This initiative helps the UMH comply with various Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, these include Goal 4, ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all;’ Goal 9, ‘Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation;’ and Goal 12, ‘Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.’ Promoting modern and innovative computer infrastructure helps provide quality teaching, and the significant energy savings associated with this infrastructure ensure compliance with the latter goal.

The Vice Rectorate for Information Technology has promoted this VDI infrastructure, which is managed by the Service of Technological Innovation & Planning and the Computer Infrastructure Service. This represents the first desktop virtualization project, which will subsequently continue with a second one for telecommuting, which will permit university administrative and services personnel to access university management applications in the coming months.

On March 16, 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the UMH to go completely online, and all in-person classroom activities continued over Google Meet. Then, on April 27, the Virtual Practical Classroom Project of the UMH launched, and this enabled students and their teachers to remotely access an actual computer within a UMH computer laboratory via an Internet connection. These computer laboratories allowed students and faculty to complete the practical portions of their classes online.

Help for access to Virtual Desktops for Education is available to university faculty and students of all degree levels at https://ayudaescritorios.umh.es/. There, users also have access to a channel of YouTube help videos.

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