It might not seem instantly obvious, but as businesses are having to transform in response to employee and customer demands, education institutions are having to do likewise. Students are demanding anytime access to the internal network and the applications it hosts. They also want to be able to do so on the device of their choosing so they can work at times and places best suited to their needs.
For universities, schools and colleges, enabling remote learning delivers many benefits: increased student satisfaction, an ability to attract a wider pool of students – important in a country the size of Australia and accommodating the increase in people returning to education during their careers – to name but a few. Encouragingly, education institutions are realising this, and upgrading IT infrastructures to accommodate it.
A leading example comes from Australia, with Deakin University becoming the first university in regional Victoria to adopt a cloud based IT strategy to satisfy the demands of its 53,000 strong student body.
Speaking about the project, Deakin University’s Director of ICT Infrastructure Services, Craig Warren, told me:
While life on campus and high-quality computer labs create a complete university experience for many of our students, we wanted to ensure our on-site infrastructure wasn’t limiting for others and appreciate our students adhere to different lifestyles and study styles. To meet these diverse needs, we wanted a digital environment that enhanced – rather than remodelled – our existing offerings to help drive uninterrupted productivity for our students.
To meet this requirement Deakin deployed a virtual environment built on Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp, providing students and staff with remote access to more than 80 mission-critical applications.
To accommodate the growing number of devices accessing its internal network, the use of Citrix NetScaler was a crucial component of the project. Deakin deployed Citrix NetScaler to optimise network performance and ensure its smooth running and delivery of the universal applications.
Working with Citrix to build our cloud campus has allowed us to remove fixed barriers and bolster our ‘Deakin Anywhere’ mission. In doing so, we’ve revolutionised the learning and experience for all students and staff, who are all happier and more productive.
Deakin’s openness to embracing new technologies that enhance the student experience go beyond cloud. Just last month the institution announced it plans to use augmented reality as a teaching tool in its medicine and engineering classes later this year, while video conferencing in lectures and new methods of machine and hologram learning is on the horizon.
As new technologies enter the classroom and students demand remote access to tools and applications enhancing their learning experiences, Citrix expertise in guiding businesses on similar transformations will be invaluable. Classrooms as we once knew them will be unrecognisable in just a handful of years, and I’m excited by Citrix role in making them a reality – be it virtual, augmented or physical.
Deakin University’s roll-out of Citrix technologies commenced in October 2015 with support from Melbourne-based partner Thomas Duryea Consulting, and was available to students by March 2016.