VCL Best Practices


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Presented at an Office of Faculty Excellence workshop, this talk describes background and best practices for incorporating East Carolina University's Virtual Computing Lab into instructional experiences.

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VCL Best Practices

  1. 1. VCL Best practices<br />Lee Toderick, Department of Technology Systems (<br />Tony Miller, ITCS (<br />
  2. 2. Topics Covered<br />VCL Definitions<br />Apache VCL Details<br />Citrix VCL Details<br />Incorporating VCL into Courses<br />Conclusion and Questions<br />
  3. 3. Virtual Computing Lab<br />Providing computing resources without traditional physical lab space<br />
  4. 4. Benefits<br />Increases availability to 24/7<br />Reduces dependence on student owned equipment and software<br />Removes requirement to be on campus<br />Increases equivalence of D/E and on-campus student experience<br />Controls access to software for only actively enrolled terms <br />
  5. 5. ECU VCL Options<br />Option 1 – Apache VCL<br />Presented by Lee Toderick<br />Option 2 – Citrix VCL<br />Presented by Tony Miller<br />
  6. 6. Apache VCL<br />Reserved computers at your command<br />
  7. 7. Apache VCL Overview<br />Reference:<br />
  8. 8. Apache VCL Features<br />Reservations for an entire computer are made for now or future date<br />Reserved computers are delivered in initial “known good” state<br />Students have admin control of computer during their session<br />Reservations that expire cause computer to reload<br />
  9. 9. Apache VCL Features<br />Faculty can request one time or repeating scheduled reservations for their class<br />Reduces wait time and allows class to begin work right away<br />
  10. 10. Apache VCL Features<br />Because Apache VCL reserved computers are trusted ECU machines, students can access network resources not otherwise available<br />Ex: Apache VCL reserved computers can directly access Pirate Drive<br />
  11. 11. Apache VCL Labs (several)<br />
  12. 12. Apache VCL Lab NSF/HP Grant<br />
  13. 13. Apache VCL Statistics<br />Data collected August 24, 2010 – March 18, 2011<br />
  14. 14. Apache VCL Computer Access<br />Reservation for Microsoft Windows<br />Use an RDP Client to show remote desktop<br />(Optional: Use a VNC Client to access remote desktop)<br />Reservation for Linux<br />Use an SSH Client to access remote command line<br />Use a VNC Client to access remote desktop<br />All clients are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile devices<br />
  15. 15. Apache VCL File Saving<br />Reservation for Microsoft Windows<br />User can access Pirate Drive as U: drive using desktop application<br />Reservation for Linux<br />User can mount Pirate Drive into their current file system<br />
  16. 16. Apache VCL File Submission<br />Send files as e-mail attachments<br />Set Pirate Drive permissions to allow faculty to view files<br />Use faculty designated persistent storage<br />Use reserved computer’s web browser to upload to Blackboard / Moodle<br />**New for ICTN4800, Fall 2010- student-initiated automated grading and feedback!<br />
  17. 17. Apache VCL Persistent Storage<br />Faculty can request additional storage for their classes<br />Faculty control their space and can create their own folder structure and file permissions<br />
  18. 18. Citrix VCL<br />Individual Applications Delivered On Demand<br />
  19. 19. Citrix VCL Features<br />Users use web browser with plugin to access Citrix VCL portal<br />Users choose application and click link to activate<br />Citrix web plugin is used to deliver application to users<br />
  20. 20. Citrix VCL Features<br />Web plugin is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile devices<br />Web plugin allows access to local computer storage (if user desires)<br />Web plugin allows access to local printers<br />
  21. 21. Citrix VCL Features<br />Because Citrix VCL servers are trusted ECU machines, students can access network resources not otherwise available<br />Ex: Microsoft SQL Server instance<br />
  22. 22. Citrix VCL Statistics<br />Data collected August 24, 2010 – March 18, 2011<br />
  23. 23. Citrix VCL File Saving<br />Citrix web plugin prompts for access to local disks<br />Servers have Pirate Drive automatically available<br />
  24. 24. Citrix VCL File Submission<br />Local files -> No different than usual submission policy <br />
  25. 25. Incorporating VCL into courses<br />What Now?<br />
  26. 26. VCL Integration Steps<br />Determine software package information<br />Obtain software<br />Determine audience restriction (if any)<br />Make VCL software request<br />Test software in VCL<br />Prepare course specific instructions<br />
  27. 27. Determine Package Information<br />Operating system requirements<br />Vendor information<br />Software license information<br />Free? / Commercial?<br />Not all software vendors allow virtualized software<br />ITCS assists with licensing details<br />
  28. 28. Obtain Software<br />Need to provide media or files to ITCS VCL team<br />Freely downloadable software only requires a pointer to download method<br />
  29. 29. Determine Audience Restriction<br />Individual student(s)?<br />One section?<br />One course?<br />One department?<br />One college?<br />No restriction - easiest<br />
  30. 30. Make VCL Software Request<br />Choose one of:<br />E-mail with proposed software<br />Submit a Virtual Computing Lab Image request via<br />
  31. 31. VCL Documentation<br />Detailed information<br />Apache VCL<br />Citrix VCL<br />Printable Adobe Acrobat documents<br />Via ITCS Learning Center<br />
  32. 32. VCL Resources<br />VCL web site<br /><br />VCL e-mail<br /><br />IT Help Desk<br /><br />
  33. 33. Checklist for Help E-mail / Ticket<br />What VCL am I using?<br />What operating system am I using?<br />What web browser am I using?<br />What software / image am I using?<br />What am I trying to do?<br />
  34. 34. Course Repetition<br />VCL software remains in place unless removal requested<br />
  35. 35. Conclusion and Questions<br />VCL / Citrix is EXTREMELY flexible!<br />ITCS support team is responsive (sense of urgency)!<br />Labs are scalable from a few students to a hundred students!<br /> QUESTIONS???<br />
  36. 36. Contact Information<br />Lee Toderick (<br />Tony Miller (<br />