The Miguel Hernández University (UMH) of Elche gets on the bandwagon of big cloud computers and has launched a platform that will allow its more than 14,000 students to do internships simply by connecting from their PCs or laptops to a virtual server, without having to go to the classrooms of the campuses that the UMH has distributed from north to south of the province. The academic institution from Elche is strongly committed to this project, as evidenced by the fact that has invested 600,000 euros at. 300,000 euros are for the first part, the one related to student internships, while the other 300,000 are for the initiative in which they are working now to accelerate the teleworking of administration and services personnel (PAS).
“We take care of facilitating the management of software and security. The infrastructure consists of a large server and hard drives, which students and teachers can access without the need for their PCs or laptops to be very powerful, since the power is provided by the server ”, explains the vice-rector of Information technology, Federico Bottle, before adding: “The platform allows us to facilitate the user experience, improve access to technology remotely and enhance the use of ICT.”
The new UMH tool has been dubbed «Virtual Desks for Teaching» and students and teachers can enter it through an identified access. For its implementation, the University has purchased a virtualization computing infrastructure and has the use of UDS Enterprise software, which allows the deployment of remote desktops. By connecting, users will have access to different types of desks, depending on the faculty or school in which they study or teach each degree.
In March of last year, due to the health emergency, the UMH began to teach its classes electronically through the Google Meet tool. The problem that the University encountered was that its students could do their computer practices from home. Faced with the obligation to reduce capacity, the academic institution designed its own app to reserve the physical computers that are in the computer rooms to be able to do the practices. These machines on campus were on 24 hours a day from Monday to Sunday. Thus the 19/20 course ended and the current one began, a problem that has been solved with the investment of 600,000 euros in a large virtual computer in the cloud.
The Office of the Vice President for Information Technologies is currently developing the second part of the project, which will promote teleworking among the PAS. The purpose of the government team is that this new platform is available throughout this year and for its configuration, different city councils of the Madrid community are being taken as reference models. “This will allow us, for example, that three people who cover 24-hour shifts can access from their PC with a single license, unlike now, we need three computers and three licenses,” says Botella.
To develop PAD teleworking, the UMH is replicating the pattern that it has carried out with students and teachers in the practices. «We work with free software and it will be a similar service. Now we are solving problems such as security that allows files with viruses not to enter our cloud, ”concludes the vice-rector.
A project that promotes sustainable development
The initiative guarantees inclusive education, resilient infrastructure and sustainable consumption
Aside from allowing students and teachers to carry out university internships from the cloud without accessing the campus and promoting teleworking carried out by administration and services personnel, the project that the UMH has named “Virtual Desks for Teaching” also encourages the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals promoted by the United Nations.
Specifically, it allows the UMH to contribute to Goal 4 (Ensure inclusive, equitable and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all), Goal 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation ) and Goal 12 (Guarantee sustainable consumption and production patterns). In the latter case, this objective will be achieved by achieving significant energy savings, by promoting a modern and innovative IT infrastructure to achieve quality teaching.
“Our entire community will receive a quality education, as they will be able to access the software and virtual classrooms and we jump on the innovation bandwagon. Before, the computers in the classrooms had to be on all the time, with the energy consumption that this entails, so we reduce our carbon footprint, ”says the vice-rector Federico Botella.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.