New Technical Help: Making life easier for UCC students and staff

Published by Savannah Peterson on

A classroom on campus at UCC
Photo by Savannah Peterson / The Mainstream

New Technical Help: Making life easier for UCC students and staff

Substantial student and staff resources will be coming to help make remote learning easier.

UCC has been informed that funds will be available from the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). These funds should be over $3.5 million.

From the HEERF money, UCC will offer just over 100 laptops to students, allowing studies to occur remotely. However, the laptops are first come first serve. Since UCC has roughly 782 full-time students and nearly 1400 part-time students, those needing these resources will likely have to sign up for one soon.

Graphic provided by Tim Hill, Director of Information Technology

Director of Information Technology Tim Hill  also made it possible for students to access UCC labs from home. “Almost any PC at home, whether that is a laptop, desktop or Mac can connect to UCC computers and use our technology using virtual desktop infrastructure,” Hill said. This VDI opens up a new level of technology for UCC.

Students in courses that require specialized software like engineering, forestry or media and classes that require a gaming or specialized computer will have access to this from home. “We have put that software on certain machines and introduced them in the cloud so students can remotely connect to them and use the software that we have to do their schoolwork without having to buy a gaming computer or the software, which is not cheap,” Hill said. 

To better understand the VDI, if a student needs to use a software, such as Microsoft Word, but they do not have it or powerful enough equipment, they can access that through the internet and a UCC PC instead of locally on the user device. 

“You have the power as if you had a big PC there at your desk, sitting in front of you,” Hill said. 

No application or software installed in the user’s computer is necessary in order for the VDI to work. Students only need their device and UCC’s username and password. 

The VDI connects the student’s local device to the UCC cloud. “Any computer you go to, it is available to you,” Hill said.   

When a student logs into a device and uses UCC’s VDI, they must save any work onto their local computer or their student Google Drive because once the student logs out of the VDI, all information and work is automatically erased, according to Hill.

A classroom at UCC playing recorded video while also showing over Zoom
Photo by Savanah Peterson / The Mainstream

There is a possibility that students will be unable to use the VDI for an extended period of time in one sitting since only 300 of UCC’s 2,152 students will be able to use the general VDI concurrently. 

In addition, there are 50 more VDI slots available specifically to engineering students that can be used concurrently. Staff and faculty will have their own personal cloud once the system is fully operational. 

“We want students to feel that they are getting just as much assistance through these pandemic funds coming in as teachers,” Hill said.

The CARES Act money also provided funding for the school to have “smart” classrooms, “We brought in audio and video so an instructor can record their lecture, and a person can be remote or in the classroom, which can (later) perform hybrid,” Hill said. “I want to make sure when we are spending money, we are not just thinking about today but also tomorrow. We think about how we can position ourselves to help our community up and beyond.”

To help students and staff in the future, Hill said, “My goal is we go to where you (students) are at; you do not have to come to us.” 


The open sign for UCC’s library computer lab
Photo by Savannah Peterson / The Mainstream

UCC is still offering other services that have been available previously. Jennifer Lantrip, UCC reference librarian, said, “We still do have print book checkout, which is the books on the library shelf, but you do it through the library search box.”

Lantrip explained reserved textbooks and calculus calculators are also still available to students: “The textbooks are available for three days at a time. We do not carry textbooks for all classes. You can see a list of textbooks that we do have on reserve. We also have interlibrary loans available for articles and books that we do not have; students and staff can request them for free.”

Marie Gambill, UCC success center coordinator, said, “(The success center) offers tutors for most students. We have a tutor that is helping in the anatomy and physiology course; we have a tutor that is working in CIS courses; we have a few tutors who are there for the basic classes like basic math, basic writing and psychology, and we have one tutor getting ready to help in music.” 

UCC is working to create better resources for students and staff. “I am trying to close gaps and improve our retention by giving people tools that will help them succeed,” Hill said. 

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