Oklahoma City University is a coeducational, urban private university located in Oklahoma City. The university offers a wide variety of degrees in the liberal arts and sciences disciplines, and is the only Oklahoma institution listed in the top tier of the regional, master’s-level university category by U.S. News and World Report magazine. It is also listed in America’s Best Christian Colleges & 100 Best College Buys.
The university has more than 2,100 undergraduate students and 1,700 graduate students. Helping these students reach their academic goals are 550 faculty and staff members, of which 20 are IT personnel. “We have a total of 251 public computers spread across 16 computer labs,” says Ernesto Chávez, Manager of Instructional Technologies and Media Services at Oklahoma City University. “We also have 82 computers located in classrooms.” As the Manager of Instructional Technologies, it is Ernesto and his team’s responsibility to ensure the classroom and computer lab workstations are kept up and running for student and faculty use.
Like many educational institutions, Oklahoma City University invested a significant amount of money into ensuring students had access to the latest computer technology and software. But many of the staff felt that merely placing a computer in front of a student does not necessarily lead to an enhanced and more effective learning environment. In fact, computers often served as a distraction to students in the classroom since they could easily be tempted away from classroom activities by distractions such as games, instant messaging, or the Internet.
“We recognized that placing computers into the classroom was a great way to connect students with the outside world, but it did little to connect students with each other or to the instructor. There was no way for our instructors to communicate with our students in the classroom other than visiting each computer station,” says Mr. Chávez.
The Solution They Found
Ernesto and his team started looking for a better way to do things and came across Faronics Insight, a centralized instructor management software that empowers instructors with total control of classroom computers and student attention. He says, “We’ve been using Faronics Deep Freeze to keep our computers running trouble-free for a couple of years now, and love it.” Faronics Deep Freeze has virtually eliminated workstation damage and downtime at Oklahoma City University by making their computer configurations indestructible. Any changes made to the computers by students are never permanent, which means computers always startup in the clean and fully-functional state that they were deployed in.
Lewis and Clark Community College is a two-year community college located in Godfrey, Illinois, approximately 30 miles north of St. Louis. As a leading educational institution in southern Illinois with an annual enrollment of more than 12,000 students, Lewis and Clark Community College prepares students for four-year colleges and universities. The college also serves the community by offering comprehensive educational opportunities and rich cultural experiences.
Lewis and Clark has approximately 2,000 workstations deployed campus wide across twenty-eight computer labs. Supporting this information technology infrastructure are six IT personnel, two of whom are Denise Erwin and Princess Baehler. Both are Computer Support Specialists at Lewis & Clark, and are responsible for maintaining all computer hardware, software, and peripherals. They also provide help desk support via email and phone, and are responsible for sourcing out new hardware and software products to meet the needs of the college. One day, while searching for Deep Freeze updates on Faronics’ website, Denise came across Faronics’ classroom technology management software, Insight. After reviewing Insight with Princess, they both knew they had found the solution to the problems the technology instructors were battling.
“Before we started using Insight, we faced numerous problems in our computer labs,” says Mary Lou Watson, an Internet Course Technician and Part-Time Instructor at Lewis & Clark Community College. ”As instructors, we constantly endured student mouse click activity while trying to teach the class. Instead of paying attention to the course material, students were surfing the Internet.”
When the use of the Internet was required as part of the curriculum, instructors also faced difficulties. “Having all the students in the class open their browsers and visit a particular page on a website sounds simple enough, but as with many things it’s easier said then done,” says Georgia Voils, another Internet Course Technician at Lewis & Clark Community College. “Whether it was having the students open a website and then navigate through to the required page, or try and have them type in a complex URL, both left too much room for error and confusion. It was very frustrating for instructors to have limited class time wasted on trivial matters such as this.”
Insight Delivers Total Classroom Control To Teachers
After the IT personnel and instructors at Lewis and Clark Community College evaluated Insight, they knew it was the solution they needed. The decision was made to deploy Insight in every computer lab—approximately 2,000 computers across campus.
Faronics Insight enabled the instructors of Lewis and Clark Community College to harness the educational and productive aspects of their computers while minimizing classroom distractions. Teachers now had the ability to share their screen with students, provide remote assistance to students from a central console, and monitor classroom screens to ensure students are on task. Students also appreciated the benefits of Insight—they could request and receive help directly in their workstation session, and have their voice heard
confidentially through computer-based classroom voting. Whenever instructors needed to capture student attention quickly, they could do so by disabling application and Internet access, or by blanking student screens.