Martín was one of the experts invited to the panel “Remote Education”, where he explained how they helped Mondragon Unibertsitatea to implement its online education project based on virtual desktops with UDS Enterprise during the lockdown period.
The Faculty of Engineering of this university wanted to simplify the management of its computer classrooms. The software required by its 2,500 students is quite complex to install and administer, involves a significant graphical computational load, and has a specific licensing system. The Lanmedia Technology Manager explained that they proposed to solve this problem “with a virtual desktops and applications solution managed by the Open Source-based broker UDS Enterprise. For the computational part, we suggested a Nutanix hyperconvergence platform with the AHV hypervisor based on Open Source and GPU cards for graphic computing.”
The pilot began in February and the lockdown due to Covid-19 precipitated its real implementation in record time. The students and teachers of this educational center could access the full software catalog of the faculty at any time, from any place and device through a hyperconverged VDI platform.
The inherent functionalities of UDS Enterprise allowed the project to be expanded beyond virtualization to solve other challenges imposed by the lockdown. Certain students needed to use the computers located in the campus from their homes. With UDS Enterprise they were able to provide remote access to these devices.
In addition, the IT department of the university had to implement remote working for all staff urgently. Thanks to UDS Enterprise, they managed to ensure that the work flow was not affected by the impediment of physically staying in the facilities.
After presenting this interesting case study, Aitor Martín intervened in the debate about remote education. He commented that one of the greatest added values of Open Source technologies in Education is “the freedom they provide to choose, improve and share“. An open technology provides total flexibility to choose the rest of the components when, for example, designing a VDI architecture, since by nature it will be compatible with third-party technologies or can be easily integrated. As an example, Martín mentioned the integration of UDS Enterprise with Moodle developed by the University of Málaga in collaboration with the Virtual Cable team.
Regarding the challenges educational organizations are facing in the current situation, the Lanmedia Technology Manager pointed to distance learning and blended learning as the main handicaps. “Educational organizations must ensure that all of their students have access to the software they need to carry out their studies as usual, as if they were in the campus. In most cases, this is a great challenge, since there are applications that, due to licensing issues or due to having very demanding computing requirements, cannot be installed on the students’ computers”. Aitor Martín advised the choice of UDS Enterprise as the key technology to face all these challenges.
When analyzing the differences between distance and remote education, he explained that from Lanmedia they think that such a distinction should not be made. They have found that the educational centers that have already been committed to allowing their students to enjoy the advantages of the latest technologies have been the ones that have adapted to this new situation the fastest and most easily. “The best thing is not to think about an emergency solution, but to implement an efficient technology that becomes one of the pillars of the IT strategy of educational organizations,” he said.
Likewise, he stressed the importance of designing an IT strategy that solves current challenges but continues to be useful in the medium and long term. “The key is to make the most of the advantages of the selected technologies,” he said.
Following the same line, he pointed out that the urgency in which emergency solutions have had to be adopted “has led to hasty decisions. Now is the time to analyze the technological solutions implemented and develop a strategy to be able to get them most out of all the tools available for online education.”
For more information, you can see the full debate in the following video in Spanish: