Scottish College System Adopts Virtual Desktop for Construction Students

A five-campus college in Scotland has distributed a new virtual desktop for its construction students, to allow them to work on industry-grade software from home. The platform is being used by Fife College's "Built Environment" program, which encompasses design, construction and management of human-made structures, including building services, construction, furniture making and interior design.

The new desktop lets students run high-end programs such as Autodesk, Vectorworks, Rhinoceros 3D and the Adobe Creative Cloud from remote locations on nearly any device connected to the internet. Traditionally, these kinds of applications require faster, specialized processors and more RAM than traditional office productivity programs. The faculty began its hunt for a solution when COVID restrictions were put in place, forcing the learning to happen at home.

"The new virtual desktop for our built environment and interior design students is a great example of student-centered innovation and collaboration within the college, and I have to thank our digital team for listening to our proposition then enabling this," said Marc Fleming, academic and quality manager for the faculty of Engineering, Science, Technology and Built Environment, in a statement. "Our virtual desktop will ensure learners' needs are met regardless of the circumstances, and it makes a strong statement towards eradicating digital exclusion in the region. Without the introduction of the new desktop, students may have had to spend a lot of money on a high-spec laptop to run these programs from home. Being able to access these programs remotely, without having to install anything either now gives all students greater flexibility in terms of how they engage with their studies."

"This new and exciting platform is great for inclusivity. Being able to access such lucrative software will be hugely beneficial to my progression in my education to become an architect," added Rachael Livingstone, an architectural technology student. "Not having to worry about buying a pricey high spec laptop will be less of a strain on finances that have already been hit hard due to these unprecedented times."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.