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Making university software available off-site with the American University of Sharjah

Making university software available off-site American University of Sharjah

Location

Sharjah, UAE

Non-managed devices

5,000+

Technologies used

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In late 2018, The American University of Sharjah’s decided to move toward fully enabling BYOD, a decision which has allowed them to continue to offer all 43 of their undergraduate courses to over 5,000 students remotely. During 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic, this continuity of service has helped to maintain a fantastic student experience and preserve business revenue.

Starting with an AppsAnywhere proof of concept with integrated application virtualization solution, Cloudpaging, AUS quickly went site-wide and initiated a POC with another of AppsAnywhere’s integrations, VDI/RDSH solution, Parallels RAS. Knowing that many of their student user-base were equipped with their own capable hardware, the American University of Sharjah wanted to leverage this hardware and access the associated benefits.

With a high proportion of international students and a student body comprised of over 90 nationalities, many of which travel frequently and may return to their homes overseas between semesters. Enabling BYOD and delivering software to students in their homes helps to provide a stellar student experience and facilitate distance learning, which is imperative in disruptive times.

What were the goals prior to AppsAnywhere?

The American University of Sharjah had identified a need to update its software delivery tools to better provide for students' needs. Students wanted to use university software past the opening times of university computer labs and software access areas, as well as finding it limiting to have to vacate specific labs when classes were scheduled. In addition to this, AUS wanted to provide software to graduate students living in other UAE cities. ​Having previously used Microsoft App-V in an effort to achieve this goal, it was found that heavyweight software such as engineering applications weren't possible to deliver in this way.

What we have been looking for is a solution to manage our software, making it available anywhere, anytime for our students.

Aerial view of American University of Sharjah campus

These use cases for AppsAnywhere are common and we see many universities looking to serve their students' needs in this way. Graduate students or students conducting projects and study in different locations require the same access to software as when they're on campus, and they expect this to be provided by the university. Without this access, students may not have enough time with their course software to achieve the grades they're otherwise capable of. By extension, this can negatively affect university ratings, retention-rate, overall enrolment, and consequently, revenue.

Similarly, if access to computer labs and software resources is limited by university teaching schedules, or it not being viable to keep facilities open 24/7, students are limited when it comes to how, where and when they study. It is unsurprising that many students may choose to work until later or start earlier, whether it's because of the time they have available to them for free study, or simply because they feel they learn and work better at certain times. Without the option to choose their potential m,ay be stifled, affecting the results they can achieve.


Read more about how the American University of Sharjah credit AppsAnywhere for being able to continue delivering software and teaching during the COVID19 pandemic:

American University of Sharjah leads the way by learning together >


Using AppsAnywhere to leverage student-owned hardware

AppsAnywhere's context detection permits intelligent and dynamic delivery of software. AUS was able to take a logical approach to provisioning rules so the most appropriate delivery technology is automatically selected and then used to deploy software depending on the end-users current context. This makes delivering to non-managed hardware completely reliable and parallel to delivering to managed hardware in terms of student-experience.

It's been a pleasure to work with AUS over the last two years. As a front runner in the use of AppsAnywhere in the region it is encouraging to see the solutions and vision we have been working on over the last 10 years have made such a difference in these unforeseen circumstances.

Tony Austick, Software2 president and co-founder

What are the benefits of AppsAnywhere BYOD?

Making use of student-owned hardware allows IT to reduce specialist labs and therefore, the university’s hardware investments. This reduces direct spend on hardware as well as many other supporting costs, such as time spent setting up and maintaining this hardware. There will also likely be a reduction in the reliance on imaging; image building and deployment are some of the most time-consuming areas of software delivery. IT's time and budget are freed up and may be redirected to strategic projects.

Allowing students to work on their own machine, to their own schedule, and on their own terms enables them to work where they work best and with the systems they are most familiar with. Not only does this provide the best possible experience for students, digitally and otherwise, but it also increases how efficiently they can work and helps to maximize their potential, grade-wise. Better grades lead to better retention and enrolment, which allows the university to earn more revenue and continue to improve its offering.


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Enable remote study and distance learning with AppsAnywhere

Read more about enabling distance learning and remote study by delivering software to your students, wherever they are, whenever they need it with AppsAnywhere BYOD.

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