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Author of the Resource Posted on by Phil Morgan

How does AppsAnywhere and virtualization improve the student experience?

We were recently a finalist for Techworld's EdTech Innovator of the Year at this year's Techies Awards. As part of our entry, the judges asked me an interesting question: How has AppsAnywhere impacted the education industry?

It's a question that got me thinking. And I thought my answer would make a great blog post. Before joining Software2 as Director of Client Services over two years ago, I worked at Lancaster University, where I oversaw the project to improve how university IT delivers software applications to students. This gave me a good first-hand insight in using technology to improve the student experience...

Once upon a time...

Back in 2015 Software2 surveyed 2,500 students across 12 countries. One thing stood out the world over. Students were frustrated at being unable to access software applications. Universities had 100s of apps and 1,000s of PCs, but students had to go to specific rooms at specific times to access specialist software. In the UK, National Student Survey (NSS) scores for ‘access to IT’ were very low.

Already, a number of pioneering Universities were improving the student experience, working with Software2, and using Cloudpaging, a next-generation application virtualization technology, to deploy any app to any PC. Tech admins at educational establishments across the globe stopped scratching their heads and started enjoying their work again. But now 99% of students had a personal laptop, and 91% of respondents said that they expected their University to provide an app store. Software2 took notice...

A new beginning

At the end of 2016, AppsAnywhere was launched. We took our succesful S2Hub product and rebuilt it from the ground up, entirely based on customer feedback from universities and colleges across North America and Europe.

One app store with 12 delivery methods. Enabling IT to deliver specialist academic software to any device, anywhere, including BYO. It didn’t take long for universities to catch-on. By the end of 2017, over 90% of Software2 customers had adopted AppsAnywhere, delivering apps on-demand to 1.5 million students across the world. With more than 5 apps launched every second, it’s hard to imagine how any other product could have achieved such fast customer adoption in a single 12-month period.

By the end of the 2017, 12 delivery methods had doubled to 24. IT departments were no longer locked-in to expensive VDI or legacy app deployment. Now IT are free to choose, combine and easily migrate between multiple app delivery technologies. Of course, one thing remains the same: one app store and only one launch button for the students to click.

Delivering results

With apps delivered through an app store, Windows 10 rollout has rapidly accelerated in the education sector. Staff and students are empowered by self-service on-demand acces, removing the anxiety associated with platform migration and saving IT time. With Cloudpaging virtualization, several Universities (including Lancaster and Durham) deployed Windows 10 less than 12 months after release.

Over the past academic year, UK Universities launching AppsAnywhere (such as Imperial College and Sheffield Hallam University) have seen their National Student Survey results soar by as many as 44 places, and on average, Software2 customers improve their NSS ranking by 10 places over the course of the project. Lancaster University, a fully deployed Software2 site won Times University of the Year.

The student experience is now awesome, and with apps no longer confined to labs, Universities are free to embrace new pedagogical approaches, enabling blended learning, flipped classrooms and distance learning. Labs are fading out, and collaborative spaces where students can use personal devices, yet still work with their specialist apps, are in.

University open days now see IT departments front and centre. No longer just handing out leaflets about Wi-Fi. Students who go to Software2 Universities can access specialist software on their personal laptops, working anywhere they please, on or off-campus.

In the competitive market of student recruitment, one app store is making a big difference.

AppsAnywhere - try it now

If you want to see how AppsAnywhere works, give it a go for free today on our trial site.

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