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COVID-19 has come with its fair share of obstacles, especially for students. Luckily, for Kent State University students, access to computer software is not one of them.
Students can now access an on-campus computer lab remotely using the Kent State Virtual Private Network (VPN).
“Students are able to log into our computers from anywhere and use them as if they were physically in the building,” Information Technology Team Leader Mark Meszar said. “Each college or department within Kent State University now has the option to set up and manage a remote computer lab if they have a physical one.”
Meszar suggests that students reach out to the college that hosts the computer lab they need. “If I wanted to use the machines in Fashion, I would check with the Fashion School before I just connect,” Meszar said. “They may have enabled it so that only certain people can actually connect to those machines.”
Using a program called Lab Stats, students can log into a remote computer using their kent.edu FlashLine account information. A list of available computers will pop up following the login page.
“This is exactly as if you are working on a campus computer, so the best practice for whenever you're done using one of the public lab computers is to go to ‘Start,’ ‘Power,’ and make sure you're restarting the device,” Meszar said. “If you restart the way that our systems are configured, it's actually wiping that data for you, so you don't have to go through and delete everything manually. It completely erases itself and resets it for a new session.”
The computers available for remote connection are computers that are currently unavailable in the physical labs to ensure social distancing. At the Kent Campus University Library, the general public has access to the computers available in person, but a Kent State ID is needed to connect remotely.
For some software, software.kent.edu offers students downloadable software directly to their computers for either discounted prices or at no cost. The remote computer connection goes a step further by granting access to software a student’s computer may be unable to download or software that is only offered in a specific college’s lab.
Students should talk to advisors within their college to ask about resources available.
“Your advisor can give you the best possible advice as to where to find particular software,” Meszar said. “We can certainly work with a college to get a system set up for them if they don't already have it.”
Kent State recognizes that many students are unable to complete assignments without access to software for their majors, and the ability to access those softwares can make all the difference for students taking remote and online courses due to the pandemic.
“The shift to remote learning has not removed the need for this software, but has made access to it more difficult,” Meszar said. “The implementation of a remote access computer lab has removed that barrier.”
To access remote computer labs, visit https://www.library.kent.edu/remotelab.