Saturday, April 11, 2020

A Look at Technology For Remotely Teaching Computer Science

While I do believe that people are the most important part of emergency remote teaching,  technology does have a serious role to play. One key piece of technology that my school is using is virtual machines that students connect to from home over the Internet. This gives them full access to the resources they would have if they were in our physical computer labs. I had our wonderful Director of Technology describe what he set up.

“Essentially what I've done is set up a Windows Server 2019 Remote Desktop Server. I then used VMWare Horizon and created a RDS Server Farm with VMWare and use VMWare security server for the connection broker. This can also be done with Windows Server creating a connection broker, but for me it was easier to use VMware.
No VPN required which was the goal. I configured the server to behave like the students desktops on the computers in our labs. Basically students can log in from any basic device, Windows, Mac, Chromebook and get a Windows 10ish interface that they can work on.”

The extra goodie that I learned to use the other day is the Microsoft Server Manager It looks to be a very powerful tool.  I am pretty sure I don’t want to mess around with it too much. I don’t want t o break what is already working.

The one feature I will be using with students starting on Monday is one that lets me look at and even control student sessions. This should make debugging student issues much easier.  It is still not the same as being there but it’s as good as I’m going to get anytime soon.

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