BIG X ABP Technology - Student IT survey 2020
Built Industry Group leads an initiative in collaboration with ABP Technology group to understand the Student's IT experience within ABP. This feedback enables improvements and strategic planning to develop and provide industry-leading computing facilities and experience for ABP students. Five key subject areas were addressed from the 2020 survey. Read through the sections to see key questions raised in the survey, responses and improvements in the pipeline (or already acted upon).
The faculty should provide software for personal devices. Students raise the issue of access to software packages on their personal devices such as Rhino, Vray or Adobe CC. These companies set the pricing globally for both students and staff; the pricing is outside of the Faculty's control. These packages are made available on our Lab machines. Find the available software here, plus information regarding download and purchasing for personal devices.
The software I need is not installed or available?
Most of the software requested by students is already available on the lab computers. The software is made available based on the Teaching and Learning requirements set by Academic staff. ABP Technology group will investigate installing the software for student use if there is a high student demand for a particular software – this can be made through our feedback form on ABP IT website .
We track the usage of software each semester and remove software that is underutilised to improve hardware performance. Removing unrequired applications significantly improves the login and computer load time.
The software is an old version?
Software will usually be the latest version at the time of install. A specific version may take preference based on the requirements of the teaching staff. As an example; A particular version of SketchUp 2020 was required by teaching staff during 2020.
License issues on the lab machines?
If a software license is expired/not working – students should report this to their Tutor or Subject coordinator immediately OR submit a ticket with Student IT. We will investigate these problems as soon as possible; it is usually a glitch and straight forward to resolve.
Identified software not installed. ArchiCAD Currently looking into making this available. Solidworks Autodesk alternatives are available. Low student demand or not taught in a subject. Lumion Software is not made available for pedagogical reasons. Corel Draw Adobe alternatives are available. Low student demand. BIM360 Autodesk do not provide an education version of this product. Cinema 4D Not requested for 2021. Bluebeam Revu Used by subject for personal device use.
Under investigation for lab usage.
What we are doing:
Item Timeline Identify software requirements in the subject handbook. Required software for the individual subject will be listed in subject handbook from Sem 1, 2022. Upgrading software Sketchup Pro - upgrade scheduled for the start of semester 2, 2021.
There are not enough computers available at peak periods.
Students raise the issue of access to machines. The Faculty has restricted lab access in 2019 to MSD students login only. Equitable access, number and quality of machines around the MSD are constantly reviewed. However, the Faculty are limited in physical space for more computers.
There are many broken/out of order machines.
ABP is working with University Services to develop a better maintenance pattern to ensure computers are in working order during the teaching period. We encourage students to contact Student IT to help report faulty machines.
Computer performance / login time is slow.
It should be noted that University computers utilise a different network technology compared to personal devices. Therefore, the login speed cannot be compared to a personal computer. Once the computers have logged in and loaded, the performance is quite good.
Before every semester, the vDisk is scrutinised to maximise its performance. All our PC have the fastest SSD's available on the market.
Computers are not available due to people taking up multiple computers to Render.
The Faculty is aware of this issue. The Faculty are investigating a new IT policy meaning users will only be able to log onto a single computer at a time. The Render Farm project kicked off in 2020 with initial testing during semester 2, 2020. This service is now available to all students.
The render farm is still in the development phase, so there will be teething problems, but we are actively developing and improving this service.
What we are doing:
Item Timeline Limiting computers to ABP students only Currently active. Only students enrolled in ABP subjects can log in to the MSD computers.
This change was applied Late 2019.
Limiting the number of concurrent logins to a single user Session restrictions are currently under investigation, expected to be implemented second half of Semester 1 2021. ABP Render farm project Render farm is available to students.
Project is still in experimental stage. Testing occurred during 2020.
3. Remote Access
The remote access is not working, is sluggish and/or unusable.
Students and staff have faced access issues or sluggish performance. Connecting to the 'ABP Teaching' or 'ABP Student Labs' connects you to a physical computer in the MSD. The performance is dependent on the user’s internet stability and connection, which varies according to your location and internet service. We have addressed 'Remote Access' with some common questions to improve user expectations.
Unfeasible for large document size handling.
Large documents need to be uploaded and downloaded using the remote computer. Having files saved to OneDrive will enable students to work more efficiently with the remote computer.
Not aware of Citrix / Remote desktop.
For 2021 Remote Desktop is intended for use by students learning online. Students who can come to campus can use physical lab computers.
What we are doing:
Item Timeline Increasing the number of available computers for remote access. The number of virtual machine is increased by 50% in Sem 1 2021. The Faculty continue to investigate and invest in virtual access in coming years. Pop-up messaging to improve the understanding of the behaviour of remote machines Applied in 2020. Cloud file transfer guide A knowledge article will be update to ABP IT website Continued investment into improving the remote desktop service. Investigation active 2021 to 2022.
4. Student engagement
Students have encouraged us to improve our student engagement to improve the knowledge of IT resources and information.
Lack of awareness of personal computer requirements before starting course/subject.
The Faculty has a recommended specification. However, we recognised that the communications at the start of semester / before students start their course is critical. We aim to improve communications on this topic before the start of each semester.
How we aim to improve student outreach / marketing campaigns.
Item Timeline MSD Magic info screens We are currently producing content for Magic Info messages - this will be a key form of communication in 2021 and onward. Advertise ABP IT website in the student newsletter at start of each semester Actioned Sem 1 2021. Student IT link will be embedded in CANVAS CANVAS now includes an IT section with information. Provide more poster information in the labs. Currently producing content.
Action in Sem 1, 2021
5. Facilities and Environment
Students identified issues regarding the computer lab environment.
This included issues in regards to faulty chairs, faulty Mouse or Keyboards, undesirable smells and unclean environment due to food, noise, poor ventilation, poor temperature control, lack of power outlets.
We are working with the ABP Facilities team to address these issues.
What we are doing:
Item Timeline Peripheral refresh Audit of the labs actioned at the start of semester 1, 2021. New peripherals are ordered to replace older devices. No Food or Drink campaign Expected action from Mid semester 1, 2021. Including more regular security sweep. Access ban due to misuse of computer lab / areaA 1 month ban will be implemented restricting access to the computers if students are caught consuming food or drinks. Effective immediately.Expected action from Mid semester 1, 2021.
Some feedback topics we encourage students to provide:
- Problems with specific software in the ABP Labs or Remote Access?
- New or interesting software requests.
- Issues with current hardware specifications (Screen size, type etc...)
- Thoughts on Docking stations in the atrium/hallway areas.
- Are our communications effective? Ideas are invited.
- feedback on environment issues such as chairs, desks, smells, noise etc.
Do you have feedback or a request?
We invite further feedback or requests. Read the Feedback topics section above for suggestions.
IT support type questions should be reported to Student IT.