Information Technology Services gives students Mac or PC choice
The Messenger 03.19.08
University of Tennessee at Martin students can now choose between Windows and Macintosh in a very direct way.
As a pilot project, Information Technology Services, under the direction of IT system administrators Ken Blankenship and Shannon Null, installed a group of Intel processor based iMac computers in the Paul Meek Library computer lab.
These computers are capable of running the latest operating system releases from both Apple and Microsoft. To showcase that ability, IT Services decided to allow students to select the computing environment of their choice. When the student arrives at the lab, he or she can sit down at one of the iMacs and then click on the picture of Mac or PC from Apple’s popular advertising campaign. The iMac will then load the system of choice, and the student can begin work.
Apple representative Rusty Boozer complimented the campus on this complex and progressive project.
“UT Martin is really on the leading edge on providing solutions to their students that help them learn the way that they want to learn,” he said.
IT services was presented with a unique set of challenges to make the new iMac configuration work as smoothly as students would expect. The final implementation would have to run either Windows Vista Enterprise with the full complement of the standard lab software or OS X Leopard with its own unique set of software. Additionally, all of the normal lab documents and Web site storage locations would have to be presented to the user. Finally, the solution would have to be easily reproduced on almost a dozen workstations now and possibly many more in the future.
As the project began just after the official release of Leopard, shortcomings of both Vista and Leopard provided significant obstacles to progress. Fortunately, software revisions from Apple and Microsoft, in addition to solutions developed in-house, eventually triumphed. The result was a unique opportunity for students to use the best operating systems available for any given project. Students can use the Leopard OS to work on documents, spreadsheets or rich media projects. Alternatively, they can use Vista for documents, spreadsheets or major specific Windows-only software.
“The ability to easily manage the integration into the current lab management infrastructure and the potential growth in deployment in the future was an essential part of the project,” said Shannon Burgin, chief information officer.
MAC, Macintosh, PC, University of Tennessee at Martin, Windows