No Computer Labs? No Problem: Introducing FDU Anywhere

By Nancy Sanchez-Diaz

Entertainment Editor

Starting for the fall semester, FDU will be offering a new platform for students to remotely access many of the software applications typically found in our Computer labs, as detailed in the FDU Tech Alert that was sent out Thursday, Aug. 13 to students and staff.  

Students will be able to access the following software via FDU Anywhere:

  • MatLab
  • SPSS
  • SAS (Not available for Vancouver) 
  • Adobe Cloud Suite
  • AutoDesk Suite
  • Office Suite
  • Maple
  • MS Visual Studios

Like the computer labs, the new platform will operate on a limited basis. 

Seats in FDU Anywhere aren’t always guaranteed and students are encouraged to wait and try again in a few minutes until a new space clears, according to the FDU Tech Alert. 

Because of anticipated wait time, they are also encouraged to log in ahead of time. 

“FDU Anywhere will provide students the flexibility to access University-licensed software anywhere they want, any time they want, regardless of whether our computer labs are open or not,” Stuart Alper, the university director, said via email to The Equinox. “With regards to the pandemic, it will provide the ability for students to work directly with their class instructors where the software is taught as part of the curriculum.” 

There will be on-site sources to guide students through each software. 

“We will have a section on the website for FDU Anywhere, where we will have instructions on how to access the application and where to store your documents,” Alper said.

Students can sign in as they normally would at the computer labs, using their FDU NetID and password. When they are done using a particular software, it is recommended that they log out to prevent traffic. 

Alper noted that the idea of a virtual desktop was in the works long before the pandemic hit. 

“Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has been on the IT roadmap for a few years, and we had already spent a bit of time researching the different types of VDI platforms,” said Alper. “When the pandemic hit, our focus moderately intensified. Then the summer came, and with the realization that the fall semester would bring limited capacity in the computer labs at a minimum, we went into hyperdrive.”

The service will be powered by Apporto, a virtualization tool that allows apps and virtual desktops to be delivered via web browser. 

“Given the intensely short period of time we had to implement, and what we identified as the services our student body needed, Apporto was at the top of a short list,” Alper said. 

While FDU Anywhere will allow students to directly save their files within the desktop system, it’s always ideal to save them to a OneDrive account as a backup method, according to the FDU Tech Alert. 

Software updates and a follow-up Tech Alert are still to come. 

“We will update the site as more software becomes available, and what open source sites can be accessed, so students should check it out a few times a semester,” Alper said. 

FDU Anywhere can be found here

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Art by Amaya Morales