What do you do when students arrive with their laptops?

Here are two problem statements I heard from a college recently:

Our staff and students expectations are rising – they expect us to provide them all with a laptop and we simply can’t afford it.

We have a problem that students (and staff) arrive on campus with their own laptops, and are expecting to connect them to our network.

Those statements were from the same college, and were separated by about 10 seconds. And it seemed to me that No.2 was part of the answer to No.1

If you could enable students and staff to connect their own laptops, then you’d have a proportion of users happy and connected, and the number of students who would expect/need a college provided device would fall – perhaps to a manageable level?

There’s no doubts that there are increasing expectations from students about the connectivity and services you’ll offer them through your ICT services (I read that Nottingham University are just about to experiment with WiMax), and if it isn’t already, it’s likely to end up on your IT development plan.

I write all of this because, whilst searching for something else, I came across the La Trobe University case study from Australia, where they have implemented Network Access Protection, a feature of Windows Server 2008, to detect and manage the health of systems connecting to their network – including Windows, Linux and Apple computers. If you’re interested in the subject, you may want to read their case study, or better still, watch the video

You can read their full case study here, and read more about Network Access Protection (NAP) here

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