It’s 11p.m. On the CSUN campus, or in a dining room somewhere in Los Angeles, students are getting into the groove of a semester well underway. Projects are coming fast and furious for students trying to juggle school and work or family. However, some use computer programs that make Word or Excel pale in comparison. They go by names like the SPSS Amos or Adobe Creative Suite, and most are prohibitively expensive. Unfortunately, the computer labs can’t stay open 24/7 to give all students access to these key components of their work. But thanks to the school’s IT Division, it doesn’t have to.
This year, the students have full access to all the software they need, free of charge, via the school’s internal Virtual Software Library, or VSL. Brought to life by Chris Olsen, senior director of Infrastructure Services in the IT Division, this portal allows any student with an internet connection to run the software on their computer through the school’s internal systems, essentially allowing every student a level playing field.
“It would be unrealistic for some of us who have jobs and other obligations to come out to campus every day,” says graduate student Sarah Luery. “It’s handy to have (the VSL) at our fingertips wherever we are able to do work.” For Olsen, it’s been a gratifying experience that has allowed him help students like Luery reach their full potential.
“Hearing stories of students who could not afford to buy the software in a class,” he said, “or who could not get to campus because their life was challenging, and then hearing that this software really improved their coursework, that was very gratifying.”
For more: Anywhere, Anytime Software Access for Students: Virtual Software Library (VSL) [Digital Stories]