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Wireless Networks Thread, Student remote access....groan! in Technical; I have asked by the leadership team to enable students to remotely access their work from home. I am looking ...
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    Student remote access....groan!

    I have asked by the leadership team to enable students to remotely access their work from home.

    I am looking at using a terminal server so that I can have complete control over it but I have investigated Ranger outpost etc.

    Does anybody have any advise or experiences they could share with me on how they did it and with what.

    Thanks in anticipation............

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    Well firstly you'll need co-operation from your RBC. Without their blessing this will go nowhere fast. That said, a few obvious options spring to mind:

    1) Citrix. Either natively or over https.
    2) Webfolders/WebDAV over https.
    3) Sharepoint.
    4) A VLE, Moodle or similar.

    Option 1 costs money (especially licensing) and will be fiddly if you don't have existing Citrix infrastructure but it'll be the nicest experience for end users. You'll need a spare server for this.

    Option 2 requires your file server to run IIS. You have to be really careful about security with this one. Webfolders on XP can be a little troublesome too sometimes.

    Option 3 easy, pay microsoft money and it works. You get lots of other fun stuff thrown in too. Plus it looks pretty. Extra hardware will probably be required. End users need to remember to store things in sharepoint.

    Option 4 variable, depends how good you are with LAMP servers (if you use Moodle) or expensive (if you go with a 3rd party proprietry VLE). Gets you on the VLE bandwagon. You'll need spare hardware. End users need to remember to upload things. You'll have to train teachers on how to use the VLE efficently too.

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    also check Suns tarrentella server - cheaper option than Citrix to run over TS.
    Also FreeNX is good for *nix and can run rdp sessions.

    We've gone for a mixture of Moodle and Citrix - as we have a thin client network in school anyway

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    What sort of access do they need? To my (albeit untrained in the education/RA side of things) eye it seems overkill to provide RDP or such - i'd go for a VPN (l2tp or similar, not too hard to set up) and then a fileshare, or one of these web filesharing thingies - just so they can get to the work, and not software/etc.

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    If you just need remote file access I'd recommend filesurfer from precedence
    http://www.precedence.co.uk/products/filesurfer/

    If your teachers set homework that requires proprietry applications then you'll need to go for a web access/terminal server solution - you'll discriminate against poorer families if you require them to buy windows/ms office and all the other apps that you run.

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    Wow, thanks for the replies.

    We've tried the VLE route and it's not working, teachers don't like it as they say it's complcated to maintain??

    We want to give the students access to applications such as MS office and shared data stored on the network, this would we feel do away with the need for a 'VLE'.

    I think the whole VLE thing is getting a bit elitist really and I have tried to point this out at every meeting I've attended.

    We conducted a survey and 17% of our students don't even have a pc at home!

    Looks like the Citrix route for me........

    Thanks

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    So then whatever you do will discriminate against that 17% I don't see having a vle as an elitest thing as they can be relatively simple to setup and maintain I think the problem with them is the same as a website or anything else the teaching staff won't maintain them so it comes back to techs.

    Allowing pupils to run apps ala citrix or whatever is going to invlove more cost and time on your behalf than just allowing access to files.

    You don't need them to have office installed to open word and excel documents etc... they can use openoffice.

    Any setup on your behalf is going to require your RBC opening ports up on your router and their firewalls for this access. Have you asked them if they allready have any sort of remote access product?

    Ben

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    You could also look at sslexplorer the community version is a bit more difficult to setup now as things have moved on from the previous version and the enterprise version costs.

    http://www.sshtools.com/showSslExplorerCommunity.do

    Ben

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    @plexer: See your with me in the Keep It Simple camp Have used sslexplorer - it's good kit. Met the guys behind it at InfoSec a few years back, and can vouch for them being "nice lads" as well

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    Thanks again, I've just had a quick look at the sslexplorer and it looks good.

    It certainly would fit in with my 'keep it simple' ethos, one question though to you experienced users:

    How secure is it??

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    @tom_newton

    VPN and students no!!!

    It's bad enough extending the network boundary to staff homes (Win9x anyone?) but student bedrooms or cyber cafes. Yikes! That's just asking for trouble.

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    Cowman: It's an ssl enabled web based vpn solution that uses active directory to authorise your users.

    I'd say it's secure enough.

    Ben

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    Tell me about NetwrokGeezer, unfortunately I've been asked about this, given advise on it. Now I've been 'asked' to provide it.

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    Point taken Plexer, the thought of students having remote access makes me twitch in unnatural ways!

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    Re: Student remote access....groan!

    Quote Originally Posted by plexer
    Cowman: It's an ssl enabled web based vpn solution that uses active directory to authorise your users.

    I'd say it's secure enough.

    Ben
    All that authentication and tunnelling won't help you if the client has already been botted.

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