California Polytechnic State University is located in the Central Coast of California in San Luis Obispo. It is a top-ranked public university in Engineering, Aerospace, and Architecture, striving to have students learn both practical and theoretical aspects of their education. Notable graduates include Robert Gibson, NASA astronaut and shuttle commander; Burt Rutan, designer of SpaceShipOne; Richard Bergquist, Founder of PeopleSoft; and legendary tunesmith “Weird Al” Yankovic.
College of Architecture and Environmental Design
The College of Architecture and Environmental Design takes a “learn by doing” approach. The school was ranked third in the undergraduate programs in the 2012 Design Intelligence survey, ranking public and private degree programs nationally. It ranked especially high in construction methods and materials, sustainable design practices and principles, cross-disciplinary teamwork, analysis and planning, and computer applications. They place a high priority on providing the best tools for students to accomplish their learning: classes are mixed with both applied and theoretical-based learning. The curriculum requires proficiency in various architectural software programs that may run on only one platform, so students need easy access to both Mac and Windows.
Instructor and Student Choice
In addition to their open labs, the College of Architecture and Environmental Design provides computers in the classrooms. The standardized iMac hardware runs both Windows and OS X, providing educators and students a choice when selecting the best computing environment for their curriculum. The dual-boot environment allows the instructor to focus on the correct software application rather than what operating system to run in the classroom or lab they have been assigned.
With these additional options, instructors and students need the ability to quickly and easily select the appropriate computing environment. The relevant information should be available when needed to avoid wasting valuable class time. Boot Runner was deployed to facilitate smooth implementation of the dual-boot classroom.
Boot Runner’s selection screen provides students and instructors with the ability to focus on the tools required to complete the instructional goals. When students enter a lab or a classroom for the first time, they find a selection screen designed to immerse them in the instructional material immediately. Before using Boot Runner, lab assistant Tammy James instructed students on how to select different operating systems and what applications are available. They now use Boot Runner to allow the students to choose. “The students and faculty who have worked in the ARCH lab love it,” said Tammy.
IT uses the capability of Boot Runner keep the dual-boot machines up and running; Boot Runner also allows them to keep track of student usage of each operating system, to help with planning and budgeting.