It seems like obtaining and using all kinds of software has just gotten easier and easier. You can access an online version of Microsoft Office from your browser in seconds, powerful photo editing and other art tools are accessible in an instant from your PC or even your phone, and storage and processing of large files can simply be taken care of in the cloud. However, some software is still not as simple as we would like.
That’s where the IT Help Desk comes in. There are still many program installations for course requirements that are either lengthy, complicated, finicky, or all of the above. Starting in January 2017, the IT Help Desk began a student software installation service to assist with these difficult programs to make sure students have what they need for classes. The work began by streamlining and automating the installation processes as much as possible. The biggest success on this front was for installing SAS, the industry-standard statistical software. SAS used to take up to six hours to install on the average machine. With the new procedures, the process has been reduced to two hours!
The next step was implementing an appointment and management system to ensure that student computers were taken care of in a safe and efficient manner. The IT Help Desk currently has the capacity to install software for up to 18 students per day. Now, a student can simply make an appointment, drop off their device at the IT Help Desk in Fondren Library West, and then pick up and receive an overview on how to use their new software just a bit later!
This installation service even provides assistance with installing and setting up VirtualBox virtual machines for Macs that allow Windows software to run alongside Mac software. This is especially handy for those programs and program add-ons that just won’t play nice with a Mac, like Microsoft Office Specialist certification practice exams, Power BI, etc. Julianna Teixeira, our IT Help Desk student team lead, says “We are happy to provide a smooth installation service to enable students to access the software they need regardless of their operating system!”
Nearly 1,000 students have already gotten help with software installs since the service’s start! If you need help with installing software on your computer for class, go ahead and learn more and even schedule an appointment at smu.edu/studentinstalls.