The Architectural Technology department of the New York City College of Technology (NYCCT) trains students to assist the architect and perform at a high level on design, working drawings and the construction stages of a building project.
Students have access to their own dedicated labs with leading edge computational tools for design computation and digital fabrication. Over 200 machines and workstations are supported by the IT department.
Stop unauthorized access to resources and plagiarism of student’s work
IT recently changed policy to give each student an individual Active Directory account to access any department PC and machine. Each account has a private file storage area to store homework and assignments. With work now not being stored on a shared folder, it limits the risk of work being plagiarized.
However, allocating individual accounts did not completely solve the issue of plagiarism. Forgotten sessions left open on shared workstations meant students were still at risk of accounts being accessed and work plagiarized.
Forgotten sessions also meant non authorized students from other departments could still access and benefit from the departments labs and resources.
Enforcing single session access, a forced logoff after idle time and remote interaction
A solution was needed to avoid forgotten sessions and ensure access is only from the each students own account. Native Windows options were unable to easily help with this so a third party solution was sought.
UserLock was chosen as it offered a unique set of features to control and secure network sessions:
- Sessions should be automatically logged off after a specific idle time. This ability to force a logoff helps protect all shared workstations which are left open by students.
- Simultaneous sessions should be prevented, enforcing students to just one open session at a time. Once connected any access attempts from other machines are automatically blocked. This helps ensure students are more motivated to logoff existing sessions as there is a direct consequence to their own access.
- An option for users to remotely logoff any existing open session helps ensure students aren’t unnecessarily blocked from working due to forgotten sessions left open.
Access to work is secured, resources freed up and time saved for everyone
With forgotten sessions now managed, the IT team is less concerned about plagiarism and intrusive behavior from non-architectural students. Teachers don’t need to constantly remind their students to logoff, which proved in any case, to be wholly ineffective in the past.
With UserLock, administrators can also interact remotely with all sessions (open or locked), direct from the console. This allows them to instantly react and perform corrective actions either by remotely locking, logging off or resetting the appropriate session. This adds huge value to the day to day operation of managing a network of shared machines. The IT Team doesn’t need to keep going to the labs themselves to shut machines.