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bwLehrpool via remote access

Please note: Development for remote access to bwLehrpool is ongoing. While the software is already stable and usable, it is in beta stadium. We are grateful for feedback. Please note the limitations mentioned below.
If you are interested we offer evaluation accounts for testing the remote solution using the system of Freiburg university. If so, please drop a note to bwlehrpool@hs-offenburg.de

Preface

Due to the current situation (Corona/Covid crisis) most universities are barred to public traffic and their computer pools are closed. Many lecturers therefore relocate their lectures into the web after recording them on video. But for practical work students are missing their accustomed learning environments in form of the software normally provided in computer pools. Installing this software on student's computers is often not possible due to license constraints, missing installation packets, or often just lacking configuration skills.

As the bwLehrpool client computers are usable, but not reachable for students, a possibility was developed to access these unused computers via a simple web browser remote from everywhere. This was achieved using Apache Guacamole1), which works as a kind of VNC-proxy/gateway. Users are connected to pool compuers via this gateway. Display and input works simply via an HTML5 capable web browser, for which neither especially capable hardware is required nor any previous software installation.

Usage

Requirements

Besides an HTML5-capable browser as eg. Firefox, Opera, Edge, Chromium or Apple Safari just a reasonably fast internet access is necessary.

URL, Login, choice of romm

The URL needed for accessing bwLehrpool-remote is different for every university. Please ask local support if in doubt. Javascript is required; watch out for javascript blocking browser extensions like NoScript.



After entering the web adress (URL)

you see in your browser window the login to bwLehrpool-remote analog to the picture at the right. Enter your user credentials and click “Anmelden”.

Login problems can be caused by the web interface handling special characters contained in your password differently. Hint: Enter your password resp. doubtful special characters into the user name box. (do not send!).


After Login

you will perhaps find several rooms. There may be a difference in selectable software environments for each room due to bwLehrpool's ability of showing different environments. Remember that if you do not find your accustomed environment; ask your lecturer which room you should chose if in doubt.

Attention: Adjust at this step the dimensions of your browser window to the size you want!

Your display may vary from the adjacent example, as each university/institution offers different rooms.


Freely accessible rooms

Mark the room you wanted per single left click and press “Weiter”.


Rooms secured by password

Some rooms may be locked by password. In that case mark the room in question, enter the password and click on “Weiter”.

This possibility could be used to restrict access to some software which is severely limited by license agreements.


Choosing the environment

Further operation just as usual - just as if you were locally present in the computer room..

Screencast

There's a little screencast from user's view (german):

present limitaions and problems

  • Wenn kein Client zur Verfügung steht, weil diese beispielsweise ausgeschaltet sind, werden im Hintergrund neue Clients per WOL gestartet - dies kann je nach Client ein wenig dauern. Sobald ein Client zur Verfügung steht, kann dieser genutzt werden.
  • If there are no accessible computers at a given time or all readily available computers are already used, new clients will be booted in the background (using WoL). This may take some time.
  • As of now PVS is not usable remotely.
  • At the moment there is no hardware acceleration for graphics cards.
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