One of the most common questions I’ve fielded this summers is this, “ How do I go about getting software on the student computers?” Remember, that students have very limited rights to their computer and they cannot install or remove programs. We have developed tools and procedures to get this done.
We have a management software suite called Casper. It’s really awesome. By the way, there’s a bit of techie humor associated with the product name. In the Windows world there’s a very similar management suite made by Norton called “Ghost.” Casper is based upon Ghost. But, of course, like so many different Apple inspired products, the makers of Casper wanted it to be more intuitive. Thus, the reference to the cartoon character – “the friendly ghost.” Not really all that funny, but pretty clever.
One of the many things we’ll use Casper for is to distribute software. We can do this a couple of ways. We can “push” software out. This means the installation happens “under the hood” with out any user intervention. We setup a software package in Casper, and it just happens on the computers. This is great for when everyone needs something. We’ are using “push” installations for our antivirus and Internet filtering programs just to name a couple.
However, there will be times when teachers need a software title to be installed on just a few students’ computers and not everyone. For example, I’m pretty sure we’ll be working with the art department to install some licenses of Adobe Create Suite on certain student’s computers. We don’t own unlimited license of Create Suite, so we are forced to only install it on the computers of kids who will be using it for these classes. In these cases we’ll probably use the Self Service model. I’m planning to a “how to” post on Self Service in the next few days. It is a pretty simple process, however.
So, back to the main topic… If you have a software title that you would like to get on at least some of the student computers, how do you go about doing that? We’ve created a flow chart for how this process works.
Before you contact us with a request, please be ready with the following information:
- Know the number of licenses you have available – i.e. do we own a “site” or unlimited license or can this title only go on 50 computers at one time.
- Is the software compatible or will it work with Mac OS 10.7.x ? Most vendors can get you this information easily and it is often listed on the packaging. However, if you need help with this step, you can ask us for assistance.
- Know where the media or download site are along with any credentials (serial numbers, usernames/passwords) that are needed for the installation process.
Once you have this information together, contact Angela. She will setup a Help Desk ticket for you so you can track the progress. Depending on the complexity, it may take us up to 5 working days to get the software ready for deployment. Of course, depending on the specifics of the software roll out, it may take a few days to get the software onto to the student computers. So, it’s important to understand that we will need some time to get this setup.