Information Communication Technologies & Digital Media Sector Team

By Markus Geissler and Shawn Monsen, ICT-DM Sector


To increase opportunities for continuing student learning while campuses are closed, the North/Far North Regional Consortium is making its NFNRC NETLAB Virtual Networking Environment available to college professors, middle and high school teachers, and their students throughout the region. The Bay Region Community College Consortium has also reached out to instructors, offering to create and host custom labs and pods inside its NETLAB system.

Classes that would most benefit from NETLAB include those where students need to access Cisco networking equipment, but any course which has students use specialized software that would not ordinarily be easily available to them, such as Quickbooks or Microsoft or Linux server operating systems, could use NETLAB to make the software available from off-campus.

When Sierra College was required to move classes online, instructors had to find creative ways to allow students to continue to perform labs required for some IT classes.

Traditionally, instructors have taught Microsoft Office courses in the classroom, using college-provided computers. With the transition to online teaching, they found that some students didn’t have the necessary computing resources at home, capable of completing the labs (Apple, Chromebook, low-powered computers, etc.).

In order to solve this problem, instructors worked with regional NETLAB administrator, Jim Cosentino at Folsom Lake College, to provide a custom Microsoft Office 2019 NETLAB environment that students can access using a standard web browser.

One of the key elements to the success of this new lab environment is the ability to copy files into and out of NETLAB, which isn’t supported natively. Cosentino found a creative solution to enable this custom capability, so students can copy their completed project files to their personal Google Drive accounts and turn in their assignments.

To explain the capabilities of the NFNRC NETLAB, Markus Geissler has recorded a short video targeted primarily at instructors and administrators, which can be viewed here.

For information about virtual lab solutions in your region, contact your ICT-DM Regional Director.

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