The Fashion Institute of Technology is a challenging place. I certainly find it challenging to walk by the campus -- nearby my office in New York City -- knowing that, at any moment, a troupe of tall, gorgeous models with perfect hair and makeup will strut by on their way to an end-of-semester student fashion show. What woman wants to be faced with that kind of competition while trudging to the subway after a long day's work? But that's nothing compared to the challenges faced by FIT's CIO, Gregg Chottiner, who will be joining us for a live E2 chat this Wednesday morning, March 21, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.
What's the toughest challenge for FIT's computing environment? It could be the task of creating a secure wireless infrastructure in the center of midtown Manhattan -- and managing temporary access credentials to the 1,200 adjunct faculty, to the Macy's executives renting out the auditorium, and to the Boy Scouts bunking down in the school's vacant dorm rooms over the summer.
It could be the challenge of scaling up storage fast enough to accommodate the demands of art and design students who generate and store giant imaging files.
Or it might be software that poses the most intriguing challenge. FIT students need more than the average Microsoft Office suite. They even need more than pricey design software like the Adobe Creative Suite.
For some classes, students need to use expensive, highly specialized, homegrown applications developed and used by outside companies. (For example, a FIT adjunct professor who works full-time at a large design studio may require students to use their company's application.) An individual student may need that application at her fingertips every moment of every day, but only until the semester ends.
Chottiner is using and experimenting with a variety of ways to manage the costs of providing students persistent-yet-temporary access to these expensive applications -- including application virtualization and distributing pre-loaded laptops to students for the duration of the semester.
Join the chat this Wednesday, March 21, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time to ask Gregg Chottiner more about how he handles the complexities and eccentricities of this urban, academic, artistic computing environment.
@Zaius- I'm sure it could be provided by thin-client, but it is tough to deploy that way to a group of students. During the chat we discussed other virtualization strategies as well as creative licensing agreements.
@David: True, the cost of the software will be much less compared to the infrastructure and the salaries to the teaching staff. Moreover, I think application virtualization and providing latops/notebooks on rent to students may prove to be important factors in bringing down costs for the students.
I agree with David. Software costs would certainly be lesser than investments in other areas like buildings etc. Besides this, the return from investment in software might be far greater than returns on other areas.
Undoubtedly all the costs a university has will be dealt with by raising tuition or getting more donations. That said, compared to buildings, professors salaries and such, I doubt software is a major line in the budget.
It seems very costly. Hopefully, it will be worth it in the long run. If this expensive software will best meet the needs of its students, it will be advantageous to them. However, I sure hope this doesn't call for a hike in the tuition.
It costs money to stay fit. So it is no wonder that FIT wants to live up to its name. Apparently that school is not for me. Looking forward to hearing how Gregg Chottiner will justify all that costly spending.
It is very nice and very interesting that FIT is trying to put expensive software in the hands of its students. When I was in grad school, i had to buy a $200 piece of screen writing software for a class that I'd never end up using again. In retrospect, i should have dropped the class before buying it, but I was young and foolish then. I'm old and foolish now.
Anyway, nice to see a school working on the problems of its students. Can't wait for the chat.
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