Working with my students, I’ve come across an interesting concept regarding use of technology. I am teaching an advanced qualitative and quantitative methods course. The course requires the use of a statistical package, SPSS. SPSS is quite pricey and the university offers it to the students through Citrix. The Citrix client allows the student to virtualize their computer to “pretend” that it is actually the university computer. So although the screen is theirs, they are actually using the university machine located somewhere else.
This has created an interesting situation. I put data on my Moodle site in SPSS format. (I generally put it in Excel, then have students copy-and-paste into SPSS.) I thought it would save a step. However, when a student downloads the file, it resides on their local machine. Therefore the file CAN’T be opened on the virtual machine – file transfer is NOT compatible. This creates confusion if the student doesn’t realize that the machines are in fact different, even though one is being emulated on his or her own computer.
The solution, luckily, IS simple. I provided an Excel doc and the students can copy-and-paste to SPSS – that feature does work from local to virtual.