Technical roadblocks to student success

Students and instructors often have different versions of the same program

Students enrolled in on-campus classes usually prefer to use their own devices to complete coursework; online students work on their own devices by necessity. Plus, Dr. Britton notes that faculty members often spend a lot of time serving as IT troubleshooters, helping students install and use the unfamiliar software needed for their class.

Supporting a BYOD policy — with its multitude of devices and operating systems — was problematic for the IT staff

SNHU was looking for a solution that would cut down on help desk issues and be easy to administer. They wanted a managed service with routine maintenance, patches, and other upkeep handled by the provider. For online students, fully supporting BYOD was essential.

Existing file management and storage processes were unsatisfactory

Students had to upload, download, export, and sometimes modify their files before they could submit or use them. Faculty had to do the same. This was troublesome, time consuming, and error prone.


Students and programs had asynchronous schedules

At any time during the calendar year, SNHU has multiple classes running on different schedules. Every night, lab computers were restored to their original state using an automated program. This has sometimes led to problems. In one instance, a group of students got locked out of their project because the SNHU system went into this automatic process. Also, online students are in various time zones, which makes group work and communication difficult.

Several possible solutions, including virtualization options, were prohibitively expensive

In addition to higher cost, few solutions provided key features SNHU wanted. Few of the offerings had the analytics the SNHU STEM program wanted. These analytics would help instructors monitor students’ progress and let the IT team keep tabs on the service’s functionality.

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To enhance students’ academic success

And prepare students for real-world STEM jobs – Dr.Britton and the STEM team decided they needed to:

  • Create a scalable, Cloud-based computer environment
  • Facilitate access to the same software for faculty and all class members
  • Support the current 12,000 STEM students’ various schedules and computing needs
  • Enable instant collaboration between students, mentors, and faculty
  • Provide a great user experience on any device or OS

Apporto's solutions


On demand capacity and maximum versatility

When the SNHU STEM team contacted Apporto, they’d considered other solutions, including some from leaders in the virtualization space. But they still hadn’t found one that completely fit their needs. Their ideal solution was Cloud-native and browser-based, with no need to install clients or other programs on students’ devices.

It had to completely integrate with the SNHU IT department and be easy to administer. And above all, the solution needed to have automated provisioning that could accommodate users as needed, with no input from IT personnel.

After discussing SNHU’s goals and current setup, the Apporto team recommended an approach consisting of multiple virtualization techniques and an advanced server provisioning system that added and removed capacity based on demand. It included:

  • 24x7 Help desk support for student issues and IT department queries
  • A 100% in-browser experience, including collaboration, file sharing, screen sharing, and mentoring
  • Near-native user experience on any OS
  • Built-in security, maintenance, and monitoring
  • A single platform for access to apps, Windows desktops, and Linux desktops
  • Out-of-the-box integration with AD or SSO
  • Native collaboration and mentoring tools

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Delivering an excellent experience now and in the future

After implementing Apporto, SNHU could meet the challenges inherent in STEM education. Among the most notable results:

  • Students use the same programs, tools, and desktops they’d encounter in the real world — without buying any expensive software
  • Facilitate access to the same software for faculty and all class members
  • Students can work together, solve problems, and get help from mentors and instructors without leaving their browser
  • Faculty and IT support people no longer have to help students with complicated setup problems
  • The service can scale up to support 80,000 SNHU students.

Also, Apporto’s service costs 50-75% less than other solutions. Gerry Fulbrook, SNHU’s Assistant Vice President of Academic Technologies, put it this way:


It is a much lower cost model than anyone else — and I do mean anyone else... The number of incidents and issues have been minuscule, amazingly low.

The administration has been much simpler, and we have gotten built-in collaboration and mentoring."

Apporto and the SNHU STEM team will be working together towards even greater student success. Currently, some exciting new features (like improved analytics and collaboration tools) are in the pipeline. Meanwhile, other SNHU teams have begun exploring how Apporto can meet their online learning and software needs.

With Apporto, students can get access to the technology they need without spending a lot of money. Faculty can concentrate on teaching rather than on solving logistical problems and troubleshooting software issues. And the IT team can spend less time on routine matters and more time on vital tasks. Everyone can focus on student success – which is what universities are all about.

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See for yourself

Southern New Hampshire University shares how they are improving student success by delivering a 21st century computing experience to their students anywhere.