The University of Murcia presented during Docencia-Net session at the RedIRIS Working Groups held at the end of 2019 an interesting and innovative project that provides access to computer tools that make learning much easier for students with disabilities or learning difficulties. The Virtual Desktop for Special Education (EVITA in its Spanish acronym) provides specific instruments for these types of students, such as text readers or dictation software. The VDI connection broker UDS Enterprise is a key element that make the optimal operation possible.
This project is part of the Digital Strategy of the University of Murcia, which promotes the improvement of accessibility to services and applications for all groups. One of its priorities is to offer some inclusive digital services and with no accessibility barriers. To achieve this goal, the Area of Information Technology and Applied Communications (ATICA in its Spanish acronym) together with the Service of Attention to Diversity and Volunteering (ADYV in its Spanish acronym), conceived the EVITA project, which serves about 1,500 students in total with some degree of disability and/or with needs for adapted tools to be able to prepare the subjects more efficiently.
It is a virtual desktop managed and deployed by UDS Enterprise that each student can customize according to his needs. It has the following special resources to promote the training of people with visual, auditory, physical… disabilities or learning difficulties:
Tools: Narrator, Magnifying Glass, NVDA, On-Screen Keyboard and Balabolka.
Applications: Acrobat, Adobe Digital Editions 4.5, Notepad ++ and VLC Media Player.
Office software: Microsoft Winword, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Access and Microsoft Publisher.
Browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.
The team responsible for the project will gradually add applications and other products to support teaching. ATICA and ADYV meet periodically to evaluate the incorporation of new tools that improve the quality of learning of the group of users of this service.
Access to EVITA is made through the portal of the corporate virtual desktops (called EVA) solution of the University and students can use it in the university's own computer rooms or from anywhere using their own devices. All they have to do is open a web browser and enter their email and password. This flexibility and simplicity of use is obtained thanks to the VDI UDS Enterprise broker, which is the software responsible for providing access through HTML5, thus allowing the use of mobile devices.
It is no coincidence that the University of Murcia has trusted UDS Enterprise as one of the key pieces of this project. This educational center has been using this VDI broker for more than 15 years to, among other things, provide access to its more than 30,000 students to the EVA service and thus be able to use all the tools they need for their studies in any moment, from any place and device.