AN ANALYSIS OF THE REMOTE COMPUTING SYSTEMS AND SOLUTIONS PROVIDED BY ATU GALWAY CITY SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND COMPUTING TO STAFF AND STUDENTS
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The research question being asked here is what are the most efficient strategies to improve the remote working and learning experience in ATU Galway School of Science and Computing? The aim of the research was to analyse the effectiveness of remote computing resource provision by ATU Galway City School of Science and Computing and thus identify any gaps or weaknesses, so as to be in a position to make improvements. In other words, how well are staff and students able to work or study from locations outside the university when using computing services and systems and could it be done any better. The methodology used was action research. Action research involves using systematic observations and other data collection methods that are useful for the practitioner-researcher in reflection, decision making and in the development of more effective practices in the workplace. Data collection was undertaken using surveys, semi-structured interviews and observation. This study adds to the knowledge already in the literature, enabling improvements to be made to the provision and delivery of remote computing systems and solutions not only in ATU but elsewhere. It was found that the systems in use are effective and that the users are satisfied with their levels of knowledge and the training provided. Slow broadband or a lack of coverage in rural areas was the most common complaint. Students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in particular suffered from a lack of access caused by difficulties in paying for broadband as much as for technical reasons related to the availability or quality of Internet. It is recommended that students who qualify for the laptop loan scheme or who are identified via a means test should be provided with pre-paid data packages in order to offset the disadvantage they suffer and give parity of access to all.
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