Windows 10 upgrade - a better approach

Significant work has been undertaken to prepare to launch Windows 10 on Student PCs for the start of the 2017-18 academic year. Now this has been completed we believe that the effect on teaching of only providing Windows 10 to students (and not to staff) at this stage will be greater than originally expected.

To avoid this, Student PCs will now be upgraded to Windows 10 for the start of Semester 2 with careful planning to avoid disruption to examinations and teaching activity. To allow staff time to prepare, staff will have the opportunity to upgrade and use Windows 10 during Semester 1.

What’s changed?

Students

Student PCs in teaching rooms and Student PC Areas will continue to run Windows 7 during Semester 1. All Student PCs are now due to be upgraded to Windows 10 ready for the start of Semester 2, which begins on 18 January 2018.

Staff

To give staff time to plan for how Windows 10 might affect their teaching, they will have the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 during Semester 1. This will be optional - staff can check that the programs they need to do their work are available on Windows 10 on the Windows 10 project website. Programs used for teaching have already been prioritised, so should be available to staff, to enable them to upgrade during Semester 1.

More information will be provided as plans are confirmed for the launch of Windows 10 for staff.

What software will I be using for teaching?

Where staff have requested new programs for teaching, these will also be installed on Student PCs (running Windows 7) ready for the start of Semester 1. Additionally, some programs will be updated to newer versions on Student PCs, where it is absolutely essential for teaching.

Many of the programs that were used in the last academic year will remain on the same version on Student PCs throughout Semester 1. While these programs are ready for Windows 10, and will be updated on Student PCs for the start of Semester 2, there is insufficient time to prepare them for use on Windows 7.

Why

There are fundamental differences to providing Windows 10 to staff and students as a secure and reliable service, with many changes to the staff service to improve performance and reliability over the current Windows 7 staff service. Consequently, there have been more technical requirements to overcome than were expected for the staff service. This has been made more difficult due to the substantial number of other projects needing IT developments taking place over the summer.

With the start of the 2017-18 academic year approaching, delivering a Windows 10 service for student PCs had been prioritised. Having built the Windows 10 service for students, it is now recognised that there will be a more significant effect on staff and teaching than originally expected.

In these circumstances, we have taken the decision to reschedule the launch of our new Windows 10 services for staff and students. We believe that launching Windows 10 at the start of Semester 1, during one of the busiest times for our staff and students, is no longer the right thing to do.

New approach to Student PC Area upgrades and software updates

Whilst we are rescheduling the launch, we also want to release some additional news about how we upgrade and deliver software updates to the student PC areas. With the introduction of the Windows 10 service, and changes in the way Microsoft update Windows 10 itself, we are moving to a model where Student PC Areas are updated twice a year – instead of one large summer upgrade, there will be two smaller updates, one at the start of each Semester.

As well as allowing us to use new features in Windows more quickly, staff will also be able to request software for teaching at two points during the year instead of one. This means it will be possible to request software for teaching in Semester 2 during Semester 1, rather than needing to put requests in much earlier in the year. More information about this should be provide during Semester 1.

Have a question?

See Windows 10 upgrade project website, the frequently asked questions about windows 10, or why not post a question within the IT Services Yammer group.

You can find out more about IT Services including training and help at www.le.ac.uk/itservices or contact the IT Service Desk on 0116 252 2253.

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