July 6, 2020 | Remote Access, Students

Can You Run Adobe on a Chromebook?

Chromebooks and laptops are popular solutions for affordability, but can they run the software students really need?

3 min

Can I run CAD on my laptop? Can I run Adobe on a Chromebook? Can I run SPSS on my home computer?

These are the questions university students are asking as they prepare for fall. Colleges and universities are loaning out Chromebooks and laptops or relying on BYOD (bring your own device) to get students through an unpredictable fall semester.

However, design, architecture and engineering students rely on powerful, expensive software in their classes. Before campus closures, this software was provided by the school and available in computer labs and classrooms. Over the spring and beginning of the summer, a few software providers made student licenses available at no cost for a limited time. Adobe’s free student licenses expired July 6th. 

With a tentative return to campus and increasingly complex social distancing requirements, students are unsure how to access the software they need to continue their classes.

Mismatch of Power

Individual software licenses for students are expensive and often come with limitations. Even if schools could provide a license for every student, each student would need equipment robust enough to run and manage that software package. 

For example, can students run the full Adobe Creative Cloud on a Chromebook? 

Although there are light versions of Adobe apps that are optimized for Chromebooks, students relying on them can’t access the full suite of tools. Adobe Creative Cloud requires much more power than a Chromebook or base level laptop can provide.

Software Virtualization

Some schools are pivoting to remote learning models and virtualizing software to provide remote access to students. A lot of software packages can be virtualized, but it’s expensive. 

More powerful software programs cannot be virtualized, including animation software, CAD, statistical analysis software, Adobe Creative Cloud, engineering programs and more. For the programs that can’t be virtualized, schools will need to provide access to more robust workstations on campus, or provide each student with an individual license. For many of these programs, individual licenses are cost-prohibitive.

Related: Created in Response to COVID-19, Essential for Fall

Flexible Solution

Instead of investing in more powerful loaner laptops or relying on virtualization, you can provide access to the campus hardware that your school has already purchased.

With the LabStats Remote Access Dashboard, students can use base level laptops, Chromebooks or home computers to securely remote into campus workstations, and access the software they need.

“We’re using LabStats’ Remote Access Dashboard, enabling students with any browser-capable device to remotely connect to a campus-based workstation. GPU intensive applications, as reported to me, work well as the intensive work remains on the high-end workstations in our computer labs. Our institution distributed 1,300 Chromebooks (to students in need) already and another 1,500 are planned. Although we continue exploring creative ways to get workstations in the hands of students, LabStats’ Remote Access Dashboard enables very simple devices to access higher end software. What appeals to me about this strategy is that we continue to make use of the thousands of workstations in our district, and the Chromebooks distributed, while remaining flexible concerning Fall planning.”

Community College CIO

Over 200 colleges and universities worldwide are providing students with remote access to university software via the Remote Access Dashboard. Talk to your software vendors to see what options are available to you.

Return to Campus Plans

When the pandemic hit, the pivot from on-campus activity to remote learning models was a substantial project, but it was straightforward. All IT teams were focused on diverting resources away from campus.

A return to campus, however, is much more complex.

Schools are developing plans for hybrid classes, phased returns to campus, and facing the possibility of future campus closures. What’s important now is a flexible solution that keeps students connected to campus resources, whether they’re on campus or not.

We’re committed to supporting you in your return to campus plans. Schedule a walkthrough, or if you already have LabStats on your campus, schedule a tutorial for help setting up the Remote Access Dashboard.

Related: Will the Remote Access Dashboard Work for You?