Amazon AppStream is a technology that allows users to use software directly in their web browser without installing it on their computer. It should work with nearly any computer and web browser, as long as the student has a robust internet connection. Currently, Christopher Newport University is providing Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel in an AppStream environment for students without Windows PCs. Students using Macs may be able to use the Macintosh version of Excel for their work. As this uses fewer Christopher Newport University resources and has a better experience for students, this is recommended if possible.
Adding AppStream to your Course
Once you’ve confirmed that resources are available, adding AppStream to your course is easy. Click the plus sign at the top of your course menu and select Tool Link.
Give the link a name that your students will understand, and choose AWS AppStream -- MS Access/Excel from the Type dropdown menu. Make sure that Available to Users is checked or your students will not be able to see the link. Click Submit to add the link to the menu.
To use AppStream, click the provided link in the course menu.
After a brief wait, you’ll be taken to the app selection screen. Select the app that you need to use.
There will be up to a 2-minute wait as an AppStream session is created for you. DO NOT close the browser window, but you’re welcome to use other browser tabs on your computer while you wait.
Once the wait is over, your application will launch.
Setting up Google Drive -- REQUIRED
Any files that you save on AppStream will be deleted when you log out. However, AppStream can save files to your CNU Google Drive, which will allow you to keep your work across sessions, and access the files from any computer. The first time you use AppStream, you’ll need to link it to your Google Drive account.
To do so, click on the storage button in the toolbar.
On the right, you’ll see Add Storage. Click that and choose Google Drive.
It’ll pull up a menu where you’ll have to click @cnu.edu. Then it will ask you to select which CNU Google account you want. You can’t change this later, so make sure that you’re on the correct Google Account.
You’ll then have to authorize AppStream to access your account.
On the whole, you’ll be able to use AppStream just like you were sitting in front of a computer. There are a few minor changes to how you use it.
You’ll need to make sure to save your work in your linked Google Drive account. To do so, you’ll need to choose a save location.
On the left side, select the This PC dropdown and choose Google Drive.
If you get a “Not Ready” error, just wait a few seconds and try again. Your entire Google Drive may also take some time to load; this is normal. You can then use your Google Drive just as if it were part of the computer you’re on.
Copy and Paste works differently if you’re copying from or pasting to your computer. To copy from AppStream, copy the text in your application, then click the Copy/Paste button at the top of the screen.
Choose “Copy to local device” from the menu that pops up.
A window will pop up that allows you to use Ctrl + C or Command + C to copy the text to your computer.
To paste information into AppStream, copy it on your computer, then select the copy/paste icon again and choose “Paste to remote session”.
A box will pop up allowing you to paste in text from your computer. Use Ctrl + V or Command + V to paste in your text.
When you do, the text will be ready for you to use the Paste command in the session.
Printing is a two-step process. You’ll print from your app like normal, but select DCV Printer in the print options.
Your browser will then open a PDF of the document that you can print to your printer.
Leaving the Session
When you’re done working verify that all of your work is saved to your Google Drive. Once you leave your session, any work saved directly on that session WILL BE LOST.
To leave the session click the person icon at the top and choose End Session
You’ll be taken to a feedback form. Please fill that form out to give ITS an idea of how well this is working.
Here are a couple of troubleshooting steps for common issues:
My App Closed
If your app got closed by mistake, you’ll see a blank screen. Simply select your app from the Apps menu at the top left to get it back.
My Browser Tab Closed
If you close your browser tab/window, you’ll lose access to your session. As long as you click the Scholar link within five minutes, you’ll be able to get back to your existing session.
My Google Drive is Slow/I get a “Not Ready” Error
If you get a “Not Ready” error when accessing your Google Drive, just wait a few seconds and try again. Your entire Google Drive may also take some time to load at the beginning of a session; this is normal.
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