SMCC offers degrees such as Communications & New Media where there are many students interested in graphic design and new media, as well as publishing, like News Writing & Production. Many of the community college’s classes have a graphic design component, but not all SMCC students have access to design software for those types of classes. For those with access issues to design software like Adobe InDesign, the school offers access through a program called Citrix.
Citrix is a program that allows users to access software remotely. “It opens up a window as if I was on a computer at SMCC,” explains SMCC student Emma Campbell. The program is a little slow she notes, but it allows students to access the programs they need and without the hefty subscriptions. This program is especially helpful for college students because even with student discounts, design software can cost around $19.99 a month. Since Citrix is free, it can build up quite a savings.
To use the program, students can navigate through the Help@SMCC site and find installation instructions.
Citrix can be a great tool, but as students have noticed, it isn’t perfect. Using Citrix can be slower than using design software directly. “There’s a slight delay in using the programs” explains Campbell. Slower access seems on par with remote access to desktops in another location, but this isn’t the only challenge users may face. Recently, SMCC experienced issues with the software, and students were unable to access the applications that they needed to participate in class. “[Citrix] is the only way I can access InDesign and it just kept saying it had failed to open. When I was finally able to get in contact with someone they just told me that Citrix was down. I was just really frustrated,” recalled Campbell. Students needing access to graphic design software for their homework were unable to use those online tools at all for a brief period. The issue with the program has since been fixed.
Hopefully, such outages don’t happen again in the future. Despite a mildly slower performance, Citrix remains a great free alternative to other graphic design programs for students at Southern Maine Community College.