Learning at Scale

​​Processing the Largest Computer Lab in the U.S.

For the staff at Austin Community College (ACC), everything they do is about helping students. Their mantra is “Start Here, Get There.” And for many of the college’s roughly 50,000 enrollees, that means spending time in the ACCelerator. A high-tech learning lab, the ACCelerator is home to more than 600 Dell Wyse thin clients powered by AMD Embedded G-Series APUs.

​Image courtesy of Andy Kim, Director of Environmental Stewardship, Austin Community College


​“Thin client” refers to desktop computers that are connected to a server for centralized management so there are fewer points of failure, less susceptibility to viruses or malware, better security, and greater energy efficiency.

Video courtesy of Austin Community College

The ACCelerator uses thin clients for traditional learning and for delivery of a widely recognized and innovative math course called Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS). An adaptive learning program, ALEKS uses artificial intelligence to assess proficiency and progress, creating a customized learning plan which allows students to reach college-level math at their own pace with the help of dedicated instructors who give one-on-one attention.

The ACCelerator lab is very much in line with ACC’s mission of sustainability. As a signee of the Carbon Commitment, formerly known as the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, ACC has pledged to make their facility and operations carbon neutral by 2050. According to Andy Kim, Director of Environmental Stewardship, “We always look at the best value for the district — which means that we are looking at the value and sustainability attributes of the products or services we buy.” When considering technology options, Mr. Kim knew that the Dell Wyse thin client computers powered by AMD processors would enable the ACC campus to reduce their energy consumption (compared with a traditional desktop environment). And he was right. AMD-powered Dell Wyse thin clients are estimated to reduce the lab’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 82%.

For more information please visit http://www.austincc.edu/highland-campus/accelerator

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