Virtual Desktop

The Virtual Desktop allows Ohio State students and instructors to virtually access a select set of software applications from any device with internet access.

How It Works

Beginning in August 2022, all students and instructors at the university will have access to the Virtual Desktop by either logging in to or installing the Citrix Workspace client to access advanced features. All available Virtual Desktop software applications can be used from any device and any location that has internet access. This cloud access will enable extended use of these applications for students outside of physical lab spaces and allows instructors to provide the same coursework for both in-person and remote learning. Simply log in, open the software you need such as SPSS or Minitab, and begin your work.

Available Software Applications - Autumn '22

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • FastX
  • Matlab
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Minitab
  • OneDrive
  • SAS
  • SPSS
  • Visual Studio Code

The available software list will be updated as new software applications are added to the Virtual Desktop in Spring 2023. Email to provide input on software applications to add as the tool is expanded in the future. 

Video Demo


Access the Virtual Desktop (Coming Soon)


What type of technology do I need to have to access Virtual Desktop?

The Virtual Desktop is compatible with most devices. The only requirement is that the device is able to connect to the internet. This includes both Mac and Windows Operating Systems, desktops, laptops, and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. 

Most Virtual Desktop users prefer to access the tool on the same type of device they would typically use to operate the software they are accessing via the Virtual Desktop. For example, we find that most people prefer to use SPSS on a laptop or desktop, instead of a tablet or smartphone, due to the screen size and amount of data they are able to see at one time.

If you are a student and have questions about the type of device you should have for your coursework, we recommend reaching out to the academic advisor in your college. 

What amount of internet bandwidth is required to use the Virtual Desktop?

Virtual Desktop will generally consume between 1-2Mbps of bandwidth (about 10-20% of the bandwidth needed to stream a 1080p movie on Netflix). This can fluctuate depending on the amount of audio or video data being transmitted back to your device from the Virtual Desktop.

When will I be able to use this tool?

Virtual Desktop will be available in August 2022 for use during fall semester.

How do I use Virtual Desktop?

Beginning in August 2022, you can use Virtual Desktop by simply going to and logging in. You can also access the tool by installing the Citrix Workspace client which will allow you to access more advanced features of the application. Detailed resources for how to use the tool are forthcoming. If you have questions now about how the tool will work and how you can apply it to coursework, email to set up a meeting. 

How has Virtual Desktop been used at Ohio State?

The College of Engineering and the Knowlton School of Architecture developed a Virtual Desktop environment to improve the student experience prior to the pandemic. With the abrupt transition to remote teaching and learning at the beginning of the pancemic, this resource was critical in enabling students to access software that would typically be in a lab or classroom, require a high-powered computer or cost a signficant amount of money to purchase and download on their own device.

In Autumn 2021, the College of Engineering partnered with the Office of Technology and Digital Innovation to offer a Virtual Desktop pilot program for instructors and students at Ohio State Lima and in select classes for the College of Arts and Sciences. The Virtual Desktop was used by students in a wide range of learning environments, including a full classroom lab replacement, as part of classroom requirements and as a supplemental tool to assist with coursework completion.

In a post-pilot survey, the feedback from sixty students who completed the survey was overwhelmingly positive. Ninety-five percent of students felt the Virtual Desktop was easy to learn, 81% of students hoped to continue to have access to the Virtual Desktop resource and 84% of students indicated it was easier to access the software they needed for their classes with the Virtual Desktop. Of the six instructors who used the tool in their coursework and completed the survey, the feedback was unanimously positive. One-hundred percent of instructors positively indicated they would like to access to the Virtual Desktop tool again for their class and it improved access to the software the students needed to complete their coursework.

How will I store data when using Virtual Desktop?

Data will be stored in OneDrive and Teams, the university’s supported cloud storage systems.

I would like to use this tool in my coursework, but the software we use is not included. Can I request to have software added?

A set list of software will be available for autumn semester. We welcome your input on software applications to include as we plan for future semesters. You can email with the subject line “Virtual Desktop Software Request" to talk to the project team about the software you want to add, the requirements and approval process. A system for software requests is part of future plans.