Why was the nlug created?

NLUG was created in 2014 to support an increased use and purchasing of NETLAB+ throughout the California Community Colleges (CCC) system. Many colleges were first time users and several wanted to share NETLAB+ resources with other colleges. Some colleges were requesting help with prewritten grant boilerplates they could use as more equipment funding became available. We knew after the rush to purchase, that an archive of best practices and an ongoing problem solving forum would be advantageous for these colleges…and would be a value to the taxpayers if the equipment is used effectively.

Richard Grotegut, full-time faculty member at Ohlone College since 1998, had been a pioneer in the use of NETLAB+ within the CCC system and was the person most people called with questions about NETLAB+. Richard agreed to head up the first UG and assisted by Scott Young, LTS, and Nicole Sherman, Integrative Impact, helped shape the initial website and support the communications plan. During this time an estimate $1M was spent system-wide on NETLAB+ gear. Richard assisted Cabrillo in setting up the 28 college NETLAB Consortium (shared use) called the BACCC NETLAB project.

UG Leadership has been provided by Steve Linthicum, DSN, Sacramento for half of 2015 and in 2016 Shawn Monsen from Sierra College, took the helm of the NLUG.

Little did we know how important a role the use of NETLAB would play in 2020. The pandemic forced schools (community colleges and their high school partners) in the Bay Area and in California to deliver their classes online. NETLAB came to the rescue and, in a twist, helped to solve the problem for digital media, engineering, and manufacturing students. Many students have ChromeBooks, or older computers, which cannot run the latest Adobe and CAD software applications. The BACCC NETLAB project help hundreds of high school students keep up with their hands-on activities by providing virtual machines running the Adobe Creative Suite, Fusion360, AutoCAD, Inventor, and more. All the students needed was a browser and an Internet connection.

Now, in 2021, Richard Grotegut, will be back to lead the NLUG, with the support of the BACCC NETLAB project.

Charter/mission of the group

The California Community Colleges NETLAB+ User group’s primary mission is to improve learning outcomes in the classroom by supporting effective virtual IT lab solutions for the CCC student population. NETLAB+ includes all the software needed to provide an environment through which students may schedule and complete lab exercises for Information Technology courses and since the current investment level in NETLAB+ equipment by the CCC’s is significant, NETLAB+ is the practical focus of the group; however, the NLUG is not limited to any configuration of equipment or vendor relationship as it seeks the best solutions for the CCC student population.

Connection to the california community colleges chancellor’s office:

The NLUG will continue to be modestly supported by the Bay Region’s Strong Workforce Program regional grant funding from the of the Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO).

This NLUG website was intentionally set up to be a stand-alone resource. The CCCCO looks favorably on the use of NETLAB+ as an example of virtual computer labs and faculty collaboration. It has funded most of the $1M separate grant equipment expenditures for these reasons.

This user group and site is about making it easier for the next person. Undertaking a NETLAB+ environment is often a beyond-the-job activity for faculty. We applaud the intellectual curiosity and the enthusiasm that brings people here.