Reducing Instructional Barriers Through Software Virtualization
Engineering educators sometimes avoid incorporating computerized design tools into courses that might otherwise benefit from them due to the complexity of supporting software applications. Between the challenges of distributing installation files, helping students to troubleshoot hardware incompatibilities, ensuring licensing compliance, and coordinating software installation on shared lab computers, the costs of software incorporation are sometimes seen to outweigh the potential benefits. One increasingly accessible solution to many of these issues is the virtualization of software, wherein software is installed and maintained on a centralized server remotely accessed by client machines via the internet. By eliminating many of the challenges associated with localized software, virtualization can reduce both the real and the perceived costs of software integration, while preserving many instructional benefits that can arise through software incorporation.