In 2011, Durham Tech received a grant from the National Science Foundation for a project that uses existing traditional computer lab facilities to support a platform for remote access to virtual machines (VMs) to assist in teaching Information Technology courses.
The goals for the project were to
- provide Durham Tech Information Technology students remote access to a single or small set of VMs;
- utilize existing lab computers and infrastructure to reduce the cost of implementation of a remote lab;
- provide VM hosting accessible through a hosting pool;
- provide a project and system management learning opportunity for Information Technology students; and
- disseminate information about the project to the 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College Systems through presentations at professional state and regional conferences and assist other interested schools in implementing the platform.
Through this project, students had access to all functions of the computer and operating system, enabling hands-on experience to complete networking or IT course assignments. Students indirectly gained facility with virtual machines and remote access, two areas in which employers have shown increased interest. The implementation and management of the virtual machine infrastructure gave students experience with project management and OS administration. Additionally, the project conserved resources and minimized capital expense, thus reducing costs.
Initial implementation was available at the end of April 2013, as part of that semester's NET/SEC 289 team. The project will continue to develop and expand as the spring 2014 NET/SEC and 2015 NET/SEC teams continue its development.