The addition of virtualization equipment and courses offers students some key advantages.

“Virtualization of computers enables students to access a complete network of computers remotely,” says Rocky Hyberger, faculty member at Ridgewater College. With virtualization, students no longer need a room or building full of equipment to access a network. Instead, they can work from any location, using any device for access to a virtual network.

Practically, virtualization means that students no longer need to travel to campus to attend courses. For online or hybrid courses, virtualization takes learning in online or hybrid courses to the next level, says Hyberger. Colleges already make use of videoconferencing software, but virtualization adds a virtual hands-on component.

The trend is toward remote access with any device, he says. Based on that trend and the convenience of virtualization, understanding virtualization also plays an important role in a student’s education.

Organizations today are no longer relying on rooms with servers and other equipment. “Now they are using the cloud with access from any device,” he says.

Students will learn about virtualization software, which companies are increasingly using.

“We teach our students all about how to run a network of computers,” says Hyberger. “It they want jobs in companies with or without virtualization, they would know how to work with both.”

The RITA Consortium resources are funding the development of virtualization – both for Microsoft Windows and Apple – for students at all colleges, he says, and virtualization will support degree programs in computer programming, network administration, and computer support technician.

Students in degree programs will gain from their exposure to this cutting-edge application of virtualization. Not many educational institutions offer this opportunity, says Hyberger.

“We are enabling students remote access to an entire network from their own computer or their own laptop. That is unique and exciting.”