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Virtually Unlimiting Student Lab Time
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As IT instructors one of the many challenges we face in the classroom is providing students with the lab time they need to gain practical experience using the latest technologies. As an author and teacher, I understand the frustrations of providing students with hands-on training opportunities within the restrictions of the computer lab. In addition to lab setup time and scheduling, new releases of software often create problems when students perform the steps of our activities. Another challenge occurs when student actions cause an activity to fail and be difficult to restart. Cengage’s Live Virtual Machine Lab environment, part of MindTap and Cengage Unlimited, can help provide a solution to these challenges.


Cloud Computing has become a major part of our IT world, and as a result, Cloud certifications are becoming important to many careers. Working with virtualization concepts and products such as presented in our Hands-on Virtual Computing text are important pre-requisites for students to be able to train for these more advanced Cloud certifications such as CompTIA’s Cloud+.  Using the Live Virtual Machine Lab environment, available with Cengage Unlimited, students can perform the lab activities from our Hands-on Virtual Computing text. without the instructor having to do any lab setup. Many of the Live Virtual Machine Lab activities require students to answer questions which can then be used by the instructor to help assess student progress. In addition, students can use their Internet Browser to get all the lab time they need from any location at any time that works best for them. In this posting I want to show you how to use Cengage Unlimited to “unlimit” your student lab opportunities.




In my last article I included a demonstration showing how instructors can use MindTap to setup an Introduction to Digital Business Transformation course that contains modules from our Hands-on Virtual Computing text and then email a link to this course for their students. The students can then access the modules in existing courses or use them as a separate on-line course.  In either case, the virtualization labs allow students to build the pre-requisite knowledge and skills that will help them prepare for the new VMware, Microsoft, and CompTIA certifications. Using the Live Virtual Machine Lab environment along with Cengage Unlimited makes implementing modules and activities from our Hands-on Virtual Computing text simply a “plug and play” process.


The following demonstration will show how easy it is for students to use the Cengage Practice online lab environment, included with Cengage Unlimited, to gain hands-on experience using VMware vSphere to create a Software Defined Data Center.