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VMware Offers Free Virtualization Software for EdX Computer Science Students

VMware has partnered with not-for-profit massive, open, online course (MOOC) provider edX to deliver free virtualization software to students enrolled in a computer science course offered through the platform.

Students enrolled in the HarvardX course CS50x: Introduction to Computer Science will receive free copies of VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation 9 to use during the course.

"To ensure that all students have access to a standardized computing environment, the CS50x instructors have developed the CS50x Appliance--a virtual machine that is preconfigured with the OS and software that students will need to complete their CS50x assignments," said Anant Agarwal, president of edX, in a prepared statement. "Thanks to the generous support of VMware, students will be able to run the exact same software whether they have a Mac, or PC running Windows or Linux."

An entry-level course, CS50x is designed to teach both major and non-major students "how to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently," according to information released by edX.

Taught by Harvard's David Malan, the free course opened to students anywhere in the world October 15. Students can cover the material at their own pace, provided they finish by April 15, 2013, when the course will close. Topics covered include:

  • Algorithms;
  • Data structures;
  • Security;
  • Abstraction;
  • Resource management;
  • Encapsulation;
  • Software engineering; and
  • Web development.

"We're very excited to join edX in its mission to deliver high quality online education," said Stephen Herrod, VMware chief technology officer and senior vice president of research & development, in a news release about the partnership. "By providing VMware Fusion and VMware Workstation products to all CS50x students at no cost, we’re helping to remove the barriers to obtaining a top-flight computer science education online. Students around the world will get to use the world’s best virtualization products to support their learning."

Launched in May as a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, edX offers free online courses to anyone with an Internet connection. Since its creation, edX has taken on additional collaborators in the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Texas System. "Along with offering online courses, the institutions will use edX to research how students learn and how technology can transform learning–both on-campus and worldwide," according to information on the edX Web site.

More information about edX is available at Got to to learn more about VMware Fusion. Learn more about VMware Workstation at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].

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