Virtual Computing Lab (VCL)

The Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) is a system that enables faculty, students, and staff to remotely access specialized software on any computer. If you are a Mac user and need to run Windows software, no problem, the VCL makes this possible.

Audience: 
Students
Faculty
Staff
Five College Students
Features and Benefits: 

Currently, the software environments available though the VCL include:

  • ArcGIS
  • CentOS
  • ChemDraw
  • CSPro
  • Eviews
  • Insight Research
  • IRTutor
  • Logal Explorer
  • Matlab
  • MicroCase
  • R and Rcmdr
  • SPSS
  • STATA
  • Ubuntu
  • Volocity
  • WinMDI
Requirements: 

The VCL is available to faculty, staff and students from any of the Five Colleges. Access the system online using your home institution log in credentials.

To use the VCL you will need a computer that has an Internet connection and a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client installed. Your computer must be on campus using the college network of one of the five colleges - Amherst, Hampshire, Mt Holyoke, Smith or UMass Amherst.

For the RDP client, we recommend CoRD for Macs (note: This is an external link to a website where you may download the CoRD software. Follow the prompts in the installer to download the software.). We recommend this RDP client for the VCL for Windows computers.

 

Getting Started: 

First make sure you have an RDP client installed on your computer, see Requirements section above for more information.

Access the VCL from Moodle:

Step 1:  To access the VCL from Moodle, use the Virtual Computing block on the lower-right side of any of your Moodle course sites.

Step 2:  Under New Reservations choose the software application you want from the drop-down list menu and click create reservation.
Note:
Make reservations for time in the future to guarantee the application will be available when you need it.
Faculty can make block reservations for classes using the VCL Moodle plugin.

Step 3:  Click the Connect button to launch a window containing the computing environment and the application you want to use.

Alternate Method of Accessing the VCL:

Step 1:  Go to https://vcl.ats.amherst.edu/, click on the Amherst College seal or choose Amherst College from the drop-down list menu. 

Step 2:  Go to the Reservations menu and select New Reservation.

Step 3:  Choose the software application you want from the drop-down list menu and click create reservation.
Note:
Make reservations for time in the future to guarantee the application will be available when you need it.
Faculty can make block reservations for classes using the VCL Moodle plugin.

Step 4:  Click the Connect button to launch a window containing the computing environment and the application you want to use. 

Resources: 

To get detailed instructions and more information about the VCL go the VCL Help page at https://vcl.fivecolleges.edu/help.

Additional Information: 

Amherst students, faculty and staff - If you are working on an Amherst campus lab or public computer, make sure to store all data and analysis files in your Userfiles or U: Drive. Your U: Drive is automatically accessible on any Amherst lab or public Windows or Mac computer when you are logged into the computer.

If you are using your personal computer and wish to access files on your U: Drive or other Amherst network storage, first connect to your network drive, then click the Connect button to lauch the VCL.