Cloudera provides VMs and a Spark-based curriculum as part of the university CAP program (Cloudera Academic Partnership). Cloudera also provides the Quickstart VM for the general public to use. Both the CAP VMs and the Quickstart VM are provided at no cost. I am running these VMs on a MacBook Pro and on Windows laptops.
Requirements for running these VMs:
Another option chosen by many CAP universities is to deploy a cluster. Cloudera provides CAP universitites with a free, renewable, Cloudera Enterprise License for CDH. Such a cluster can be deployed on bare metal or in a private or public cloud.
Sue, as I said the hardware requirement for student VM is too hight for all our generic computer labs. We also don't want to deploy CDH yet because that doesn't include all the homework assignments included in the student VM.
I think Cloudera Live (cloudera.com/live) is what you need. Provides access to a full multi-node CDH cluster; AWS charges apply.