Computational modeling of cardiovascular flows is becoming increasingly important in a range of biomedical applications, and understanding the fundamentals of computational modeling is important for engineering students. In addition to their purpose as research tools, integrated image-based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) platforms can be used to teach the fundamental principles involved in computational modeling and generate interest in studying cardiovascular disease. We report the results of a study performed at five institutions designed to investigate the effectiveness of an integrated modeling platform as an instructional tool and describe “best practices” for using an integrated modeling platform in the classroom. Use of an integrated modeling platform as an instructional tool in nontraditional educational settings (workshops, study abroad programs, in outreach) is also discussed. Results of the study show statistically significant improvements in understanding after using the integrated modeling platform, suggesting such platforms can be effective tools for teaching fundamental cardiovascular computational modeling principles.