Re: Can I use RobotC and RVW in lieu of a robot?
Yes, absolutely. We developed RVW with situations like yours in mind.
We have a free set of ROBOTC tutorial videos here, in the VEX Cortex Video Trainer: http://www.education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/pro ... index.html
They teach how to program step-by-step in ROBOTC.
The tutorial videos show video of a real robot, but we developed a RVW level pack called the "Curriculum Companion": http://www.robotc.net/download/rvw/?section=levelpack
It contains the robots and practice challenges from the VEX Cortex Video Trainer, so you can follow along with the videos, but practice on a virtual robot.
We have getting started videos for the virtual worlds, here: http://www.robotc.net/download/rvw/step1-rvw-intro.php
Once you're comfortable programming in the Curriculum Companion, I'd also encourage you to download our VEX Sack Attack virtual world: http://www.robotc.net/download/rvw/?section=levelpack
It simulates this years VEX competition.