Instructing on the Cloud: Using AWS to Aid Professors and Teach Students

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AWS Online Tech Talks
Published at : 08 Dec 2020
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In this 38:41 video, Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) computer science professor Majd Sakr provides a detailed overview of one of the most powerful and popular courses on the cloud, which he teaches at CMU. The course scaled from reaching 50 CMU students in the classroom to 330 students across CMU’s global campuses, through online delivery, in less than two years. Sakr uses AWS to implement all of the in-class projects. He also discusses the other online tools used to implement the class. He previews his course syllabus, which begins with an overview of cloud computing, then goes into data centers, sharing resources on the cloud, cloud storage, and analytics engines in the cloud. He discusses the six course projects that are implemented on AWS, including the following projects: AWS account setup; big data analysis; scaling and elasticity; cloud storage; analytics engines on the cloud; and a team project around complete web services. He follows by detailing the how he went about designing the projects on AWS, and he goes into depth about how he monitors and evaluates student progress. In addition to discussing how he minimizes cheating in the class, he provides an overview of how he has used real-world budget constraints to help the students learn how to budget on AWS and consequently minimize resources used. The result is that students learn how to budget and have wound up greatly reducing their spend on AWS. Before taking questions from the moderator and the crowd, Professor Sakr ends his overview by discussing lessons that he has learned and recommendations that he has for other educators who are building classes on or about the cloud.
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