AWS Educate, Amazon’s cloud-based web services platform geared specifically towards educational institutions, has made its debut at the University of Scranton as part of a pilot for the new Data Science Concentration.
The service, which grants access to virtually the entire suite of services offered through Amazon AWS, enables faculty and students to create and manage their own dedicated virtual environment free of charge from anywhere they have internet access. Through the classroom interface, a Professor can configure which services are available to their students and can connect to and manage each student’s computing environment. Virtual classrooms give students the freedom to operate on their own while still allowing the professor to effectively manage the course curriculum.
In the pilot, Dr. Jason Graham of the Mathematics Department is introducing his students to the R programming language and its IDE, RStudio. With AWS Educate, his students are able to deploy their own dedicated EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) virtual machine with all of the required software pre-configured for its immediate use all in a matter of minutes. Not only does this save the students from having to install complex software on their personal machines, it also saves Dr. Graham from having to devote precious class time to troubleshooting issues caused by disparities in student hardware.
Cloud-based services are becoming more and more common as user and organizational needs change. By having services like AWS Educate available for students, we’re giving them the opportunity to learn valuable skills which will serve them well when it comes time for them to leave the University. After all, the future of IT is in the cloud!
Get Started with AWS Educate
Faculty members can register as an educator using their University email address at https://aws.amazon.com/education/awseducate/. This will associate their email address with the University of Scranton’s AWS Educate institutional account and allow them to create and manage virtual classrooms.
Please note that as you enter the required information, you will be prompted to either enter an existing AWS account or sign up for a “free” Amazon Educate account. If you sign up for the free account, it’s good for a year but doesn’t require any credit card information. We recommend the alternate option where you associate your AWS Educate account with an AWS account, which requires a credit card. This option is permanent and doesn’t cost anything as long as you stay within the credits allocated through AWS Educate.