T7-COMP2-1 - Panel: Incorporating Cloud Computing Competences into Computing Curriculum: Challenges & Prospects

Panels / Special Sessions
Joshua Nwokeji1 , Grant Iron2, Noemi Mendoza3, Faisal Aqlan4, Terry Holmes1, John Coffman1, Yunkai Liu1
1 Gannon University, Erie PA
2 Amazon Web Services (AWS)
3 Texas A & M University
4 Pennsylvani State University Erie, PA

Abstract—Cloud computing has emerged to be one of the leading professional competences desired by modern day employers, especially in the computing profession. We use computing as an umbrella term that includes Computer Science, Information Systems, Software Engineering, and other related courses. The benefits and value proposition of cloud computing have made it a desirable course to be taught across computing curricular. However, teaching and learning cloud computing comes with daunting challenges that often discourage educators. As a result, cloud computing is yet to be part of the computing curriculum in a vast majority of higher institutions in the USA; thereby denying students the myriad career and employment opportunities peculiar to their peers with cloud computing skills. The aim of this panel therefore is to analyze the challenges of teaching cloud computing, proffer solutions to those challenges, and develop an approach that can be adopted by computing instructors who desire to incorporate cloud computing competences into their curriculum. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to learn and access resources provided by 'AWS Educate' for teaching and learning cloud computing.

Keywords—Cloud Computing, Curriculum Design, AWS Educate,

                                                                                                                                               I.    Description and RationalCloud computing is a utility computing model that provides on-demand access to elastic and scalable IT resources (such as storage, networks, servers, and applications) via the internet [1]. The value propositions and numerous benefits of cloud computing have made it very attractive to contemporary organizations. Popular among these benefits include massive reduction in the cost of IT ownership, which results in economy of scale; optimized planning of organization's IT resources, which offers reduced to no capacity over or under estimation; and flexibility in provisioning IT resources [2]. As a result of these benefits, modern day organizations are increasingly adopting cloud computing as an alternative to traditional on-premise computing or colocation, wherein IT resources are owned, provisioned and managed by the organization itself [3]. Hence, the demand for graduates with cloud computing competences[1] has increased in recent times [4][3].

            Currently, there are numerous career opportunities available to graduates with ability to perform basic and advance cloud computing tasks. For instance, on February 6, 2020, the lead author conducted a search, using 'Cloud Computing' as the keyword, on the 3 popular job portals in the USA, namely indeed.com, glassdor.com and monster.com. The results show 22,712; 73,456; and 85,796 respective job openings that require cloud computing competences. However, the vast majority of these jobs are likely to remain open for a long time, or possibly become unfilled, due to shortage of cloud computing skills. Already, there are scholarly reports [3][5] about the current shortage of cloud computing skills and how this, if not addressed, will eventually hurt not only the computing industry, but all organizations across industries. The aim of this panel is to bring practitioners and educators together to discuss how to incorporate cloud computing into computing curriculum and thus address this shortage of skills.

                                                                                                                                                   II.    Anticipated audience
A.   Names and Affiliations of Anticipated AudineceIn order to make the desired broader impact in computing and engineering education, we plan to invite a wide range of educators and industry practitioners that have keen interests in cloud computing.  In Table 1, we have identified potential participants, especially those that have participated in previous FIE conferences. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, instead it is truncated due to space.

 Table 1: Names & Affiliations of Anticipated Participants


Affiliation & Contact

Scott Campbell, Ph.D.: Miami University OH, USA: campbest@MiamiOH.edu

Yuri Demchenko: University of Amsterdam, Netherlands: y.demchenko@uva.nl

Anu Bourgeois, Ph.D: Georgia State University, GA USA:anu@cs.gsu.edu

Derek Foster, Ph.D: University of Lincoln, United Kingdom: defoster@lincoln.ac.uk

Weiying Zhu, Ph.D: Metropolitan State University of Denver, USA: wzhu1@msudenver.edu

Narges Norouzi, Ph.D: University of California at Sant Cruz, CA USA: nanoroouz@ucsc.edu

Karen Davis, Ph.D: Miami University, OH USA: davisk4@MiamiOH.edu

                                                                                                                                                      III.  Goal of the PanelThis panel aim to address the current cloud computing skill shortage. Accordingly, we aim to achieve the following goals during the panel:

  1. Analyze and proffer solutions to the challenges of incorporating cloud computing into the computing curriculum
  2. Identify a set of cloud computing competences required by employers.
  3. Develop course learning objectives and learning pathways for delivering the competences identified above
  4. Examine available pedagogical methods to identify those that would be appropriate for teaching and learning cloud computing
                                                                                                                                     IV.   Topics to be covered in the panelThe topics to be covered in this panel closely align to the learning objectives stated above. Given that we intend to adopt an inquiry-based approach, we structure our topics as research questions, as done by previous panel organizers. These questions are listed below:

1)    What are the prevailing issues challenges, and  setbacks in teaching cloud computing?a)  How can these challenges be overcomed ? 2)   Which cloud computing core competences are required of graduates from?3)   What are the courses learning outcomes correspond to those competences?
                                                                                                                                  V.   List of supporting conference papersSome of the organizers of this panel will submit the following abstracts for peer-review in FIE alongside this panel.

A.   Teaching and Learning Cybersecurity Awareness with Non-Digital Serious Games  This full paper investigates and report our investigation into the use of non-digital serious games in teaching cyber security awareness to students. (Full abstract is available in the submission system for FIE 2020). 

B.   Comparative Analysis of  Computing Instructional Methods Based on Professional ComptencesThis research performs a comparative analysis of popular instructional methods to identify the instructional methods that best support the delivery or acquisition of professional competences in Computing. (Full abstract is available in the submission system for FIE 2020).

C.   FIE@50:Critical Issues and Future of Computing Education  This full paper presents a critical perspective on the past accomplishments, present challenges and future outlook in computing education with respect to Frontiers in Education (FIE) Conference. This year marks the 50th anniversary of FIE--a leading referred international conference in engineering and computing education.

References: removed because of space but will be included in the full panel paper.
1By competence we mean skills and knowledge.