In advance of the 2019-20 academic year, College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) faculty in the Computing & Security Technology (BSCST) program redeveloped their database administration courses in to utilize cloud computing for lab exercises. The shift to cloud technology provides several advantages to students, who will now have the ability to complete their database administration lab exercises using virtual servers running in a cloud.
Drexel University currently uses many different virtual environments to support hands-on exercises in the BSCST program. Three of these environments are supported by Drexel University, and the others are all cloud-based. Each of these environments, designed for hands-on exercises, can be accessed remotely 24 hours a day allowing students to do their lab work at any time and from any location.
Adjunct professor Brian Green adopted Google Cloud to facilitate all labs for his Database Administration I & II courses and explained the benefits of this move. “Students could very quickly build their lab machines in Google with just about any OS we needed from Google’s list of templates. Most students were able to get working Linux machines in less than a few minutes,” he said.
The move to cloud technology also makes it easier for instructors to help students when they get stuck. “Students can easily roll back to previous steps to try again when they make mistakes without having to rebuild their entire lab environment,” explained Green. “When students needed extra help, they could add me as an authorized user, and we could access their virtual machines together. I could also provide snapshots for students that needed to skip ahead, or revert back to a step they were unable to complete.”
Courses in the BSCST program can be completed online or face-to-face, so the move to cloud-based technology allows greater capability for instructors to create a consistent, real-world learning experiences for students in either program delivery format. All the student labs that support instruction can be conducted from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Associate Teaching Professor and BSCST Program Director Chris Carroll explained the significance of using the cloud in cybersecurity curriculum. “It is important to expose undergraduate students to different cloud environments while completing their hands-on lab exercises in BSCST courses. This educates our students to understand the impact cloud computing is having on critical IT services and business applications,” Carroll said.
Drexel’s undergraduate cybersecurity degree is flexible enough to meet the needs of all students, from traditional undergraduates to military personnel and veterans
to professionals seeking to change careers