The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic research university offering 75 bachelor's degree and 32 doctoral degree programs, as well as a wide range of graduate degrees in business law, education, and theology. Its Mendoza College of Business offers an undergraduate degree program with majors in accountancy, business analytics, finance, IT management, management consulting, and marketing, as well as seven graduate degree programs, serving more than 2,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students annually.
Students graduating from the Mendoza College of Business face a dynamic world in which leaders are expected to understand how technology can contribute to success. To prepare its students to be effective business and IT professionals, Notre Dame is investing in cloud computing education.
“Our advisory board, largely made up of Mendoza alumni, has consistently cited cloud computing as a critical skill set for success in today’s business environment,” says Robert Easley, chair of the IT, Analytics, and Operations Department at the Mendoza College of Business.
The university has adopted a cloud-first approach. It currently operates 80 percent of its workloads on Amazon Web Services (AWS). It has reaped operational benefits, improved service delivery agility, and reduced IT operations costs by 40 percent.
However, teaching cloud computing can be challenging because of the field’s breadth and pace of evolution. To meet student demand and provide a high-quality education, the university needed an up-to-date course that would give students hands-on experience working with cloud technology.
The university worked with alumnus and IT consultant Josh von Schaumburg to develop a course. In addition to being an adjunct assistant teaching professor for enterprise architecture at Notre Dame, von Schaumburg is also the customer solutions lead for AWS Consulting Partner Trek10. Based on his professional experience, he recommended adopting the offerings of AWS Education Competency partner A Cloud Guru as the basis for the course. “I’ve used A Cloud Guru for the past few years at Trek10,” says von Schaumburg. “The first day for any new hire consists of going through its courses. A Cloud Guru delivers engaging, up-to-date AWS training directly from the AWS Cloud, including step-by-step walkthroughs of how to actually set up and manage the services.”
Combined with additional reading material and in-class discussions, A Cloud Guru provided an ideal foundation for the institution’s leap into cloud computing education. Its success is due in no small part to the fact that it is hosted on AWS and uses AWS Lambda serverless computing. “A Cloud Guru was the first serverless startup on AWS,” says Drew Firment, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at A Cloud Guru. “Because our platform is built on AWS using AWS Lambda, we can focus on innovative learning experiences while keeping operational costs low.”
Having educational experiences delivered from the AWS Cloud enabled Notre Dame to get the program started without the need to invest in infrastructure or software. “Traditional computer classrooms are expensive facilities, requiring servers, networking, workstations, and IT support,” says Easley. “With A Cloud Guru on AWS, we can deliver sophisticated IT education directly on students’ laptops through a web browser, without complex and costly infrastructure. It adds agility to our program and enables us to respond more quickly to changing student needs.” For even greater simplicity, Notre Dame was able to procure A Cloud Guru courses from AWS Marketplace.
Von Schaumburg agrees that the simplicity of using education delivered via AWS contributed to the success of the course. “When Rob asked me whether we needed to talk to the IT staff or get them in to set something up, I was happy to tell him that the experience was entirely based on software as a service and that we wouldn’t have to bother IT,” he says.
A Cloud Guru takes advantage of AWS to provide a full spectrum of educational experiences. “Some courses dive straight into the nuts and bolts of technology, but A Cloud Guru starts with a high-level view,” says von Schaumburg. “That gives students, some of whom are more focused on business than technology, the background they need to understand the cloud mindset and approach before learning the details. A Cloud Guru also gives you the ability to go deep, so you can actually launch and configure servers.” Students also appreciated the ability to explore optional courses about cutting-edge Amazon technologies such as Alexa.
Students gave the course high marks, with more than 90 percent saying they would recommend it to a friend. One student said, “I loved the opportunity to get so hands-on by being able to launch my own servers.” Another reported, “This has been one of the best IT courses I have taken at Notre Dame. The content is super relevant to all future IT professionals.”
“We work with CIOs from large companies, and many of them are struggling with the shift to cloud computing,” says Firment. “It requires a new mindset and new skills, and it’s hard to find talent. Many of them are looking for students to know cloud computing right when they enter the workforce. We are honored to be working with Notre Dame and AWS to empower the next generation with the skills that are in the highest demand.”
Learn more about AWS Lambda.
A Cloud Guru provides online AWS education and certification through a video-based, on-demand curriculum that has been used by over 650,000 students in 170 countries. Its courses are regularly updated to provide teams with the most current skills they need to adopt cloud computing. A Cloud Guru is an Advanced Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network, a member of the Public Sector Program, and an AWS Education Competency Partner.