Cloud computing has emerged as a key computing paradigm for business, research, and education. Compared to the fast development of cloud-based applications and technology, higher education on cloud computing is seriously lagging behind. Like most computer science curricula, to achieve effective education, learning principles of cloud computing must be grounded in experience. Thus, the education on cloud computing calls for effective laboratory exercises.
Building upon our experience with cloud computing education during the past years, we are developing a set of laboratories for cloud computing referred to as the Cloud compUTing Educational labs (i.e., the CUTE labs). The CUTE labs are designed to use publicly available free cloud resources and open source software with no particular requirement on computing infrastructures so that they can be readily adopted and adapted at low cost. Four types of laboratories are being developed: the platform exploration labs, the data intensive scalable computing labs, the cloud economics labs, and the security and privacy labs. These labs cover the major principles of cloud computing and provide opportunities for students to develop essential skills for cloud computing practice.
CUTE labs have several appealing properties. (1) CUTE labs cover a broad spectrum of cloud computing concepts and principles, as well as necessary engineering skills. A general software/hardware framework is designed to support sustainable lab development. (2) CUTE labs are low-cost labs, and can be implemented with free cloud resources (e.g., Amazon Web Services in Education and Google App Engine) and open source software. They are replicable by even the most cash-strapped institutions. The low-cost design also ensures that the labs are self-sustainable after the grant ends. (3) CUTE labs are open source and allow instructors to adopt or revise to create their customized labs, which will foster a community of cloud computing educational labs.
So far we have developed 13 labs, among which 11 have been deployed and 6 have been evaluated. They have been deployed in the related courses at Wright State University during 2009-2015, such as Cloud Computing, Distributed System, Privacy-Aware Computing, Mobile Computing, and OS internals. During 2014-2015, we have evaluated 6 of 11. The preliminary results show that these labs have reached the initial design goals.
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